21 Great Quotes from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Jane Eyre is considered a classic of English literature and the masterwork of Charlotte Brontë. Though it was her first published novel, it was the second that she wrote — The Professor was her first, though it was published only after the author’s death. Jane Eyre was published in October, 1847 under Charlotte’s pen name, Currer Bell. Though it was met with some controversy, it was also an instant success.

Jane’s love for her employer, the mysterious Mr. Rochester, is at first at odds with her desire to be an independent woman with dominion over her own strong views and identity. This novel was unusual for its time, exploring the inner world of the narrator. Here are selected quotes from Jane Eyre that speak to the author’s sensibilities and strong opinions.


“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” 


“I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.” 


“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.”


1943 illustration by Fritz Eichenberg fro Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

See also Jane Eyre: A late 19th-Century Analysis


“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 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.”


“I have little left in myself — I must have you. The world may laugh — may call me absurd, selfish — but it does not signify. My very soul demands you: it will be satisfied, or it will take deadly vengeance on its frame.” 


“Friends always forget those whom fortune forsakes.”


“Oh! That gentleness! how far more potent is it than force!”


Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë on Amazon


“If all the world hated you and believed you wicked, while your own conscience approved of you and absolved you from guilt, you would not be without friends.”


“I do not think, sir, you have any 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.” 


“I ask you to pass through life at my side—to be my second self, and best earthly companion.” 


“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.”


Charlotte Brontë quote

See also: Charlotte Brontë’s Quotes on the Writing Life


“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.” 


“Some of the best people that ever lived have been as destitute as I am; and if you are a Christian, you ought not to consider poverty a crime.”


“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 its expanse, to seek real knowledge of life amidst it’s perils.”


“There is no happiness like that of being loved by your fellow creatures, and feeling that your presence is an addition to their comfort.” 


“What necessity is there to dwell on the Past, when the Present is so much surer — the Future so much brighter?”


Contemporary Jane Eyre cover

You might also enjoy Jane Eyre and I: A Love Affair for Life


“It is not violence that best overcomes hate — nor vengeance that most certainly heals injury.”


“Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilised by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones.”


“It is always the way of events in this life … no sooner have you got settled in a pleasant resting place, than a voice calls out to you to rise and move on, for the hour of repose is expired.” 


“Reader, I married him.”


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