One of the main symbols and themes in Jane Eyre is true love versus freedom and independence. Jane wants love. She does not just want romantic love but she wants a sense of belonging and acceptance. She wants to be free from her past of a low social class and be judged for her own self. To get to this level of being loved for who she is she works hard in school, gets a job she loves, and builds friendships and relationships. (Bronte Ch. 10-11) When Jane meets Edward everything seems to change. The sense of acceptance and belonging is there. At least that is what I see it as. Although Jane is judged for being a governess and having feelings for the owner of the manor she does not seem to care because she has happiness. Chapter 23 is a good description of this. Jane returns from Gateshead and Mr. Rochester questions her on why she was gone so long. They end up reveling their feelings for each other and kissing in the rain. They become engaged during this scene. (Bronte ) The next day Jane wonders if it was all a dream but knows it's true when he calls her "Jane Rochester." (Bronte ) I find these few chapters important because it is what Jane has been wanting all her life. The other main theme is freedom and independence. Jane has to be independent and leave Mr. Rochester when she finds he is already married to Bertha. (Brotne 331-370)Even though she wants to be with Edward she knows she has to free herself and leave. I think the symbol of love versus independence is important in Jane Eyre.
Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. Ed. Margaret Smith. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1998. Print.