The story of a girl in the beginning of the nineteenth century.
When her parents die, Jane Eyre is left in the care of her aunt, Mrs Reed, who strongly dislikes the child. She allows het own children Eliza, John and Georgina, to treat the more intelligent Jane with cruelty. Especially John bullies her and when Jane can no longer endure this, she flies at him. She is then locked up in the 'red room', a room that frightens her, because her uncle died in it, and she faints. Whe she regains consciousness, she is in her own bed, nursed by Bessie, the only friendly person in the house. Jane becomes so depressed, thet Mr Lloyd, the apothecary, advises Mrs Reed to send Jane to school. Then Mrs Reed sends for Mr Brocklehurst, a humourless Calvanistic clergyman, ion charge of Lowood Orphan Asylum. He is informed that Jane is a dishonest and rebellious girl and that she will need very strict discipline.
Before Jane leaves, she accuses her aunt of lying, which seems to frighten Mrs Reed.
At Lowwod Jane is received by the kind Miss Temple. The food at Lowood is bad and the discipline is strict, but Jane is not unhappy. She makes friends with Helen Burns, a gentle, clever girl, who is often harshly punished by the French teacher.
When Mr Brocklehurst visits the school, he tells the whole school what a liar Jane is. Miss Temple, however, believes Jane's story. She writes to Mr Lloyd for confirmation and then announces in public that Jane is not guilty of the charges Mr Brockelhurst made.
Helen Burns dies of consumption (de tering) and at the same time there is an outbreak of thypus at the school. This causes public indignation at the conditions in the school. As a result some improvements are made.
Jane stays on at Lowood as a teacher, but when Miss Temple marries and leaves, Jane decides to try something else. Her advertisement is answered by Mrs Fairfax of Thornfield Hall. Jane will be required to teach a little girl. But before she leaves to take this new position, Bettie visits her and tells het that Mr Eyre, Jane's uncle, has inquired after her.
Mrs Fairfax is the housekeeper at Thornfield Hall. The owner, Mr Rochester is absent. Jane's pupil is a French-speaking girl Adèle Varens, who is the ward of Mr Rochester. WHile going over the house with Mr Fairfax Jane hears a strange laugh. She is told it is Grace Poole, a woman who does the sewing.
Life at Thornfield Hall soon develops into a routine. Going into the village one day Jane encounters a strange man, who is thrown from his horse when it slips. The man has injured his ankle and Jane helps him up. He has dark features and a brooding look. When Jane gets home, she finds that the man is Mr Rochester.
One evening Jane has tea with Mr Rochester. He tells her that Adèle is the child of a French dancer who claimed that Rochester was the father of her child. That same night Jane hears a strange laugh in teh corridor and on investigation she sees that Mr Rochester's room is on fire. She puts the fire out and again the name Grace Poole is mentioned. The next day Mr Rochester goes on a visit to a neighbour, where he will meetthe beautiful Blanche Ingram. Jane feels bitter that she had allowed her fancy to run away with her. She realizes that she had been thinking too much about Mr Rochester.
When Mr Rochester returns, he has some guests with him, one of them Blache Ingram. He orders Jane to be present in the drawing-room at night, but the guests are rude to her. They stay at Thornfield Hall for some time. Jane anxiously watches Blanche Ingram and Mr Rochester, because she realizes that she is in love with her master.
When Rochester is away on business, a Mr Mason arrives from the West Indies. That same evening a gipsy visits Thornfield Hall and tells everyone's fortune. The gipsy turns out to be Mr Rochester. When Jane tells him about Mr Mason's arrival, Rochester is seriously upset.
That night Jane hears screams coming from the upper floor. All the guests are in the corridor talking excitedly, but Mr Rochester tells them nothing is wrong and they return to their rooms. Jane is asked to come upstairs. There she sees Mr Mason, seriously wounded by a knife. Jane suspects Grace Poole. Even now she hears beast-like sounds and laughter. Mr Mason leaves the house with the surgeon that had been calles for and Mr Rochester talks to Jane about a dreadful sin in his past and about a possible release by marrying Blanche Ingram.
A short time after this Jane is informed that Mr Rees is critically ill and has asked for her. Jane makes the journey to her aunt's bedside, where she is received with the same old coldness. Mrs Reed, feeling guilty, tells Jane of a letter that had come from her uncle in Madeira three years before, in which he asked for Jane's address, because he wanted her to be his heiress. Mrs Reed has answered that Jane had died in the epidemic at Lowood.
After her aunt's death, Jane returns to Thornfield Hall. One evening Mr Rochester cofesses, after a great inward struggle, that he loves Jane and wants to marry him. Jane consents, but she tries to behave sensibly and decides to keep him at arm's length. She wants a marriage in which she is the companion of her husband and therefore she writes to her uncle in the hope of achieving a position of financiel independance.
Two nights before the wedding Jane has a frightening experience. She wakes up and sees a strange woman in the room, who first places the bridal veil upon her head and then tears it apart. Rochester suggests thaat it must have been Grace Poole.
Two days later the wedding ceremony is interrrupted by Mr Mason and Mr Briggs, a solicitor, who produces evidence that Mr Rochester is already maaried to Bertha Mason, a woman now living at Thornfield Hall. Mr Rochester admits the charges and shows the company the mad woman, who immediately attacks Rochester. Grace Poole is the woman who looks after her.
Mr Rochester tells the others that he was trapped into this marriage in Jamaica. Mason explains that he has heard of the intended marriage from Jane's uncle in Maseirs who, being to too ill to travel himself, had persuaded Mr Mason to prevent the marriage.
Jane has a difficult time convincing herself that she must leave Thornfield Hall. Mr Rochester tries to persuade her to become his mistress by telling Jane the true story of his first marriage, but although Jane is very sorry for him, she decides to leave secretly.
She is taken far away by stage-coach, a journey that takes all the money she has. She vainly tries to get a job or some food. When she is almost starving one stormy night she calls in at a house, where the servant refuses to help her. The master of the house, however, hears her and takes her in, leaving her in the care of his two sisters, Diana and Mary. The man is a clergyman who is called St John Rivers. Jane tells them her name is Jane Eliot.
In this house she has a pleasant time, although the financial position of its habitants is anything but bright. Their fatherr has recently died leaving them only a small sum of money and an expected inheritance froma rich uncle is now going to a cousin. They will have to sell the house. St John Rivers offers Jane the post of schoolmistress of Morton, which she accepts and quickly becomes popular with the pupils. St John Rivers tells Jane that he will become a missionary in India and for that reason he will give up the beautiful heiress Rosamund Oliver, who is in love with him. He also discovers Jane's true identity, when he sees that Jane has signed one of her drawings Jane Eyre. It turns out that Jane is the cousin who has inherited the £20.000 from the rich uncle.
Jane makes her cousins accept a share of the inheritance, which means that they will not have to sell their house.
One day St John Rivers asks Jane to marry him. He does not love her, but he thinks she will be an excellent missionary. jane is willing to go, but not as his wife. This is not acceptable to St John, who continues to try to convince her that it is her duty to marry him. At last Jane almost consents, but then she hears Rochester's voice calling "Jane, Jane, jane."
Jane decides to return to Thornfield Hall. When she gets there she finds the blackened ruin of what was once the Hall. She is told Mr Rochester attempted to rescue his mad wife, when she set the house on fire, but in vain. Bertha killed herself by jumping from the upper floor and Rochester lost one hand and his eyesight. He now lives at Ferndean.
Jane immediately goes to Ferndean and finds Mr Rochester, who is very glad that she has come. They soon marry and are perfectly happy with each other. After two years Rochester recovers the sight of one eye, so that he can see his first-born son.
Jane Eyre is the main character. The story is about her life. It begins when she is a little girl and it ends when she is married and has a child.
Mr Rochester lives at Thornfield Hall and later at Ferndean. Jane is employed by Mr Rochester to look after Adèle Varens of who he is the guardian. After many hardship Jane and Rochester get married.
Mrs Reed is Jane's aunt with whom Jane lives after her parents die. Mrs Reed is a very cold woman who hates Jane.
Eliza, John & Georgina are the children of Mrs Reed. They are allowed to treat Jane with cruelty.
Helen burns is Jane's best friend at Lowood. She dies of consumption.
Miss Temple is a kind teacher at Lowood. She is the only one who helps and believes Jane. When she gets married and goes away, there is nothing more for Jane at Lowood and Jane leaves the school.
St John Rivers turns out to be Jane's cousin. He wants Jane to marry him and come with him to India to be missionaries.
Diana & Mary are the sisters of St John Rivers. Jane gets along very well with the sisters.
The title Jane Eyre stands for the main character, Jane Eyre.
Jane Eyre is a dramatic novel. In such a novel character and action are of equal importance and it is almost impossible to separate one from the other. It has a few characteristics of the Gothic Novel.
The story takes place at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century.
Much of the action is centered around country houses: Gateshead, the estate of Mrs Reed, Thornfield Hall, Mr Rochester's country seat, Ferndean, the place to which Mr Rochester retires after the fire at Thronfield Hall, and Moore House, the somewhat humbler household of St John Rivers.
Point Of View
The novel is told from a first person point of view. The narrator is Jane Eyre herself, who many years after marriage to Mr Rochester tells the story of her life, from when she was a little girl up to the time she married. This technique makes a novel very direct and subjective, as is the author's intention. In this way the reader understands Jane, whether he agrees with her or not. The novel contains a number of autobiographical elements, and Jane is a projection of Charlotte Brontë herself. This gives the author an excellent opportunity to put forward her own ideas and ideals.
was much concerned with the position of women in the early nineteenth century. In Jane Eyre the main theme is that the position of women shoul be improved and that in such matters as love and marriage proposals women should speak to their lovers on a basis of equality.
With her sisters Emily and Anne and her brother Patrick Branwell, Charlotte (1816-1855) spent her youth at Haworth, a lonely village in Yorkshire, where her father was the vicar. The children were left to themselves very much and this isolation led to extensive reading, through which they developped very vived imaginations. They started writing stories and poems at a very early age, and later Charloote, Emily and Anne all published novels. Jane Eyre is Charlotte's best novel.
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