Author: Charlotte Brontë
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 439 pages
The main character of the book is Jane Eyre. In the beginning of the novel she’s ten years old. She’s an orphan. She is left in the care of her aunt, Mrs Reed. She’s not happy with Jane and doesn’t make a secret of it. Bessie is her only friend at Gateshead. Helen Burns is her friend at the school, but dies later. Mr Rochester is the owner of Thornfield Hall. He’s her employer but in the end he is her husband. There are too many other persons in the book, the most important are described in the summary.
The title is easy to explain. It’s the name of the main character of the book, Jane Eyre. She is telling the book .
Charlotte Brontë 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 should be improved and that in such matters as love and marriage proposals women should speak to their love on base of equality.
Time and Place
The story takes place at the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century.
Much of the action is centred around country houses: Gateshead ( the estate of Mrs Reed) Thornfield Hall ( Mr Rochester’s country seat), Ferndean and Moor House.
The only thing that struck me were the stripes to hide the names of places.
Most Fascinating Page
There were many fascinating pages and one of them is page 114. That’s because Helen, Jane’s best friend, dies.” When I woke up it was day: an unusual movement roused me; I looked up; I was in somebody’s arms; the nurse held me; she was carrying me through the passage back to the dormitory. I was not reprimanded for leaving my bed; people had something else to think about; no explanation was afforded then to my many questions; but a day or two afterwards I learned that Miss Temple, on returning to her own room that day, had found me laid in a little crib; my face against Helen Burns’ shoulder, my arms around her neck. I was asleep, and Helen was - dead.”
It was a very interesting book. It was a very thick book, but it was worth it. It's a good book, but many parts were very too longwinded and that made the reading sometimes boring. It wasn’t very difficult to read. I think the girl has been trough a lot of trouble but she always found her way to get out of it and marries and becomes very happy.
When her parents die, Jane Eyre is left in the care of her aunt, Mrs Reed, who strongly dislikes her. She allows her own children, Eliza, John and Georgina, to treat the more intelligent Jane with cruelty. Especially John Reed bullies her and when Jane can not longer endure this, she flies at him. She is locked up in the ‘red room’, a room that frightens her, because her uncle died in it, and she faints. When she regains consciousness, she is in her own bed, nursed by Bessie, the only friendly person in the house. Jane becomes so depressed, that Mr Lloyd, the apothecary, advises Mrs Reed to send Jane to school. Then Mrs Reed sends for Mr Brocklehurst, a humourless Calvinistic clergyman, in 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 Lowood 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 Brocklehurst made.
Helen Burns dies of consumption and at the same time there is an outbreak of typhus in the school. As a results 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 for the post of governess is answered by Mrs Fairfax of Thornfield Hall. Jane will be required to teach a little girl. But before she leaves, Bessie visits her and tells her that a 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, 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 out 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 Mr Rochester was the father of her child. That same night Jane hears a strange laugh in the corridor and on investigation she sees that Mr Rochesters 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 meet the beautiful Blanche Ingram. Jane feels that she has allowed her fancy to run away with her. She realises that she has been thinking too much about Mr Rochester. When Mr Rochester returns, he has some guests with him, one of them Blanch Ingram. He orders her 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 and Mr Rochester, because she realises she is in love with her master.
When Rochester is away on business, a Mr Mason arrives from the West Indies. That same night a gypsy visits Thornfield Hall and tells everyone’s fortune. The gypsy turns out to be Mr Rochester. When Jane tells him about the arrival of Mr Mason, Rochester is seriously upset.
That night Jane hears screams coming from the upper floor. All 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, badly 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 has been called 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 Mrs Reed 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 had wanted her to be his heiress. Mrs Reed had answered that Jane had died in the epidemic at Lowood.
After her aunt’s death, Jane returns to Thornfield Hall. One evening Mr Rochester confesses, after a great inward struggle, that he loves Jane and wants her 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 therefor she writes her uncle in the hope of achieving a position of financial independence.
Two nights before her wedding Jane has a frightening experience. She wakes up and sees a strange woman in her room, who first places the bridal veil upon her head and then tears it apart. Rochester suggests it must have been Grace Poole.
Two days later the wedding ceremony is interrupted by Mr Mason and Mr Briggs, a solicitor, who produces evidence that Mr Rochester is already married 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 he was trapped into this marriage in Jamaica. Mason explains that he has heard of the intended marriage from Jane’s uncle in Madeira who, being too ill to travel himself, had persuaded Mason to prevent the marriage.
Jane has difficult time convincing herself she must leave Thornfield Hall. Rochester tries to persuade her to become his mistress by telling Jane the true story about his first marriage, but though 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 him her name is Jane Eliot.
In this house she has a pleasant time, although the financial position of its inhabitants is anything but bright. Their father has recently died leaving them only a small sum of money and an expected inheritance from a 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 she 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 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 drawing with 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 with him, 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 go back toThornfield Hall. When she gets there she finds the blackened ruin of what was once the Hall. She is told that 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.
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