The 25 Most Meaningful Quotes from Jane Eyre

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In 1847, Charlotte Bronte published Jane Eyre under the male pen name Currer Bell. Bronte would only reveal her gender and that of her sisters’ much later on after her sisters’ deaths. The dark gothic romance became an instant success. Bronte used Jane Eyre to voice concerns about perceived and experienced societal issues facing women. Bronte draws from many of her own experiences throughout her lifetime to craft the strong character, Jane Eyre.

Jane’s story begins as a young child, an orphan, who is abused and mistreated by relatives and the school she is sent away to. This develops the young Jane into a strong-willed woman with high integrity. She soon finds herself the governess at an estate for a mysterious master. The ensuing friendship and eventual love she finds in Mr. Rochester brings about the most meaningful and deep commentary found in the story.

The peak of the storyline focuses on betrayal by Mr. Rochester as Jane discovers not only is he already married, but his deranged wife is living in the attic wing of the estate! Through all of this, Jane maintains her integrity and retreats, not letting her emotions betray who she knows herself to be. Bronte expertly balances the social issues facing women in her day with a compelling love story that doesn’t undermine Jane’s brilliant nature and forward-thinking ideals.


Jane Eyre Quotes

These 25 meaningful quotes were chosen not only for the deep nature of the discussion but also for the illumination they provide to the reader about Jane Eyre’s circumstances.

  1. “Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts, as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, to absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and It is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.”– Jane Eyre
  2. “Do you think I am an automaton?–a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong!–I have as much soul as you,–and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh;–it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal,–as we are!”– Jane Eyre
  3. “I do not think, sir, you have a right to command me, merely because you are older than I, or because you have seen more of the world than I have; your claim to superiority depends on the use you have made of your time and experience.”– Jane Eyre
  4. “There is no happiness like that of being loved by your fellow-creatures, and feeling that your presence is an addition to their comfort.”– Jane Eyre
  5. “Every atom of your flesh is as dear to me as my own: in pain and sickness it would still be dear. Your mind is my treasure, and if It were broken, It would be my treasure still.”– Mr. Rochester
  6. “Her coming was my hope each day, Her parting was my pain; The chance that did her steps delay Was ice in every vein.”– Mr. Rochester
  7. Most true it is that ‘beauty is in the eye of the gazer.'”– Jane Eyre
  8. I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.”– Jane Eyre
  9. “Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigor; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be. If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth?”– Jane Eyre
  10. “Dread remorse when you are tempted to err, Miss Eyre; remorse is the poison of life.”– Mr. Rochester
  11. “Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones.”– Jane Eyre
  12. “Oh! That gentleness! how far more potent is it than force!”– Jane Eyre
  13. “I have for the first time found what I can truly love–I have found you. You are my sympathy–my better self–my good angel–I am bound to you with a strong attachment. I think you good, gifted, lovely: a fervent, a solemn passion is conceived in my heart; it leans to you, draws you to my centre and spring of life, wrap my existence about you–and, kindling in pure, powerful flame, fuses you and me in one.”– Mr. Rochester
  14. “What necessity is there to dwell on the Past, when the Present is so much surer–the Future so much brighter?”– Mr. Rochester
  15. “I mentally shake hands with you for your answer, despite its inaccuracy.”– Jane Eyre
  16. “Night was come, and her planets were risen: a safe, still night: too serene for the companionship of fear. We know that God is everywhere; but certainly we feel His presence most when His works are on the grandest scale spread before us; and it is in the unclouded night-sky, where His worlds wheel their silent course, that we read clearest His infinitude, His omnipotence, His omnipresence.”– Jane Eyre
  17. “I remembered that the real world was wide, and that a varied field of hopes and fears, of sensations and excitements, awaited those who had the courage to go forth into it’s expanse, to seek real knowledge of life amidst it’s perils.”– Jane Eyre
  18. “Jane, be still; don’t struggle so like a wild, frantic bird, that is rending its own plumage in its desperation.”– Mr. Rochester
  19. “I am not an angel,’ I asserted; ‘and I will not be one till I die: I will be myself. Mr. Rochester, you must neither expect nor exact anything celestial of me – for you will not get it, any more than I shall get it of you: which I do not at all anticipate.”– Jane Eyre
  20. “I can live alone, if self-respect, and circumstances require me so to do. I need not sell my soul to buy bliss. I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all extraneous delights should be withheld, or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give.”– Jane Eyre
  21. “Reader, I married him.”– Jane Eyre
  22. “I had not intended to love him; the reader knows I had wrought hard to extirpate from my soul the germs of love there detected; and now, at the first renewed view of him, they spontaneously revived, great and strong! He made me love him without looking at me.”– Jane Eyre
  23. “All my heart is yours, sir: it belongs to you; and with you it would remain, were fate to exile the rest of me from your presence forever.”– Jane Eyre
  24. “It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it. Millions are condemned to a stiller doom than mine, and millions are in silent revolt against their lot. Nobody knows how many rebellions besides political rebellions ferment in the masses of life which people earth. Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts, as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, to absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.”- Jane Eyre
  25. “Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones.”– Jane Eyre


Jane Eyre Video

Here is a trailer for the 2011 version of the Jane Eyre movie. It shows a more recent adaptation of the old book. If you find the book too formal for you, you might want to start by watching this movie. But first watch this trailer!

Conclusion

Jane Eyre was not shallow penny romance by any means. Even today, this masterpiece has a respected place in social commentary on gender roles and the patriarchal restrictions of women. However, the magic of the piece comes from the marrying of stringent social issues with the hope-inducing romance of the heroine. It is thought-provoking and yet breathtaking in its intricacies. If you haven’t read it, consider checking it out soon!

 

Image Credit: G. P. Nerli / Public domain

 

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