In Jane Eyre the main example of feminine independence is Jane herself. Jane didn't let herself be controlled by any men that she meet and she stood up for her moral principles and beliefs.
The main example of this is when she left Mr. Rochester, after finding out he was already married to Bertha Mason during her own wedding to him in chapter 27. Even though after talking to him Jane seems to question her decision but is resolved to "keep the law given by God, not by man," (page 356). Leaving Mr.
Rochester therefore meant she was taking the morally correct route in the eyes of God other than what she ultimately wanted.Jane stood up for herself, for example the time John Reed hits her after finding her hiding behind the curtains in the breakfast room and she hits him back (chapter 1). Though in the future she does regret her hitting him back, as she would rather have a control and self- discipline over herself rather than other people. Her attitude of needing to have self discipline over herself could have been developed because of the attitude at the time when children and women should be seen and not heard due to the male dominated world in the 1800's. Throughout Jane's adult life she makes her own decisions.
For example she leaves Lowood (chapter 10), leaves Thornfield (chapter 27) and leaves Moor House to return to Mr. Rochester (chapter 36). Even though the decisions Jane made were by herself other people and situations influenced them for example Miss Temple getting married and leaving Lowood, finding out Mr. Rochester was already married to Bertha Mason and hearing Mr. Rochester's voice when at Moor House, respectively.
Before Jane received the legacy her Uncle had left her Jane was reliant on her career as a governess without which she wouldn't have been able to survive.A situation which many women who were orphans or from poor families found themselves in. Throughout the book Jane has a clear idea of what is meant by passion and love which shows when she refuses to be Mr. Rochester's mistress and when St John Rivers asks her to go with him to India to be a missionary and she refuses.
In the book most of the main characters are female that work for a living and are dependent on their careers as well as Jane (The exception to that Mrs Reed - Jane's aunt whose money comes from her husband.Any male characters included (with the exception being Mr. Rochester) are just side characters mainly there to keep the book moving along. Even though Mr.
Rochester is a main character he is not introduced properly until chapters 12-13, which is quite late in the book as the book has already covered a lot of her life and in that a lot has already happened. Although there are many points which agree with the statement some don't. At various points in Jane's life she has relied on men and their charity. These men are Mr.Reed, Mr. Brocklehurst, Mr.
Rochester and St John Rivers. Mr Reed took Jane in after her parents died and if he hadn't she would have gone to a poor house or something to that extent. Mr Brocklehurst let Jane into Lowood, although the schools conditions were terrible it meant she did get an education and managed to leave Mrs Reed. After leaving Lowood Jane gets a job as a governess at Thornfield owned by Mr Rochester though he isn't the one who directly employed Jane he did indirectly employ her and provide her with a home.
St John Rivers takes Jane in when she was ill after leaving Thornfield, he also found her a job and a place to live. Even though she didn't rely on them long and in each case the men helped her move along a step in her life, she was never fully independent during these times- no matter how independent she was in other ways. Another example of a man who helped Jane move a step in her life was the male apothercy who visited Jane when she was ill after her time in the Red room. If he hadn't suggested her going to school, Jane wouldn't have gone to Lowood and her life wouldn't have taken the path it did.When Jane returns to Gateshead at her aunts summoning she learns of her cousins death and the effect it has had on his family. If John Reed had not been so much more powerful than his mother and sisters his behaviour might have not been their downfall.
Women of well to do families were married off and independence wasn't a consideration in their lives. Women in Jane's situation of being orphans were more independent due to having to support themselves. Whilst at Moor House Jane learnt of her Uncle and the legacy left behind to her after his death. The money that she had when she returned to Mr. Rochester wasn't money she made herself so in theory at the end of the book she wasn't financially independent she was dependent on the legacy.
Though Jane never let the money change her she just let it make her equal with Mr Rochester. In conclusion I agree that Jane Eyre is a declaration of feminine independence to some extent, but the independence the women had was not necessarily a conscious decision by the women affected, it was due to personal circumstances such as lack of money or being an orphan. Also any independence women gained came through the help of males.