Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre can be linked to many fairy-tales. Some of these tales such as Charle’s Perrault’s Bluebeard, Arabian Nights, and many more are actually cited in the text. Others are alluded to through the events that take place in the story. Jane Eyre has often been viewed as a Cinderellatale for example. There is also another story, however, that though not mentioned directly, can definitely be linked to Bronte’s novel. This tale is none other than Beauty and the Beast, which was part of one of Perrault’s compilations. Bronte uses the ideas and themes of Beauty and the Beast to reveal the importance of inner beauty and to make a point that it’s what’s inside a person that counts. The beauty that can be found through outward appearance is superficial. A person’s inner beauty as shown through the relationship of Jane and Rochester can overcome society’s ideas of what constitute being beautiful.
We know that Bronte was familiar with Perrault’s works because she explicitly refers to another of Perrault’s tales, Bluebeard when exploring Thornfield’s third story. Also there is another connection to Perrault. Elizabeth Imlay through her study of Jane Eyre and fairy tales unveiled a fascinating connection. She questioned the idea that Jane’s French teacher, Madame Pierrot could in fact be a reference to Perrault himself. Jane talks about a French storybook when attending Lowood. She says, "I examined, too, in thought, the possibility of my ever being able to translate currently a certain little French story--book which Madame Pierrot had that day shown me" (83; ch. 8). Imlay argues that, "The title of the little French story--book promised to Jane by Madame Pierrot is not revealed, although [. . .] Pierrot could well be a side--step from Perrault" (Imlay 69).
Beauty and the Beast is quite well known in the world of fairy tales. There are many different adaptations of this story available. In Perrault’s version, Beauty’s father has lost his wealth and travels to town in hopes of a good business venture. Beauty has two sisters who are extremely vain and long for wealth. They beg their father to buy them fancy dresses and jewels before his return home. Beauty at first claims she wants nothing. Yet when her father will not take no for an answer she simply asks for a rose, not because she wants one but because it is something simple that her father will not have to buy. Unfortunately the old man’s business deal falls through, and on his way back home he gets lost in the woods. At the point of almost freezing to death from cold he finds himself at a castle. He goes inside and finds a warm meal and bed to sleep in, yet no host ever appears. After waiting to see if anyone will come he sleeps in the castle for the night only to find his clothes clean and ready to go in the morning. He sets out for home, yet before leaving he picks a rose from the garden for Beauty. All at once the Beast of the castle reveals himself and...