Jane Eyre’s excursion throughout Charlotte Bronte’s novel encompasses of a sequence of exploits in which Jane is challenged with variations of entrapment followed by escape which serves as an act of overcoming. In the course of the novel, Jane finds herself imprisoned in Victorian England’s strict and complicated social hierarchy, one of Bronte’s most important themes, and her struggle against prejudice prevails throughout. Jane’s quest to be loved, too, embodies deviations of entrapment and escape as Jane searches continually in order to gain love without surrendering herself in the process. In addition, Jane’s brushes with different models of religion lead her to form her own morals and philosophies, unlike those of society.
The first variation of entrapment and escape is signified by Jane’s experience in the red room of the Gateshead mansion, as this is where Jane’s position of exile and incarceration initially become clear. The red room symbolizes the entrapment of social class and unpleasant life experience due to her ambiguous social standing, which Jane struggles to escape throughout the novel. “I could not answer the ceaseless inward question—why I thus suffered; now, at the distance of—I will not say how many years, I see it clearly” (17). Jane is stripped of the innocence and childhood while in the red room, and is forced to meet the bitter emotions due to her unpleasant experience, realizing that she is financially strapped and excluded from society. Although Jane is eventually freed from the red room, she still suffers societal degradation from the Reed family, until she departs for Lowood, avoiding the maltreatment of her adopted family but unconsciously allowing the abuse of other authority while doing so. It seems as though Jane can never truthfully escape the affliction placed upon her by civilization, and she refers to her memory of the first feeling of ridicule as a