“I desired liberty; for liberty I gasped” – Explain

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Jane Eyre is a notable literary work by Charlotte Brontë. A complete discussion of this literary work is given, which will help you enhance your literary skills and prepare for the exam. Read the main text, key info, Summary, Themes, Characters, Literary Devices, Quotations, Notes, to various questions of Jane Eyre.


I desired liberty; for liberty I gasped; for liberty I uttered a prayer; it seemed scattered on the wind then faintly blowing.

In “Jane Eyre,” the protagonist, Jane Eyre, expresses her intense longing for freedom and independence in this passage. These lines sketch the novel’s core themes, including Jane’s quest for self-determination and autonomy in a society where she is often oppressed and restricted.

“I desired liberty; for liberty I gasped…” – Jane Eyre has always desired freedom from the injustices she faces. As an orphan, she is mistreated by her aunt and cousins, and later, as a governess, she is subject to the command of her employers. Her yearning for liberty symbolizes her longing to escape these oppressive circumstances.

“…for liberty I uttered a prayer…” – Jane’s longing for freedom is so profound that it becomes a passionate prayer. She hopes for a life where she can make choices and decisions. She wants to escape the limitations placed upon her by her gender, class, and social standing.

“It seemed scattered on the wind then faintly blowing.” – This part suggests that Jane’s desire for liberty often feels elusive (challenging to achieve) and distant. Like a whisper in the wind, it is hard to grasp. Throughout the novel, she faces numerous obstacles and setbacks that challenge her pursuit of freedom. The challenges include societal expectations, her love for Mr. Rochester, and her sense of duty and morality.

This quote reflects Jane Eyre’s resilience, determination, and unwavering desire for liberty.