Can Jane Eyre be seen as a travel narrative?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I find it very difficult to think of any way in which this excellent novel can be considered to be a travel narrative. Certainly, throughout the novel, Jane moves from and between significant locations, and these geographical locations each correspond to definite stages in Jane's life that indicate periods of challenge, growth and development, but travel is certainly not the main emphasis of this bildungsroman, which focuses on the development and maturing of the central character and her final acceptance into society and the establishment of her own identity.

Let us also remember that in a travel narrative we would expect the travel to be a continuous state. In this novel, on the other hand, Jane spends a number of years in the majority of locations. Likewise we would assume the travel in a travel narrative to be widespread. Although the precise geographical locations of the places that Jane visits in this novel is never disclosed, we can imagine that she only ever covers an extremely modest slice of England.

This novel is definitely about a journey, but the journey is an interior one that charts Jane's progress from being a young girl torn apart by her passions on the one hand and a strict moral code on the other towards a young woman who manages to strike a balance between these two extremes.

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