How is Jane Eyre considered a bildungsroman?

Expert Answers
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jane Eyre is a Bildungsroman, a coming of age story, because it begins with Jane as a young girl and follows her as she deals with the trials and tribulations of growing into a young woman.

Part of the Bildungsroman is a child experiencing the challenges of growing up.  Jane loses her parents, then is given up by her aunt.  She is abused and mistreated constantly, but she continues to be spunky and go through life without apology.  This causes her to be successful enough at school to train to be a teacher and then get a job as a governess for the wealthy Mr. Rochester.

Mr. Rochester continues Jane’s education.  He is bold and eccentric.  They fall in love, despite class differences.  Jane learns that love can overcome class, but not always the past.  Mr. Rochester cannot marry her because he is still married to his first wife.

Jane leaves, hurt.  Her education is not complete.  She meets a man who wants to marry her for appearances, to make her a missionary’s wife.  She realizes that love is as important as she thought.

Eventually, Jane sees Mr. Rochester again, blinded and broken.  She still loves him.  His wife is dead, and they live happily ever after.  Jane has grown up.

Zac Egs | Student


We can assert quite easily that Jane Eyre (the book) is a true Bildungsroman as it deals with the life of a heroine, from humble and difficult beginnings to love i.e. it can be construed as a real pilgrimage of her soul. She yearns for love (emotional gratification). Furthermore we can notice quite easily that the book is largely autobiographical.


Zac Egs