Jane Eyre Questions and Answers
by Charlotte Brontë

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Is "Jane Eyre" a feminist novel? Why or why not?

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Jane Eyre can be considered a feminist novel, or perhaps more accurately, a protofeminist novel. Works that were written before the twentieth century with strong female protagonists fall into this philosophical and literary tradition. Though Jane does not campaign for equal rights for women, the way she lives her life offers a model for independent women. 

Jane's ambition is unlike the traditional social mores of her time and place. She is not eager to marry, calling the institution a "catastrophe." Though an orphan, Jane rejects a dependent stance and is unafraid to self-advocate when she believes she is being mistreated. She is also resentful of being treated like an object when Rochester begins to court her. Only when she is financially independent from her inheritance is she able to accept Rochester's proposal.

So while Jane does not advocate for women's rights generally, she chooses to live on her own terms in a way that anticipates the rhetoric of the Seneca Falls convention that...

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