Jane Eyre is written in the first-person point of view, with Jane serving as the narrator of the novel. Jane narrates from ten years later than the novel’s end, meaning that she can both relate to her previous selves and comment upon them in hindsight. In parts of Jane Eyre, she describes events as she experienced them and occasionally slips into present tense. For example, directly after her escape from Thornfield, Jane describes: “The coach is a mile off by this time; I am alone.” The sudden switch to present tense creates a jarring impression, which reflects Jane’s agonized mental state. The reader can also interpret this switch as Jane reliving traumatic events, emphasizing their lasting impact; she still remembers what she felt like after leaving Rochester. In other chapters, Jane makes use of the distance she has from the events to address the reader, drawing attention to the fact that time has passed, and Jane narrates with the benefit of hindsight. Throughout, Jane has strong opinions that color the reader’s opinions of events and other characters. For example, when she describes Blanche Ingram, Jane emphasizes the haughty pride in Blanche’s expression, encouraging the reader’s dislike. Blanche’s eventual behavior justifies Jane’s judgment, alerting the reader to Jane’s astute point of view.

Read more about first-person point of view with J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye.