Content Category

Literary Criticism

Abstract/Description

Many scholars have debated over the allusions to birds throughout the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, questioning their purpose. Left to the care of relatives who did not care for her, Jane Eyre grew up like a “caged bird,” unable to truly make her own decisions. Her interest in knowledge freed her from her feelings of entrapment, enabling her growth of freedom to begin. Traditionally, birds are characterized as symbols of flight and freedom, and the references in the novel symbolize Eyre’s desires for freedom from the cage-like institutions to which she has been subjected. This story is one of a caged bird that escapes the cage, only to find reality more of a whirlwind than expected, and indeed, some would say the end results of the novel returns Eyre to the cage, but instead, she finds freedom in knowledge, social standing, and education.

Origin of Submission

as part of a class

Faculty Involvement

Paul Westover

Share

COinS
 

Like a “Caged Bird”: Jane Eyre’s Flight to Freedom through Imagery in Jane Eyre

Many scholars have debated over the allusions to birds throughout the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, questioning their purpose. Left to the care of relatives who did not care for her, Jane Eyre grew up like a “caged bird,” unable to truly make her own decisions. Her interest in knowledge freed her from her feelings of entrapment, enabling her growth of freedom to begin. Traditionally, birds are characterized as symbols of flight and freedom, and the references in the novel symbolize Eyre’s desires for freedom from the cage-like institutions to which she has been subjected. This story is one of a caged bird that escapes the cage, only to find reality more of a whirlwind than expected, and indeed, some would say the end results of the novel returns Eyre to the cage, but instead, she finds freedom in knowledge, social standing, and education.