What is an example of a significant name in Jane Eyre?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An example of a significant name in Jane Eyre is Jane’s name, which was carefully chosen to demonstrate her character.

Jane Eyre’s name has significance both in terms of her first name and her last name.  Her first name is a very simple and plain name.  By naming her thus, Bronte reinforces Jane’s humble beginnings and lower class, as well as her everywoman-ness.  It means “God is gracious,” therefore identifying and describing Jane’s grace and providence.

When Jane is first introduced to Adele, she can’t pronounce her name.

“Aire? Bah! I can not say it….” (ch 11)

The similarity of “Eyre” and “Aire” (air) is no accident.  Jane is as light as air, moving from event to event without begin as easily affected.  There are several places named Eyre, and it was the legal term for a traveling judge in medieval times.  Throughout the novel, Jane is itinerant, and she also judges and is judged.