In a striking contrast with the feminine ideal exalted by Victorian society, Jane Eyre embodies for the first time what we could define as an emancipated and independent heroin model, able to progress in her life by relying on her own abilities and virtues.
Orphan and poor, the young Jane decides to study and qualify herself as a private tutor, then she departs to search a job. The girl perfectly knows she can't count on her humble origins to build up her future, and her rooted moral sense hinders her from accepting inappropriate means of maintenance.
Jane is described as a girl with a rather common (or plain, as in the English description) appearance, and this fact makes her a quite unusual heroin for the traditional reading public of the time: the main characters were always beautiful, virtuous and sensitive, moreover their supposed humble origins often left their place to an hidden and noble social extraction.
Let's come back to the story.
Employed as tutor for the daughter of tenebrous Rochester, Jane falls in love with the man, and starts with him a passionate affair. Once again, our heroine distinguishes for her active role in the relationship, in fact she proves being able to desire and seduce him by showing her young lady simple nature.
Everything seems to go on well, but the marriage project of the couple is put upside down by the unexpected reappearance of Rochester's former wife. Destiny proves generous to Jane, and once again the events upset literal traditions; Rochester's wife dies in a fire, so that our protagonist can eventually marry the man she loves.
With this end, Bronte seems to award her young heroine, and give her the role of "rescuer" within the couple. A big surprise for the romantic novel fans, ever used to admire static images of sentimental women, dreaming of a blue prince who's going to come and save them from the grey and restrictive everyday life.