I have a theory that goes something like this: Charlotte Brontë is a time-traveler and maybe an alien. I have some evidence to support the first; the second is just wild speculation.
I am convinced that Miss Brontë traveled to our century, read my review of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and then went back in time and wrote Jane Eyre in response to all of my complaints about that work.
Jane Eyre loses the narrow focus of Pride and Prejudice and centers around a woman who comes from wealth but no longer has any and is forced to make her own way. Jane does not have only one purpose in life. The story also lacks that pieces-on-a-game-board feel to it that Pride and Prejudice had. It feels like it has history and, in fact might have happened. The first part of the story feels very Dickensian and made me think back to David Copperfield (and just about every other Dickens story about a young boy at school), only Jane Eyre was written first.
Jane Eyre was originally billed as an autobiography. I have no idea if the contemporary people of the time understood that it was fiction or not but it was immensely popular all over London and I think I can see why. It’s an enthralling story and Miss Brontë writes like a master.
This truly is a masterpiece of fiction.