This GCSE English Literature quiz takes a look at themes in Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. An idea conveyed by a literary text is known as a theme. A work of literature, even the most simple, will contain multiple themes ranging from the most obvious to the very subtle. Themes in literature do not operate in isolation, instead working together as if in conversation. Authors use the essential elements of fiction, such as setting, character, plot and dialogue, as vehicles through which to develop the themes of the text.
Whenever you read a text you will notice related ideas and concepts popping up. Analysing themes involves thinking about how these ideas develop over the course of the text. One place to start is to consider your own opinions: has the text prompted you to change or otherwise develop your own thoughts on the topics?
When a text makes you think hard about an issue or maybe even persuades you to change your mind, then the author has successfully encouraged you to engage with one or more of the text’s themes.
Compare your thoughts at the end of the text with those you held as you began reading. If any of your views have changed, or grown stronger, can you explain why? Try to identify the section of text where you notice your personal views being confirmed or challenged. Remember that you do not have to agree with other readers. Any reader’s response to a text will be deeply personal; this is because individuals bring their own thoughts, beliefs and experiences into consideration while reading.
The themes of Jane Eyre relate to Jane’s journey from a poor, hated orphan girl to an independent, happily married and wealthy woman. Jane struggles against class-based prejudice, her own passions, men who do not take her ability to make her own decisions seriously, and the feeling of not quite belonging anywhere. She is at all times guided by a strong sense of personal integrity.
Read the questions below and test your knowledge of the themes of Jane Eyre.