Jane Eyre Quotes

"Be seated somewhere; and until you can speak pleasantly, remain silent." (Chapter 1)

This is Mrs. Reed's answer to Jane's questions about the reasons of being excluded from the rest of the family. It also shows how this family treats Jane, as well as how children were raised in the 19th century in general. The attitude of society towards women was quite similar.

"Returning, I had to cross before the looking-glass; my fascinated glance involuntarily explored the depth it revealed. All looked colder and darker in that visionary hollow than in reality: and the strange little figure there gazing at me, with a white face and arms specking the gloom, and glittering eyes of fear moving where all else was still, had the effect of a real spirit: I thought it like one of the tiny phantoms, half fairy, half imp [...]" (Chapter 2)

Although it seems that the purpose of this scene is to evoke the eerie feeling about the "red room," the ghost like figure in the mirror conveys much deeper meaning. The "red room" is a symbol of femininity, for its color and position of the room in the house. Through this feeble creature in the mirror, the author suggest that women in 19th century were like ghosts. They were present, but not heard.

"Consistency, madam, is the first of Christian duties; and it has been observed in every arrangement connected with the establishment of Lowood: plain fare, simple attire, unsophisticated accommodations, hardy and active habits; such is the order of the day in the house and its inhabitants." (Chapter 4)

This is how Mr. Brocklehurst sees Lowood, although his description is actually an euphemism in comparison with the actual state of the school. He represents the deprivation of comfort as a true Christianity, while he and his family enjoy in luxurious mansion. Mr. Brocklehurst and Christianity he preaches in Lowod is a symbol of hypocritical religion in the 19th century.

"Yet it would be your duty to bear it, if you could not avoid it: it is weak and silly to say you CANNOT BEAR what it is your fate to be required to bear." (Chapter 6)

Helen's answer to Jane's statement that she could not bear to be treated so harshly by teachers. Unlike Mr. Brocklehurst, Helen Burns truly believes in Christianity preached in Lowood.

"I desired liberty; for liberty I gasped; for liberty I uttered a prayer; it seemed scattered on the wind then faintly blowing." (Chapter 10)

Jane craves for freedom, as she spent her whole life under watchful eyes of authority. She is finally ready to begin a new life outside of Lowood, so this thought is, in a way, a turning point in her life.

"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." (Chapter 11)

This quotation is the open critique to the Victorian society. The writer is not using symbol, metaphor or any other literary element to convey her message to the world. She openly express her opinion that no one is happy in the oppressive society.

"[...] when these fine, fashionable people get together, they are so surrounded by elegance and gaiety, so well provided with all that can please and entertain, they are in no hurry to separate. Gentlemen especially are often in request on such occasions; and Mr. Rochester is so talented and so lively in society, that I believe he is a general favourite: the ladies are very fond of him; though you would not think his appearance calculated to recommend him particularly in their eyes: but I suppose his acquirements and abilities, perhaps his wealth and good blood, make amends for any little fault of look." (Chapter 16)

This passage is a hint of the social life in the 19th century. Wealthy people would gather and enjoy their time as long as they are provided with food and drink, in hope to find a good match for a marriage.

"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 arrived, green and strong! He made me love him without looking at me." (Chapter 17)

Jane finally admits herself that she is in love with Rochester.

"Good-night, my -- " He stopped, bit his lip, and abruptly left me. (Chapter 17)

The first most obvious indication that Rochester is in love with Jane. Although there are indication that they are in love with each other, in the Chapter 17 we find concrete evidence of such claim on both sides.

Presentiments are strange things! and so are sympathies; and so are signs; and the three combined make one mystery to which humanity has not yet found the key.[...] And signs, for aught we know, may be but the sympathies of Nature with man. (Chapter 21)

Jane Eyre, as a Gothic novel, holds primeval connection between man and nature, therefore it abounds with pagan beliefs. One of them is a conspicuous superstition and urge to seek the meaning in every natural phenomenon.

What love have I for Miss Ingram? None: and that you know. What love has she for me? None: as I have taken pains to prove: I caused a rumour to reach her that my fortune was not a third of what was supposed, and after that I presented myself to see the result; it was coldness both from her and her mother. I would not -- I could not -- marry Miss Ingram. You -- you strange, you almost unearthly thing! -- I love as my own flesh. You -- poor and obscure, and small and plain as you are -- I entreat to accept me as a husband." (Chapter 23)

Miss Ingram is seeking for a marriage of convenience, while Rochester seeks true love. That is why he chooses Jane Eyre over Miss Ingram.

And then you won't know me, sir; and I shall not be your Jane Eyre any longer, but an ape in a harlequin's jacket -- a jay in borrowed plumes. (Chapter 24)

This is Jane's response when Rochester insists on buying her jewelry and new clothes. She does not want to be like the rest of women, she wants to stay true to herself, to her plainness and modesty.

"On sleeping, I continued in dreams the idea of a dark and gusty night. I continued also the wish to be with you, and experienced a strange, regretful consciousness of some barrier dividing us. During all my first sleep, I was following the windings of an unknown road; total obscurity environed me; rain pelted me; I was burdened with the charge of a little child: a very small creature, too young and feeble to walk, and which shivered in my cold arms, and wailed piteously in my ear. [...]" I dreamt another dream, sir: that Thornfield Hall was a dreary ruin, the retreat of bats and owls." (Chapter 25)

Another Gothic motif. Jane feels that something bad is going to happen, and her dreams eventually comes true at the end of the novel. She is capable of sensing and foreseeing the future.

"Fearful and ghastly to me -- oh, sir, I never saw a face like it! It was a discoloured face -- it was a savage face. [...] the lips were swelled and dark; the brow furrowed: the black eyebrows widely raised over the bloodshot eyes. Shall I tell you of what it reminded me? [...]Of the foul German spectre -- the Vampyre." (Chapter 25)

This is how Jane describes her encounter with Bertha Mason. She sees her as a monster, comparing her to the vampire. But Jane is not the only one who sees her that way. Society of the 19th century demonized and discarded every member who was not fit for them, and through this description the author wants to draw attention to this social problem.

"Suddenly it stood still to an inexpressible feeling that thrilled it through, and passed at once to my head and extremities. The feeling was not like an electric shock, but it was quite as sharp, as strange, as startling: it acted on my senses as if their utmost activity hitherto had been but torpor, from which they were now summoned and forced to wake. [...]I saw nothing, but I heard a voice somewhere cry - "Jane! Jane! Jane!" -- nothing more." (Chapter 35)

Yet another Gothic motif serving to prove the relation between man and nature. Jane knows that it is impossible to hear Rochester's voice, but has no doubts that he is the one calling her.

"I am an independent woman now." (Chapter 37)

Jane explains Rochester that she is no one's servant, but her own master. By declaring her independency, Jane declares that she has achieved her goal in life.

"'That I merited all I endured, I acknowledged -- that I could scarcely endure more, I pleaded; and the alpha and omega of my heart's wishes broke involuntarily from my lips in the words -- 'Jane! Jane! Jane!'" (Chapter 37)

Rochester confirms that he was so desperate to scream Jane's name aloud, which matches with the scream Jane have heard previously. Telepathy between Jane and Rochester implies the strong bond between them.

Related Links:

Jane Eyre Summary
Jane Eyre Quiz
Jane Eyre Chapters 37-38 Summary
Jane Eyre Chapters 1-4 Summary
Jane Eyre Chapters 5-8 Summary
Jane Eyre Important Characters
Literature Summaries

To link to this Jane Eyre Quotes page, copy the following code to your site: