In one sense, Jane Eyre is about the quest of an orphan girl for a home. In this novel, home isn’t just where you hang your hat – it has to be somewhere that you not only feel comfortable and safe, but also have loving relationships with other people. It’s even possible for characters to be metaphorically homeless here even though they’ve lived in the same place their whole lives. It’s also possible for characters to have more than one home because they have different family and romantic relationships that create several comfortable refuges for them.
Questions About The Home
- What is a "home" in this novel?
- When and where does Jane feel "at home," and why? (Hint: there’s more than one place that Jane calls home in the course of the novel.)
- What does Jane mean when she says to Rochester that he is her home? What about Rochester makes her feel this way? (Hint: think about where Jane and Rochester are in the scene where she makes this comment.)
- Why might it be important for Jane to have a time, however brief, when she lives alone in a house of her own?
- Why is it important for Jane to have a period of literal homelessness?
- Why does Jane tend to seek refuge outside – either in the garden, in the woods, or on the moor – rather than inside? (Hint: this is relevant to all of the places she lives.)
Chew on This
Jane conceives of "home" as an emotional place created by interpersonal relationships, not as a physical shelter.
Jane tends to feel more at home outside than inside because the natural world has provided her with more of a refuge than any human habitation.