restricted access Jane Eyre, from Governess to Girl Bride

Gendered identities in Jane Eyre are inseparable from Jane's working-class affiliations and from her role as a young wife to an older husband. Class and age complicate readings of masculinity and femininity in the text; and as governess and as "girl-bride," Jane evokes nineteenth-century notions of androgyny and female masculinity, effectively using what are often interpreted as her subservient positions to her advantage. Though Charlotte Brontë avoids simplistic power reversals, the novel suggests possibilities for gender subversion within a seemingly normative romance narrative.