Use of form in Jane Eyre

In Jane Eyre Brontë has chosen to write in the form of a novel - a common text type in the Victorian Period. Brontë writes in first person from Jane's perspective, offering the reader access to her thoughts and feelings. As Brontë's novel focuses on Jane's life from her childhood into adulthood it is known as a bildungsroman.

Question

Jane Eyre focuses on Jane's life from childhood to adulthood and how she develops into a confident, independent and happy woman. Why does the use of the first person make this 'coming-of-age' story more effective?

  • The reader knows how Jane feels, therefore they can relate to the struggles and emotions she has.
  • The reader knows directly what Jane thinks, therefore the reader can relate to the journey and experiences she has.
  • As Jane is writing her story as an adult, she highlights how tough her childhood was and how she felt. This adult reflection makes the bildungsroman more effective, as the adult Jane is commenting on her difficult past and how she has changed.
  • During the novel, Brontë, through Jane's first-person narrative, directly addresses the reader. The most famous line is 'Reader, I married him.' This direct address is effective, as it allows the reader to become personally involved in Jane's story and form a relationship with the character.