GCSE English Literature Revision: Extra Notes for Jane Eyre: Themes

3rd April 2017

GCSE English Literature Prose Revision

Jane Eyre – Themes


Jane Eyre was written by Charlotte Bronte and published in 1847.  The book follows the life of Jane Eyre and her trials and tribulations. The book explores themes of classism, sexism, feminism and religion.


  • Jane is mentally and physically abused in her early years and craves acceptance and love. She is locked in the ‘Red Room’ which is a place of fear and unacceptance.


  • She lives in a difficult time in history when being poor and female means a life of inequality and struggle.


  • Jane is sent to live in a school for orphaned girls which is a cold and inhospitable place.  The religious aspect of this part of her life shows her that faith is about suffering and abstinence.


  • Jane gets an education which helps her to get a job at Thornfield. There she meets and falls in love with Rochester who is of a different social class. They can never be equal which is a great source of sadness for Jane. She discovers that Rochester is already married to Bertha Mason. She is a woman who has sadly been taken over by madness, luckily Jane remains strong and is able to cope with her struggles.


  • Jane desires freedom but lives in a time of male supremacy. She wants to be loved but also wants equality.


  • Fire and ice in Jane’s life shows the extremities of the emotions burning in Jane’s heart and the ice which extinguishes her hopes and dreams.


  • Jane has a hard life but is able to find work and a home through her strength and hard work. Eventually she also finds love and happiness.


  • Themes and symbols in the book are;


Love and Autonomy


Social Class


Fire and Ice

The Red Room

Substitute Mothers

Bertha Mason


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