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Main Ideas

Protagonist

Main Ideas Protagonist

Because the novel follows Jane’s coming-of-age and her quest for home and belonging, Jane is the protagonist of Jane Eyre. The novel opens with Jane as an orphan with no financial means, and she is at the mercy of those with greater social and financial power. Nevertheless, Jane’s strong personality and convictions spur others to action. For example, Jane refuses to fake gratitude toward Mrs. Reed, and her passionate outbursts cause Mrs. Reed to send Jane to Lowood. Jane leaves Lowood on her own accord when the school ceases to feel like home, signaling that Jane has taken control over her own destiny. Jane’s intelligence and goodness inspire Mr. Rochester to hope for love again and propose marriage. Once again, Jane’s convictions lead her to uproot herself because she doesn’t want to compromise her morals for love. Jane’s goodness also attracts St. John’s attentions. Jane’s refusal to marry St. John demonstrates her self-knowledge and understanding that she cannot live having stifled her passion in a loveless marriage. Finally, Jane’s love helps Rochester create a new life. Her insistence on only marrying Rochester according to her own terms allows Jane to finally discover a home for herself.