Student Question

What is a good thesis statement for Jane Eyre?

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A thesis statement is used in argumentative essays to present the author’s perspective on a central component of the literary work. An effective statement for a novel is one that pertains to the entire work and will be well supported with evidence found throughout it. Because Jane Eyre covers a large portion of the protagonist’s life, a thesis that is appropriate for the whole work will be based on evidence from numerous points in her life.

The overall structure of Charlotte Brontë’s novel is that of a quest. As Jane seeks her true home, she is not only looking for a community where she belongs; she is also seeking insight into herself. In developing a thesis, therefore, it is important to focus on the qualities that Jane ultimately decides are important. Jane is often critical of herself and focuses on her own shortcomings. Brontë seems to be arguing that Jane can find both happiness and contentment with another person after she accepts her own flaws and recognizes her strengths.

One might look at her relationships with men as indications of her internal transformations. Edward Rochester, when she first commits to marry him, seems very different than the man she finally does wed. With St. John Rivers, in contrast, her expectations of fulfillment are thwarted because she recognizes that they are not well matched. Learning how to participate in a partnership with another person is one of the lessons Jane learns, and a good thesis will take into account the steps that are important along that journey.

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