A Critical Evaluation of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane E

yre Jane Eyre EssaysA Critical Evaluation of 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 c limax 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.