The Victorian era is known for its class rigidity and moral strictness. In her 1847 novel Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë gave us a robust, layered character who pushes against cultural norms and fully embraces her complexity. She’s crabby, difficult, and gets depressed. But she’s also smart and passionate. And she claims the right to love and be loved because she is all these things—fully human. Sharon Marcus is the Orlando Harriman Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. She is the author of Apartment Stories: City and Home in Nineteenth-Century Paris and London and Between Women: Marriage, Desire, and Friendship in Victorian England. See more information on our website, WritLarge.fm.