Jane Eyre


Although Jane Eyre grows and matures, Margaret McFadden-Gerber views her as a relatively emotionally stable young feminist. Through the duration of the novel, Jane demonstrates her "self-love" that is often an influential emotion leading to drastic and hasty reactions. In the very opening few chapters, Jane takes a stand for herself and presents her bruised ego, pride and maturity. Sara Reed, her aunt, dismisses her place in the family as Jane is physically and emotionally removed from her "family’s" activities. Jane grows up distinguishing her personality and voicing her unbiased opinion, but in McFadden-Gerber’s opinion, Jane remains the same orphaned female in constant discord with elders and supervisors. Ms. Eyre is a heroine who refuses to blend into the traditional female position of subservience and who stands up for her beliefs. In the beginning, Jane at first develops when she faces her aunt and the ignorance she received from her in the earlier part of her childhood. The climax of the story involved her choice to leave Rochester was based on her own self-love; Jane Eyre had no family or friends to influence the decision to flee from comfort. Instead, Jane disciplined and developed herself in the course of the novel. Setting changes varied vastly from section to section, but McFadden-Gerber noted the constant stability of Jane’s character the exemplified fortified morals made by her own constant and stagnant conscience.
Margaret McFadden-Gerber claims that Jane has little mental mobility, though she is self-reliant as well as strong willed. There appears to be a slight contrasting difference distinguishing the emotional and mental development of Jane. I believe that the two go hand in hand as the character’s "feminist qualities" are the main theme and the reasoning to her behavior. Each setting brings a higher lever of maturity, where Ms. Eyre strengthens her beliefs and morals, expanding her horizons as well as experience. The discrimination and neglect she faced daily and annually at the Reed household brought her first powerful emotions of resentment as well as humiliation to her lips. Upon the deliverance of her feelings to her aunt Sara Reed, a great surge of satisfaction swept over Jane as her confidence boosted. I firmly believe that, in accordance with McFadden-Gerber on the grounds that Jane was a free willed feminist hero, she developed in the book as the plot went on. Each decision and reaction to significant events in her life were larger than the previous one. Though she constantly and repeatedly fled from her problems, her reasoning behind it became more intellectual and developed. The ultimate decision to leave Rochester was a complete turnaround from her decision and desire to leave the Reed house. Jane matured enough to realize her morals and self-worth were less trivial then her desires for happiness. Fleeing Thornfield was a retreat from happiness and bliss that caused deep emotional pain and reflection that Jane had developed since her departure from Gateshead. It is obvious to both Margaret McFadden-Gerber and me that Jane developed in the course of the book. Our opinions differ on the level and extent of that maturity Jane Eyre reached; I see it as a gradual, continual, progressive, and climaxing emotional development that helped her discover the warrior-like feminist that she was.


Margaret McFadden-Gerber. "Critical Evaluation." Masterplots: Volume 6.
Pasadena, California: Salem Press, 1996. 3286-3293.