Cinderella is a classic fairytale almost every person knows. Such recognition was earned through time and it's originality. Yet from this well-known tale, many stories have stemmed into their own interesting aspects of virtually the same plot with similar characters. One of the related stories is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bront"e.
Bront"e uses the main character Jane as Cinderella who finds her prince charming. Even though Jane Eyre contains more about human nature and less of magic, it still resembles the Cinderella archetype through Jane's early life and her relationship with Rochester. This does not, however, help Jane Eyre, but makes it clich'e. Jane's early life can be defined as the classic Cinderella case beginning with Jane's orphaned state, which resembles that of Cinderella. Mrs. Reed and her children mistreat Jane as the wicked stepmother and stepsisters do in the fairy tale.
The personalities of these characters are almost parallel. One of Cinderella's stepsisters is self-indulgent, another is strict and demanding, these match up with Georgiana and Eliza in the book. Even though the characters are similar in Jane's early life to those of Cinderella, she responds to them quite differently. While Cinderella is very obedient, Jane is rebellious. This portrays Bronte's different take on what makes a character unique and not just another Cinderella.
Another correspondence between the two stories is the relationship patterns between the hero and heroine. The typical Cinderella relationship pattern consists of heroine meeting hero, unsuspectingly falling in love, spending time together, separate under unfortunate circumstances, meet again, and live happily ever after. Jane and Mr. Rochester follow this pattern almost precisely. They fall in love somewhat similar to the way Cinderella and her prince: reluctant at first, then extremely passionate. After separating, each sort out his and her desires and reason after being apart then proceed to find each other.
Jane finds Rochester rather than the prince looking for Cinderella, but the emotional evolution and plot is the same. Also, the rich vs. poor aspect is existent. In the end, both stories end with hero and heroine together in a happy ending. This closely entwined connection gives the reader a feel of unoriginality despite the differences.
The hugely obvious parallels overshadow those differences. Symbolism and superior development of characters are blurred together and covered by the relationship to the fairytale, which is easier to analyze. The novel greatly suffers from the comparison to Cinderella. From Jane and Cinderella's analogous background, the reader easily assigns a "Cinderella" personality to Jane on first glance due to their similarities. The dramatic events concerning Jane and Rochester are perceived in a rather simplified manner from the relationship to the fairytale. Cinderella and the prince do not undergo any of the conflicts between reason and passion that Jane and Rochester battle, but it is overlooked when a reader is involved in predicting the story from his or her knowledge of the fairytale's plot.
That reduces the original feeling to the novel even though the Byronic hero and foils are carefully well written. Jane's background and relationship with Rochester can be distinctly linked to Cinderella. This may have been a clever retelling of the tale, but it reduces the reader's belief in novel's creativity. However, Jane Eyre isn't the only story that stems from a fairytale. Fairytales are so well known and varied in universal themes that is it unbelievably difficult for a story to not have any common ground with them. It only proves sometimes innovative new things still relate the age old ideas.