Jane Eyre is the story of an orphan who, after a strict education, is sent to work as a governess at Thornton Hall, home of Edward Rochester. Jane’s employer is socially and economically superior to her in every way and when she starts to have feelings for him she imagines that he will never fall in love with her. But, in Jane, Mr Rochester finds a partner who is his intellectual and spiritual equal and a true passion grows between them. At the end of the story Jane tells us, “Reader, I married him.” And their marriage is a success because they chose each other freely, for love.

The story was written by Charlotte Brontё in 1847, at a time when social conventions restricted Victorian women like Jane, who had no social or political influence; men were considered naturally superior to them in every way. During the story, however, Jane tells Rochester, “You have no right to command me just because you are older than me and have seen more of the world than I have. Being superior depends on how you use your time and experience.” She looks beyond these limits, and understands that social status has little significance.

 

Illustration by Gianni De Conno, taken from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, Reading and Training, Step 3 (B1.2)