The overriding theme of "Jane Eyre," is Jane's continual quest for love. Jane searches for love and acceptance through the five settings in which she lives: Gateshead, Lowood, Thornfield, Moor House, and Ferndean. Through these viewpoints, the maturation and self-recognition of Jane becomes evident, as well as traceable. It is not until Jane flees from Rochester and Thornfield, and spends time at Moor House, that her maturation to womanhood is complete. At this point, Jane is able to finally return to Rochester as an independent woman, fully aware of her desire to love, as well as to be loved.
From the onset of the novel, we see the world through the eyes of Jane; a strong character who wishes to overcome her birth rite as an orphan in Victorian times. From this viewpoint, we are able to trace how Jane progresses in her struggle for individuality, as well as for love.
At Gateshead, it becomes apparent that Jane is terrifically self-willed and possessive of a fiery temper. An example of this is when Jane stands up to her aunt saying, "You think I have no feelings, and that I can do without one bit of love or kindness, but I cannot live so: and you have no pity" (Bronte, 68). Here, Jane makes her first declaration of independence, contending that she will no longer be a secondary member in the Reed household.
At Lowood, Jane is repulsed by Mr. Blocklehurst and his "two-faced" character and coarseness.
However, while at Lowood, Jane finds her first true friend in the form of Helen Burns, another student at the school. Helen teaches Jane of love in the form of religion. By means of instruction as well as by example, Helen is able to convey this message. When Jane is...