Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre challenges the accepted Victorian conceptions of gender hierarchy, making the statement that a woman's inner development merits as much attention and analysis as that of a man.
The passage marks the third phase of Jane's life, as she had just moved into Thornfield. She is obviously unsettled by the fact that she has not moved up in society as she had planned. She has an immense determination to succeed on her own terms, which was considered unnatural for a woman of her era. Jane expresses her feelings about this subject when she states, "Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do." .
The author Bronte is challenging the ways of the times, where women are considered the homemakers and men are the ones going out in the world to show off their skills. Bronte is exposing the yearning women have to go out in the world and show people in the public sphere what they can do. This is a very bold statement by Bronte, in her attempt to make a political statement within her book Jane Eyre. She even goes all out when she follows up that statement by concluding the paragraph with, "it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures (men) to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing the piano and embroidering bags." This excerpt from the book clearly expresses Bronte's strong feelings about women's domesticity in her time, and she does it in an almost semi-humorous way which makes it even more impressive. .
As a child Jane's rebellions were suppressed and after years of molding into a proper Victorian woman, she realizes that she is not excited about conforming to the ways of her male dominated society. She has acquired the manners, sophistication, and education of an aristocrat, while remaining poor and powerless in her own domestic sphere as a woman governess.