Women in the nineteenth century had very little status and power in society and were totally reliant upon a patriarchal system for financial security.
Jane Eyre (Grades 9–1)
Although marriage was often viewed at the time as an economic and social arrangement, Jane rejects this in favour of marrying for love.
Distrust and fear of the ‘foreign’ can be seen in the mystery surrounding Bertha’s past as well as the reaction to Rochester as a ‘gypsy’.
The novel can be seen as a critique of the class system which often ignored individual merit and quality of character in favour of money and power.
Places, and movement between places, are important in the novel. Jane often feels trapped in these imposing buildings and seeks the freedom of the outside world.