Study Guide

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (1847) in Feminist Theory

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (1847)

In case you haven't read this classic, or seen any of its zillion movie adaptations, let's recap. The heroine and namesake of Jane Eyre is a young orphan girl who grows up with a cranky aunt and gets packed off to boarding school. Fast-forward and she's out in the world as a governess (glorified babysitter) looking after a little French girl at a mansion called Thornfield, where she falls in love with her grouchy boss, Edward Rochester. Eventually they're set to tie the knot when it turns out he's married to a crazy lady who runs around on all fours in the attic. Not your typical bridal shower.

All of this sounds pretty conventional, right? (Until the four-legged-former-wife part, we mean). Are you wondering what's so feminist about a marriage plot? No worries, dear reader: Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar are gonna help us figure this one out.