jane eyre


  • After the marriage ceremony is broken off, Mr Rochester asks Jane to go with him to the south of France and live with him as husband and wife, even though they cannot be married.

  • [a] It has five distinct stages: Jane’s childhood at Gateshead Hall, where she is emotionally and physically abused by her aunt and cousins; her education at Lowood School,
    where she gains friends and role models but suffers privations and oppression; her time as governess at Thornfield Hall, where she falls in love with her mysterious employer, Edward Fairfax Rochester; her time in the Moor House, during which
    her earnest but cold clergyman cousin, St John Rivers, proposes to her; and ultimately her reunion with, and marriage to, her beloved Rochester.

  • However one midsummer evening Rochester baits Jane by saying how much he will miss her after getting married and how she will soon forget him.

  • Adèle and Jane develop a strong liking for one another, and although Mr Rochester places Adèle in a strict school after Jane flees Thornfield Hall, Jane visits Adèle after
    her return and finds a better, less severe school for her.

  • Later Jane tells Helen that she could not have borne such public humiliation, but Helen philosophically tells her that it would be her duty to do so.

  • Adèle seems to believe that her mother is dead (she tells Jane in chapter 11, “I lived long ago with mamma, but she is gone to the Holy Virgin”).

  • Jane becomes good friends with the sisters, but St John remains aloof.

  • [15][16] • Diana and Mary Rivers: Sisters in a remote moors house who take Jane in when she is hungry and friendless, having left Thornfield Hall without making any arrangements
    for herself.

  • Thornfield Hall[edit] Main article: Thornfield Hall After six years as a pupil and two as a teacher at Lowood, Jane decides to leave in pursuit of a new life, growing bored
    with her life at Lowood.

  • This is extraordinary—almost preternatural—smacking strongly of the miraculous—and yet it is true… We have seen Jane Eyre put down, as a work of gross immorality, and its
    author described as the very incarnation of sensualism.

  • In 1848, Elizabeth Rigby (later Elizabeth Eastlake), reviewing Jane Eyre in The Quarterly Review, found it “pre-eminently an anti-Christian composition,”[33] declaring: “We
    do not hesitate to say that the tone of mind and thought which has overthrown authority and violated every code human and divine abroad, and fostered Chartism and rebellion at home, is the same which has also written Jane Eyre.

  • Despite his strange behaviour, Mr Rochester and Jane soon come to enjoy each other’s company and they spend many evenings together.

  • Exhausted and starving, she eventually makes her way to the home of Diana and Mary Rivers but is turned away by the housekeeper.

  • Jane, overjoyed by finding that she has living and friendly family members, insists on sharing the money equally with her cousins, and Diana and Mary come back to live at
    Moor House.

  • Jane’s uncle, Mr Reed, was the only one in the Reed family who was kind to Jane.

  • He is the brother of Rochester’s first wife, the woman in the attic, and still cares for his sister’s well-being.

  • The next day, however, he leaves unexpectedly for a distant party and several days later returns with the whole party, including the beautiful and talented Blanche Ingram.

  • They want Jane to marry their stern clergyman brother so that he will stay in England rather than journey to India as a missionary.

  • One day, as punishment for defending herself against the bullying of her 14-year-old cousin John, the Reeds’ only son, Jane is locked in the red room in which her late uncle
    had died; there she faints from panic after she thinks she has seen his ghost.

  • Her friend and confidante, Miss Temple, also leaves after getting married.

  • [24] The novel The French Dancer’s Bastard, by Emma Tennant, reimagines the back story of Adéle, exploring whether she was Rochester’s love child and what her relationship
    with Jane Eyre is.

  • Helen and Miss Temple are Jane’s two main role models who positively guide her development despite the harsh treatment she has received from many others.

  • As Jane’s resolve against marriage to St John begins to weaken, she seems to hear Mr Rochester’s voice calling her name.

  • After Richard Mason stops Jane and Mr Rochester’s wedding, Rochester finally introduces Jane to Bertha: “In the deep shade, at the farther end of the room, a figure ran backwards
    and forwards.

  • [19] It has been suggested that the Wycoller Hall in Lancashire, close to Haworth, provided the setting for Ferndean Manor to which Mr Rochester retreats after the fire at
    Thornfield: there are similarities between the owner of Ferndean—Mr Rochester’s father—and Henry Cunliffe, who inherited Wycoller in the 1770s and lived there until his death in 1818; one of Cunliffe’s relatives was named Elizabeth Eyre (née

  • These facts were revealed to the public in The Life of Charlotte Brontë (1857) by Charlotte’s friend and fellow novelist Elizabeth Gaskell.

  • Jane then tells Helen how badly she has been treated by Mrs Reed, but Helen tells her that she would be far happier if she did not bear grudges.

  • Jane initially accepts going to India but rejects the marriage proposal, suggesting they travel as brother and sister.

  • “[38] American publication The Nineteenth Century defended the novel against accusations of immorality, describing it as “a work which has produced a decided sensation in
    this country and in England… Jane Eyre has made its mark upon the age, and even palsied the talons of mercenary criticism.

  • Refusing to go against her principles, and despite her love for Rochester, Jane leaves Thornfield Hall at dawn before anyone else is up.

  • Major characters In order of first line of dialogue: Introduced in first chapter[edit] • Jane Eyre: The novel’s narrator and protagonist.

  • The five stages of Jane’s life are as follows: Gateshead Hall[edit] Young Jane argues with her guardian, Mrs Reed of Gateshead, illustration by F. H. Townsend Jane Eyre, aged
    10, lives at Gateshead Hall with her maternal uncle’s family, the Reeds, as a result of her uncle’s dying wish.

  • The sisters remain close to Jane and visit her and Rochester every year.

  • Mr Rochester later tells Jane that Céline actually abandoned Adèle and “ran away to Italy with a musician or singer” (ch.

  • Proposals[edit] Thinking that the pious and conscientious Jane will make a suitable missionary’s wife, St John asks her to marry him and to go with him to India, not out of
    love, but out of duty.

  • The red room is significant because it lays the grounds for the “ambiguous relationship between parents and children” which plays out in all of Jane’s future relationships
    with male figures throughout the novel.

  • [5][6] Jane Eyre, along with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, is one of the most famous romance novels.

  • Just as she realises that she is in love with Mr Rochester, Jane sees that he and Blanche favour each other and starts to feel jealous, particularly because she also sees
    that Blanche is snobbish and heartless.

  • After Jane saves Mr Rochester from the fire, he thanks her tenderly and emotionally, and that night Jane feels strange emotions of her own towards him.

  • Odd things start to happen at the house, such as a strange laugh being heard, a mysterious fire in Mr Rochester’s room (from which Jane saves Rochester by rousing him and
    throwing water on him) and an attack on a house-guest named Mr Mason.

  • Later, he writes a letter to Miss Temple confirming Jane’s account of her childhood and thereby clears Jane of Mrs Reed’s charge of lying.

  • Jane returns to Gateshead Hall and remains there for a month to tend to her dying aunt.

  • When Adèle is old enough to leave school, Jane describes her as “a pleasing and obliging companion—docile, good-tempered and well-principled”, and considers her kindness to
    Adèle well repaid.

  • • Rosamond Oliver: A beautiful, kindly, wealthy, but rather simple young woman, and the patron of the village school where Jane teaches.

  • St John learns Jane’s true identity and astounds her by telling her that her uncle, John Eyre, has died and left her his entire fortune of 20,000 pounds (equivalent to US
    $2.24 million in 2022).

  • [23] A famous line in the book is at the beginning of Chapter 38: “Reader, I married him.”

  • • Grace Poole: “…a woman of between thirty and forty; a set, square-made figure, red-haired, and with a hard, plain face…” Mr Rochester pays her a very high salary to keep
    his mad wife, Bertha, hidden and quiet.

  • Grace is often used as an explanation for odd happenings at the house such as strange laughter that was heard not long after Jane arrived.

  • Jane is tempted but realises that she will lose herself and her integrity if she allows her passion for a married man to consume her and she must stay true to her Christian
    values and beliefs.

  • As with the previous mysterious events, Mr Rochester attributes the incident to Grace Poole, one of his servants.

  • “[33] An anonymous review in The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction writes of “the extraordinary daring of the writer of Jane Eyre”; however, the review is mostly
    critical, summarising: “There is not a single natural character throughout the work.

  • They live blissfully together in an old house in the woods called Ferndean Manor.

  • No woman in all the annals of feminine celebrity ever wrote such a style, terse yet eloquent, and filled with energy bordering sometimes almost on rudeness: no woman ever
    conceived such masculine characters as those portrayed here.

  • Despite the rider’s surliness, Jane helps him get back onto his horse.

  • Soon afterward Mrs Reed dies, and Jane helps her cousins after the funeral before returning to Thornfield.

  • St John is thoroughly practical and suppresses all of his human passions and emotions, particularly his love for the beautiful and cheerful heiress Rosamond Oliver, in favour
    of good works.

  • Mrs Reed confesses to Jane that she wronged her, bringing forth a letter from Jane’s paternal uncle, Mr John Eyre, in which he asks for her to live with him and be his heir.

  • Once they were united he discovered that she was rapidly descending into congenital madness, and so he eventually locked her away in Thornfield, hiring Grace Poole as a nurse
    to look after her.

  • She is unkind to Jane and tells Jane she has less right to be at Gateshead than a servant does.

  • • Robert Leaven: The coachman at Gateshead Hall, who brings Jane the news of the death of the dissolute John Reed, an event which has brought on Mrs Reed’s stroke.

  • Jane also tells Mrs Reed and her daughters, Georgiana and Eliza, that they are the ones who are deceitful, and that she will tell everyone at Lowood how cruelly the Reeds
    treated her.

  • Jane was orphaned several years earlier when her parents died of typhus.

  • Later, back at Thornfield, she learns that this man is Edward Rochester, master of the house.

  • To any one, who has read the work, this may look ridiculous, and yet it is true.

  • While Jane is trying to make herself look inconspicuous, she accidentally drops her slate, thereby drawing attention to herself.

  • Mr Rochester admits this is true but explains that his father tricked him into the marriage for her money.

  • Mr Rochester, who insists that he was tricked into the marriage by a family who knew Bertha was likely to develop this condition, has kept Bertha locked in the attic at Thornfield
    Hall for years.

  • She often treats Jane kindly, telling her stories and singing her songs, but she has a quick temper.

  • She is supervised and cared for by Grace Poole, whose drinking sometimes allows Bertha to escape.

  • Rochester suggests that Bertha’s parents wanted her to marry him, because he was of “good race”, implying that she was not pure white, while he was.

  • [10] Moor House[edit] St John Rivers admits Jane to Moor House, illustration by F. H. Townsend Jane travels as far from Thornfield Hall as she can using the little money she
    had previously saved.

  • Rochester regains sight in one eye two years after his and Jane’s marriage, enabling him to see their newborn son.

  • Jane then receives word that Mrs Reed has suffered a stroke and is calling for her.

  • Jane asserts herself as a financially independent woman and assures him of her love, declaring that she will never leave him.


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Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/maureendidde/4644336779/’]