According to a number of critical sources, Jane Eyre is a bildungsroman.
What the heck is a bildungsroman? Let’s ask Wikipedia.
In literary criticism, a Bildungsroman (or “novel of formation,” also coming-of-age story,) is a literary genre that focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood, and in which character change is thus extremely important.
The term was coined in 1819 by philologist Karl Morgenstern in his university lectures, and later famously reprised by Wilhelm Dilthey, who legitimized it in 1870 and popularized it in 1905. The genre is further characterized by a number of formal, topical, and thematic features. The term coming-of-age novel is sometimes used interchangeably with Bildungsroman, but its use is usually wider and less technical.
The genre translates fairly directly into cinematic form, the coming-of-age film.
A few other examples:
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, by Laurence Sterne (1759)
David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens (1850)
Sons and Lovers, by D. H. Lawrence (1913)
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce (1916)
The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger (1951)
The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton (1967)
Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card (1985)
The Harry Potter series, by J. K. Rowling (1997-2007)
Read more at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bildungsroman