From the strong-willed Jane in ‘Jane Eyre,’ to the vibrant and energetic ‘Shirley’ – among others, Charlotte Brontë’s characters are so animated, so good that it becomes easy for readers sometimes to forget they aren’t real humans but mere fictional creations. Let’s take a look at some of the best characters created by Charlotte Brontë throughout her literary works.
Iconic and famed, Jane is easily the face of all Charlotte Brontë’s characters put together from all of her works. She’s arguably also one of the earliest characters through which feminist ideas and movements became popular. From the foregoing, it can’t be far-fetched, neither is it a coincidence that the Jane character grows so large, and this is because the author had it loaded with several personality features that resonate with the majority of readers – particularly women.
Still, for anyone, irrespective of gender or age, Jane serves as the perfect role model who rises from a nobody and through her strength of character, becomes the hero who deals with everyday problems and challenges that most people face daily. Charlotte Brontë does well to show us how Jane matures through the years to become the hero that she is, starting from a young and edgy 10-year-old and growing into a refined, confident, and well respected – well-behaved society woman.
Jane breaks the standard of mediocrity for women of her age in a typical Victorian era. As with all women of the time, Jane is expected to get married, be subservient and belong to her husband, not work or have big dreams, and be a prude. She goes on to become the opposite of each of these things – not fettered by society, her family, or friends but spurred by her goals, self-drive, and appropriate morality – being careful to be as logical and humane as possible.
Shirley Keeldar is another exciting character created by Charlotte Brontë in her second book, ‘Shirley.’ Before the author introduced this character in her 1849 book, the name ‘Shirley’ was relatively unknown and unpopular. However, after the book came and garnered popularity through the years, the name grew quickly to become a household female given name, all thanks to the unique and likable personality of the character in Charlotte Brontë’s book.
‘Shirley’ is slightly different from Charlotte Brontë’s leading character ‘Jane Eyre’ in some ways but also similar to her in other ways. For their similarities, both characters are both orphans, proud and temperamental, and have been through a lot – although Jane appears to taste more suffering than ‘Shirley.’ And for the traits they don’t exactly share, ‘Shirley’ is the more beautiful of the two – with Jane described as plain and simple in terms of looks and physical beauty. Additionally, unlike Jane, who is, for the large part of the book, mostly poor; ‘Shirley’ is rich and influential.
‘Shirley’ is a smart and confident young woman who competently runs her estate business with compassion and altruism. She is sociable and likes to befriend anyone she crosses paths with – regardless of how high or low their social class is. ‘Shirley’ has everything going on for her, so her internet lies mainly in trying to help people. She doesn’t take any help from any man and is not pressured to be with a man or get married; she rejects several of them because she doesn’t love them.
Lucy Snowe becomes the famed character in ‘Villette,’ Charlotte Brontë’s last-ever novel before her passing. In more ways than one, Lucy resembles Charlotte Brontë’s eponymic character, ‘Jane Eyre,’ with the storyline for both books – ‘Villette’ and ‘Jane Eyre’ – veering near each other. Both Jane and Lucy share the same personality as being not so good looking, abandoned in a world without family or blood relatives, struggling through balancing work-life issues, and in the end, gaining independence and finding a charismatic partner and slight means.
Is Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë’s best-ever book character?
Jane in Charlotte Brontë’s bestseller, ‘Jane Eyre,’ is by most recommendations the author’s best character creation, although some renowned book experts value Lucy Snowe in ‘Villette’ as a far better character than Jane ever is.
Which Charlotte Brontë’s character has some positive reviews from renowned authors?
Lucy Snowe gets a better positive review from established authors like George Eliot and Virginia Woolf.
What is a trademark of all leading characters of Charlotte Brontë?
There are several branded stories or trademarks Charlotte Brontë often leaves in her characters – which arguably sell them; however the most common of them is that all her best characters are women and would often get introduced as orphans or having no family or close relatives.