In Jane Eyre, what does this sentence mean?What does it mean when Mr. Rochester says to Jane, "You are like a restless bird in a cage. When you get out of the cage, you will fly very high. Good...

In Jane Eyre, what does this sentence mean?

What does it mean when Mr. Rochester says to Jane, "You are like a restless bird in a cage. When you get out of the cage, you will fly very high. Good night."

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a great question, and of course this quote shows how Rochester has managed to "read" Jane's character and understands her in a way that few other characters in the novel have been able to do. Consider what we know about Jane and her desire for something more. We see this most clearly in Chapter Twelve when she narrates how she would spend time by herself, climbing to the top of Thornfield and looking out over the countryside and longing for a different life:

...that then I longed for a power of vision which might overpass that limit; which might reach the busy world, towns, regions full of life I had heard of but never seen that then I desired more of practical experience than I possessed; more of the intercourse with my kind, of acquaintance with variety of character, than was here within my reach.

This famous "stiller doom" passage is what is captured in what Rochester says to Jane. His simile, comparing her to a caged bird, recognises the way that at present, she is "caged" by her circumstances of life, and is unable to metaphorically spread her wings and fly, being the person she would like to be. Of course, the whole novel is Jane's story of fighting against the restrictions of society until she can do precisely this.

shanaa | Student

IN HERE, MR.ROCHESTER COMPARES JANE AS A 'CAGED BIRD'.BECAUSE SHE IS A PERSON WHO WAS AN ORPHAN AND WAS ISOLATED OR LIMITED TO A LIFE STYLE.BUT, ABSOLUTELY SHE WAS TALENTED.SO,HE INDIRECTLY INDICATES HER FREEDOM AS 'HER MARRIAGE' WITH HIM.HE SAYS THAT HER RUPTOROUS FREEDOM LIES ON HER MARRIAGE WITH HIM.HE MEANS IF SHE MARRY HIM, SHE CAN SEE THE WORLD WITH FREEDOM,FURTHER SHE CAN IMPROVE HER TALENTS.

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Jane Eyre

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