Even though the larger feminist movement did not occur until later in the century, changes in the view of women’s place in society began in the mid-nineteenth century: women’s submissive appreciation of their situation was questioned and a wish for change was introduced. Arguably, the radical and sometimes disturbing new heroines introduced at this time can be interpreted as signs of an early form of feminism. Traditionally early female writers, in order to be published, were restricted to writing romantic novels where they portrayed women as the ideal, charming ‘angel’ of the house. The heroines of these early novels were not to concern themselves with controversial issues of the day, in other words, they were not to express their intellect and not to challenge men’s superiority. This thesis looks at how Jane Eyre (1847), Wuthering Heights (1847) and The Mill on the Floss (1860) establish unconventional dimensions of women’s situation and their want for autonomy. Although none of the authors in this thesis can be considered ‘feminists’ in the later sense of the word, they offer a basis for later feminism in that their contributions might have been both that of voicing the current situation for women, as well as and demonstrating new potentialities of womanhood.