• Year Published: 16 October 1847.
  • Pages: 507.

Jane Eyre Summary

Jane Eyre is a novel which tells the story of a orphan girl. Young Jane is being raised by her aunt, Mrs Reed, which turn to be pretty hostile towards her. Their relationship is a very tensed one, and Jane is often punished by her aunt. Her only friend was a servant, who was often showing gestures of kindness, spending time with Jane or telling her stories. The main plot of the novel begins, when Mrs Reed decides to send the young Jane to a school.

The Lowood School

The life at this school will be a little different than what Jane was hoping for. The headmaster of this school is a very abusive person, which is spending the school funds for personal purposes. At Lowood, Jane makes another best friend, the young Helen Burns. Not long after, a typhus epidemic starts inside the Lowood School. Helen gets sick and soon after, she dies. However, the headmaster was found guilty for this epidemic and he was later dismissed. After that, Jane’s life at Lowood School significantly improves. She stays as a student here for another 6 years, and after that, she starts teaching.

Mr Rochester

After 2 years of teaching at Lowood School, Jane wants to make a change in her life. That’s why she accepts to work as a governess at a big manor. She was responsible for teaching Adele, a young French girl. The owner of the manor, Mr Rochester, has a passion for Jane and not long after, she falls in love with him too. After some time, Rochester asks Jane to marry him and she accepts.

The Wedding

During the wedding day, when the wedded pair was about to exchange their vows, something crucial happens. A certain man appears, saying that the wedding has to be stopped because Mr Rochester already has a wife. That man was the brother of Rochester’s wife, Bertha and he claims that the two got married in Jamaica, many years ago. Surprisingly, Mr Rochester doesn’t deny that and says that he had to leave his wife because she went mad. They all return to the manor, where they found Bertha screaming and behaving like an animal. Rochester hides Bertha, in order to keep her under control. This is the moment when Jane realises that she can never be with Rochester, so she leaves Thornfield.

The Decadence And Rise

Jane finds herself with no money and no place to sleep. She even has to beg for food and she sleeps outside. Eventually, three of her siblings find her and take her in their manner. The things took a drastic turn when she finds out that her uncle died, and left her a 20,000 pounds fortune. On this occasion, Jane finds that John, the person who gave her the news, is also her cousin. Jane doesn’t keep the money and decides to share it with her relatives.

Returning To Her True Love

John decides to go to India, and proposes Jane to go together, as husband and wife. Jane denies the marriage proposal, saying that she doesn’t love him. He insists, and hopes to make Jane reconsider. When she was almost convinced, she remembers about her true love, Mr Rochester, and decides to return to Thornfield. Unfortunately, she finds out that the manor was burned to the ground by Rochester’s mad wife, who died in the fire. Rochester survived, but he lost his eyesight and one hand while trying to escape. Jane rushes to Rochester’s new house, where she finds him.

A Happy Ending

Jane and Rochester can finally be together and nothing could stop them now. They soon marry and they enjoy a perfect life together. The novel ends with Jane, telling that after 2 years of blindness, Rochester recovered his eyesight at one eye and was able to see and hold his first son, when he was birth.

Jane Eyre Characters

Jane Eyre is one of its kind novels written by an English writer named Charlotte Bronte, published in 1847. Primarily of Bildungsroman genre, the novels follows the emotion of a young orphan girl named after the novel and her experience from 10 years to being an independent young woman. She is the protagonist on the novel, struggling through her loveless childhood, but despite the challenges she is passionate, strong conscience and very principled, not to mention she values freedom and independence. Below is a list of other characters on the Jane Eyre novel and their brief descriptions.

Aunt Reed: Left an orphan during her childhood, Jane is forced to live with her loveless Aunt Reed, a sister in law to her father. At Reed place, Jane is mistreated and spurned by everyone around. Aunt Reed spoils her children and only cares what other people think about her and she ignores Jane situation, no matter how bad possibly because his Late husband loved her more than her children.

Bessie: Bessie is Reed home servants, and unlike others around the house, she is kind to Jane when other are not looking, tells her stories and sings her the songs much more like a mother. Later she marries Robert Leaven, who was Reed’s coachman.

John Reed: Aunt Reed spoilt son, who not only torment Jane but also resent her; he often blames Jane for his evil deeds, where she finds herself banished to very cramped room. Maturity does not change him, he becomes an alcohol addict, often in gambling and eventually, he ends up committing suicide at the age of twenty-three.

Eliza Reed: Eliza is another Reed spoilt child, who is always Jealous of other beauty especially her sisters. She is a slave to her own routine, selfish and enjoys making money.

Georgiana Reed: Georgina is another Reed daughter, very attractive, well dressed, disciplined, very smart, but again she is quarrelsome especially with her sister Eliza, whiny and most often expect others to take care of her.

Mr Lloyd: After Jane’s traumatic experience in the Red room, Mr, Lloyd suggests Jane be taken to a Charity school at Lowood. He is very compassionate and caring about Jane’s well-being. He is one who is more responsible for Jane recommendations and confirms about Jane’s Childhood clearing all her accusation of lying.

Helen Burns: Probably the first’s Jane friend; she is spiritual and good at reasoning. She teaches Jane to be a responsible and forgiving Christian. Although she manifests certain strengths and intellectual maturity, she is more focused on self-negation rather than assertion, thereby highlighting Jane to be a more headstrong character.

Edward Fairfax Rochester: He is Jane’s lover; he is a very dark, proud, sardonic, brooding yet a passionate individual. Soon after falling in love with Jane, much of his characters disappear.

Mr Brocklehurst: arguably, the cruelest in Lowood school; preaches privation doctrine by stealing everything he deserves to sustain his luxurious lifestyle. His shady practices are later brought to light and eventually, he is publicly discredited.

Mrs Harden: she is a housekeeper at Lowood School and in many ways, she has similar characteristics as Mr. Braocklehurst; evil, intolerant, overambitious, and a money pinching lady.

Maria Temple: Maria is a teacher at Lowood who treats Jane with ultimate respect and compassion. She along with Bessie, are the only people who inspire Jane and probably the only role models in her life. Miss Temple eventually gets married to Reverend Nasmyth.

Miss Scartcherd: Unlike Maria, Miss Scartcherd is sour and tacky especially towards Jane’s friend Helen.

Diana and Mary Rivers: Jane’s cousins who serve at St. John’s sisters; they are poor, brilliant and unlike the Reeds, they are kind hearted.

The above list is comprised of major characters, but there are much more who have taken a major part to making this novel one of its kind.

Jane Eyre Topics

Jane Eyre, written by Charlotte Brontë and published in 1847, has become an important landmark in classic English literature. With a revolutionary protagonist, a convincing Gothic setting, and a heartfelt and realistic love story, it is easy to see why so many still read Jane Eyre today.

Themes Explored In Jane Eyre

There is no doubt that Jane Eyre has a lot to say. Depending on who you are and where you are from, you might take something different from the story and from the characters. Jane Eyre is a quest for love, a quest to find comfort in those around you. At the same time, it is the story of a young woman’s quest to love herself and to be comfortable in her own company. Here are some of the themes that Jane Eyre explores.

Love And Autonomy

Love and belonging is a constant theme throughout the story. Jane is not only looking for romantic love, but also the sense of belonging that eluded her in her childhood. When she becomes friends with Helen Burns at Lowood School and forms a bond with the older girl, Jane expresses her desire to gain Helen’s affection. She says that she would face a great deal of pain just to achieve that affection. Throughout the rest of the book, Jane begins to learn that she should not be willing to hurt or sacrifice herself just to gain the love of another person, and this is perhaps one of the most significant parts of Jane’s emotional journey and personal growth.

This theme becomes very important later on when she falls in love with Mr. Rochester and learns his secret. She refuses his marriage proposal, knowing that it would hurt her a great deal to marry a man who is legally tied to another (Bertha). She puts herself before her search for love, knowing that becoming a mistress would be to sacrifice her self-respect and her love towards herself.

Victorian England’s social class

The social hierarchy in Jane’s time was strict and unbalanced. Jane Eyre explores society’s treatment towards governesses because of their seemingly ambiguous class and the uncertainty they created for those around them. As a governess, Jane is educated and well-mannered, making her equal on an intellectual level to the aristocracy. However, since they were paid employees and did not have access to large sums of wealth, they were looked at as servants. Jane comes to realize this flaw in English society when she realizes that she would be indebted to Mr Rochester for marrying her, who, in society’s eyes is inequal to him.

Faith and religion

Religion is another theme explored in much of the novel. There are three main characters who represent three different ways of approaching religion:

  • Mr. Brocklehurst, master of Lowood School
  • Helen Burns, Jane’s classmate and close friend
  • St. John Rivers, Jane’s coworker at Moor House

Mr Brocklehurt is a representation of nineteenth-century Evangelicalism, which Charlotte Brontë comments on in her work. Mr. Brocklehurst shows a need to ‘purge’ his students of pride, though this is achieved through restrictions, unsatisfactory living conditions, and humiliation. The hypocrisy is further emphasized when Brocklehurst’s family visits Lowood School and show signs of luxury and over indulgence.

Helen Burns’s religious ideology is quite different, built on a high degree of modesty and passive self-denial.

When Jane meets St. John Rivers, she is introduced to another type of Christian behavior, one centered on glory and self-importance. St. John puts his moral duty before his own emotional fulfillment, and he urges Jane to do the same. While this way of living is perhaps the most glorious and respectable in the Christian faith, it is to deny one’s own desires and happiness. In the end, Jane develops her own faith and principles to live by, seeming to find a balance between the three religious models we are introduced to.

Jane Eyre is a novel that challenged many of the perceptions and ideologies that were present in Victorian England. The story introduces us to a complex heroine who seeks to find love, self-respect, and understanding through the many obstacles that fate puts in her way.

Jane Eyre Quotes

Jane Eyre’s quotes showcase an inner understanding of what it is really to be human. Her words are put in a spectacular manner of emotions that break into the deepest fringes of the heart, and is visible even to the strongest of men.

Eyre’s exceptional quotes reveal a side of human existence that barely changes centuries later. It is a unique side that every man and woman crave for, a sense of belonging, that is defined by feelings of love, self-reliance, empowerment, freedom and such quotes are well explained below:

1. Quotes about Love.

Eyre keeps the strong and powerful emotion of love above and beyond all other emotions and is expressed beautifully in her famous quotes. Such quotes reveal a uniqueness, a side of both weakness and power is carefully constructed.

I had not intended to love him; the reader knows I had wrought hard to extirpate from my soul the germs of love there detected; and now, at the first renewed view of him, they spontaneously revived, great and strong! He made me love him without looking at me.

2. Quotes of Self-reliance

Eyre dictates a side of self-containment to try and prove her self-reliance as a means of her gaining self-respect. She quotes:

I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unstained I am, the more I will respect myself.

Jane Eyre paints a vivid picture of reliance and the price she has to pay to achieve such.

3. Quotes about Empowerment

You must neither expect nor exact anything celestial of me – for you will not get it, any more than I shall get it of you.

In this quote she establishes the fact she deserves equal treatment and indicates carefully what others should expect from her.

As she puts it:

Women need to be generallycalm; but women often feel the same as men. they need practice for their various faculties as well as a field for their tremendous efforts, the same way their brothers do.

4. Quotes of Freedom

Freedom is a gift, a choice that rests in the hands of every individual with certain responsibilities and powers added to it.

Her illustration is clearly shown in her famous quote:

A unique connection between being free and the definition of independence can be seen from her quote.

I am a free human being, with an independent will.

5. Quotes about Loyalty.

Every atom of your flesh is as dear to me as my own: in pain and sickness it would still be dear.

She faithfully admits her love and loyalty through her expression. Jane Eyre shows what it takes and what it really means to remain faithful to your partner, even though the worst of circumstances, she promises.

Jane Eyre displays actionable and unique expressions in her quotes. Complement is found in how such quotes matter in our society right now although written a long time ago.

But as she cleverly describes in her own words:

I really longed for an independence of vision which may surpass the limit. That might reach ever busy world, regions that are full of joy had once heard of but never seen.

Jane Eyre Outline

The novel, Jane Eyre, was originally published in 1887 in London under the title, Jane Eyre – An Autobiography. The author is Charlotte Brontë, who first published the work under her pen-name Currer Bell. This coming-of-age (or bildungsroman) novel features Jane Eyre, St.John Rivers, and Edward Fairfax Rochester as the main characters and the story revolves around the relationships, sometimes romantic, which Jane builds with both Rivers and Rochester. Because of the romantic element in this relationships, the the novel is also classified as belonging to the genre of Romance.

Jane Eyre Overview

The novel focuses primarily on the experiences and emotions of the eponymous heroine, Jane Eyre, who starts off as a disadvantaged orphan but gradually succeeds after completing her educations and using her personality to build effective relationships, which ultimately allow Jane to establish herself as an independent woman. The novel is set in Victorian England, and it reflects upon – and sometimes even critiques – the social dynamics of that time, including the class system, gender roles, courtship, religion and piety. Moreover, the novel uses the first-person narrative, which means that each event and experience is viewed through the eyes and mind of Jane. This allows the author to analyze and critique social norms as well as show their impact on the lives of ordinary people.

The main motifs of substitute mothers, rebellion, and the Byronic Hero; are used to build the key themes of class conflict, family life, spirituality, and gender conflict. Also, the story features some exotic settings such as Thornfield Hall, which creates a gothic tone, and thus the novel has also been classified as belonging to the gothic genre. These motifs and themes can be deduced from the plot summary provided below.

Jane Eyre Plot Summary

Jane Eyre became an orphan while she was still an infant, and she is taken in by her wealthy relatives, Uncle Reed, and his cruel wife, Sarah Reed, who resides in Gateshead Hall. Her uncle died shortly thereafter, and Eyre has to live amongst the now uninviting Reed family.

Growing up at Gateshead Hall

The 10-year old Eyre is regarded as an outsider by the remaining members of the Reed Family. Nonetheless, even though Eyre is despised by her cousins, Eliza and Georgiana; they still tolerate her; unlike their brother, John, who is openly hostile and harsh towards Eyre. John repeatedly reminds Eyre that she is an outsider who depends on the goodwill of Mrs.Reed for her survival. One day, John fights Eyre after he finds her reading a book that belonged to him. Eyre is accused of starting the fight and punished by being confined to the room where her uncle died in, the red-room. Here she finds herself haunted by fear that the ghost of her uncle still resides in the room. She panics and her panics grows worse till she faints. She is attended to by Mr.Lloyd, an apothecary, who sympathises with her experiences and subsequently advises Mrs. Reed to send young Eyre to school. Sarah Reed happily concedes and send Jane to Lowood School.

Lowood School

Lowood School is headed by Mr.Brocklehurst who operates the institution as a charity organization that educates orphan girls. However, Mr.Brocklehurst is a mean minister who ensures that the girls get just enough food to avoid starvation in their freezing living rooms, and he barely clothes them for the cold.

Nonetheless, Jane is able to befriend Helen Burns, one of the senior girls in the school. During one of the routine inspections done by Mr.Brocklehurst, Jane is falsely accused of impetuosity and shamed before all the assembled girls. However, the superintendent, Miss Temple, defends Jane and forces Mr.Brocklehurst to publicly clear Jane of the false accusations. Unfortunately, typhus breaks out and her friend Helen dies.

Thornfield Hall

Eyre completes her education and serves as a teacher in the school till she is 18 years old when she becomes a governess for Adèle Varens who lives in Thornfield Hall. Here, she falls in love with Edward Rocherster, her Byronic employer who subsequently proposes to her but is unable to marry her. At this point, Jane leaves, and finds herself living among the Rivers family.

St.John Rivers, the only male member of the Rivers family, fall sick and Jane attends to him. During this period, St.John proposes to Jane but she respectfully declines. Later, Jane finds out she has inherited some wealth from her uncle. However, she also receives bad news that Edward Rochester has been injured when his house was burned. Jane re-unites with Mr-Rochester and finally gets married.

Jane Eyre Questions

      • Discuss the importance of the paranormal experiences found in the novel. What lessons do characters learn from the visions and dreams?

Explain how these experiences alter your understanding of the characters. Explain how supernatural elements in the novel interact with the realism of the story

      • How do you find the presentation of the different women in the novel: Miss Temple, Mrs. Reed, Blanche Ingram, Celine Varens, Mary Rivers, Diana and Bertha Mason.

Discuss the lesson learned by Jane concerning feminine behavior from the above women. List the women who are positive role models as well as those who as negative role models.

      • What idealisms does Jane hold concerning religion?

What lessons does she learn concerning Christianity from Mr. Brocklehurst, St. John Rivers and Burns. Explain how their views of religion contrast with Jane’s views.

      • Explore two scenes that depict the ambiguity of Jane’s social class. How does Jane see people from upper class as being different from the people from the lower class?

Explain the social class grading system in England as described in the novel. What is Bronte’s opinion of the social class system?

      • You will realize that the narrator of the novel is the character of an older Jane reflecting on her childhood.

Explain how the older voice effects and intrudes the story in the book. Does the older sound decrease or increase empathy for the little Jane?

      • In the novel, Jane describes several of her drawings and paintings.

Explain how these artistic renditions are necessary and what they reveal regarding Jane’s imagination and inner self?

      • Make a contrast between the images of fire and those of ice from the story. List the moral attributes associated with both ice and fire.

Explain how the image pattern is used to reveal a character’s personality. Give the characters that associate with ice as well as those that associate with ice. In your opinion, does Jane get a balance between ice and fire?

      • How are the five places where Jane live on her journey relevant to the story: Lowood, Thornfield, Gateshead, Ferndean and Moor House/Marsh. What to each of these names signify?

Analyze the lessons that Jane learns from each of these places. In the novel, Jane makes a detailed description of each of these sites natural world. Explain what the descriptions show about their character.

      • Compare and contrast St. John Rivers and Rochester.

Give an analysis the strengths and weaknesses of each of these places. What makes Jane select Rochester instead of St. John?

      • Discuss how foreigners are represented in the novel- Richard Mason and Bertha, Adele Varens and COline.

Explain how colonies are described in the story. According to the novel where does Rochester get his wealth from? Does Rochester use Jane’s inheritance?

  • Explain how this novel would be different if it were named “The Governess” or “Redemption.”
  • Had the character of Jane been beautiful rather than plain would that impact the story?
  • Is Jane’s decision to stand on the principle right? Does the novel provide ways for Jane to be flexible?

This is a revolutionary and outstanding novel that is entertaining and suspenseful. It discusses incredible topics including religion and paranormal activity and it nice to see the perspectives of different people regarding the topics.

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