1. “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
Jane Eyre describes herself as a free spirit with her own opinions. Brontë’s words create a character that is wild and nonconforming to society’s standards. Today we should continue to push ourselves to not be caged in by society’s rules. We must think for ourselves and express our free will, even when it is easier to conform to social pressures.
2. “Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs.”
With this quote, Brontë states the opinion that time spent holding grudges is time wasted. There is not enough time to waste one’s life on negativity or resentment. In the grand scheme of your life, the people who wronged you will not matter, and ruminating on them is a waste of your precious time. What will matter are the positive things you bring to the world. Today we might get this same message across by simply stating YOLO, which Brontë herself pointed out back in 1847.
3. “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.”
4. “I am not an angel,” I asserted; “and I will not be one till I die: I will be myself.”
With so much idealization of women in fiction, this quote is still very applicable today. Often women in fiction are painted as two-dimensional beings meant to help male characters without helping themselves. Female characters written like this often fall into what is called the “manic-pixie-dream-girl” trope. These characters are often written in the story to help the main character find their way, without finding their own self or happiness. Brontë allows Jane to point out that she is not a two-dimensional ethereal being, but simply herself: a multi-dimensional woman with her own path to happiness. She goes against the cliché of simply making Jane an angel sent to help her male counterparts. Jane is clearly her own person with her own struggles and journey — something we should demand and expect in the fiction that we read and watch today.