Publication Date

Spring 5-1-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (MA)



Committee Chair

Dr. Paul Niemeyer

Committee Member

Dr. Adam Kozaczka

Committee Member

Dr. Charlene Summers

Committee Member

Dr. John Kilburn


This thesis explores identity in Charlotte Brontë’s magnum opus, Jane Eyre (1847). Using specific moments in the main character’s life, this thesis will examine the importance of selfdefining truths and identity during a deeply restrictive time. This thesis will also incorporate Helene Cixous’ essay “The Laugh of the Medusa” (1975) to better understand the importance of Brontë writing a female character who avowed her own identity and challenged anyone who imposed their own perception on to her character. This thesis aims to delineate the ways Jane challenges those around her, and even the reader, as she remains loyal to her truth.