Jane Eyre: A Heroine’s Quest for Home, Part Three

The students of Lowood School. Engraving by Fritz Eichenberg. Random House, 1943.
The students of Lowood School. Engraving by Fritz Eichenberg. Random House, 1943.

Jane’s Tests

This article continues from A Heroine’s Quest for Home, Part Two: From Thornfield Hall to Marsh-End.”
“Hopeless of the future, I wished but this—that my Maker had that night thought good to require my soul of me while I slept; and that this weary frame, absolved by death from further conflict with fate, had now but to decay quietly, and mingle in peace with the soil of this wilderness.”

In this part of my review of the novel Jane Eyre, I am looking at a particular aspect of Jane’s journey. Typical to the quest tale structure, the heroine encounters challenges that test and strengthen her character along her journey towards finding home. As Eric Solomon has pointed out, a pattern is repeated in each phase of Jane’s journey: “Jane comes into conflict with authority, defeats it by her inner strength, and departs into exile.” After leaving Gateshead, Jane faces four main tests, which originate from Mr. Brocklehurst, Mrs. Reed, Mr. Rochester, and finally St. John Rivers. Each test tends to interrupt Jane’s current life with issues from the past. In some of these challenges, she is supplied a helper. Each incident evaluates Jane’s growth and progress towards acquiring her ultimate goals: independence and home. Continue reading “Jane Eyre: A Heroine’s Quest for Home, Part Three”

Jane Eyre: A Heroine’s Quest for Home, Part Two

English: North Lees Hall and out buildings Oth...
North Lees Hall, otherwise known as Thornfield Hall from the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Thornfield Hall to Marsh-End

This article continues from “A Heroine’s Quest for Home, Part One: From Gateshead to Lowood”
“He is not to them what he is to me,” I thought: “he is not of their kind. I believe he is of mine;—I am sure he is—I feel akin to him—I understand the language of his countenance and movements: though rank and wealth sever us widely, I have something in my brain and heart, in my blood and nerves, that assimilates me mentally to him.”


In this series of articles, I take a look at the story of Jane Eyre, one of my all-time favorite novels, by reviewing the various periods of Jane’s life as phases of a journey. Following her time at Lowood School, Thornfield Hall is the second stop of Jane’s journey. It is here that Jane experiences a new type of servitude – one in which she willingly and joyfully serves someone she loves. While being put to use immediately as a governess, more importantly she is directly useful to Rochester on numerous occasions, beginning with her first encounter with him. On this occasion, Rochester tells Jane, “Necessity compels me to make you useful.” After she saves him from the fire, he tells her, “I knew you would do me good in some way, at some time.” Continue reading “Jane Eyre: A Heroine’s Quest for Home, Part Two”