Topics for Further Study
- In her preface to the second edition of Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte wrote: "Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. . . . Appearance should not be mistaken for truth." What are some examples of these precepts in Jane Eyre?
- Research the treatment of mental illness around the time of Jane Eyre. What ideas did doctors of Charlotte Bronte's time have about the causes of mental illness? How did society in general regard people with this kind of disease? How might someone like Bertha Mason be treated today?
- As a younger son, Rochester would not have inherited his father's estate; the estate would first have gone to Rochester's older brother. Under English law at the time of Jane Eyre, property passed only to the oldest son; therefore, younger sons were usually left little money and had to make their own livings. What professions did younger sons in such a family usually follow? Also, how did this custom affect the daughters in a family?
- The early twentieth-century English novelist Virginia Woolf once said that "in order for a woman to write, she must have money and a room of her own." Do you think that this maxim applies to Charlotte Bronte as an author? Also, consider the ways in which money and a "room of her own" (that is, a home) are important to the character Jane Eyre.