Though a child when the novel starts, Jane follows her own intuition and instinct rather than submitting to the oppressive statutes of her family and educators.
Later, when Jane becomes a young woman and is faced with overbearing male influences, she again asserts her individuality by demanding to live according to her own necessity.
Some critics argue that both the marriage to Rochester and the acceptance of a life withdrawn from the world overturn all efforts made on Jane’s part to assert her individuality and independence.
It should be noted, however, that Jane only goes back to Rochester when the obstacles which create inequality between the two have been eliminated.
These musings pronounce an ideal that a woman’s interest in marriage should be just as equal as her husband’s, and that her interests must be treated with just as much respect.
At the end of the novel, Jane returns to Rochester, her true love, and takes residence in the private Ferndean.
She has learned to keep true to herself and her ideals while maintaining a level of sophistication and piety, thus creating a more positive notion of feminine individuality than was displayed in her youth.
The next obstacles for Jane’s feminist individuality come in the form of two male suitors, Rochester and St John.
In Rochester, Jane finds her true love, and had she been any less of a feminist person, any less demanding of her equality in all relationships, she would have married him when he first asked.
However, when Jane realizes that Rochester is already married, though his first wife is insane and essentially irrelevant, she immediately flees from the situation.