• 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:

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