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Jane Eyre Book Report

1625 words (7 pages) Essay in English Literature

06/07/17 English Literature Reference this

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The main character of the book is Jane Eyre (round character). The book follows her through her troubled childhood and life as a young woman. She is a gentle and intelligent girl, but she has no confidence in herself because she is raised by her aunt who does not love her. She has no family and is completely unprotected by social position. When the novel begins, she is an isolated, powerless ten-year-old girl who lives with her aunt and cousins who dislike her. As the novel progresses, she grows in strength. Jane Eyre slowly develops from an unhappy young girl learning the hardships of life, into a happy and contented woman. At the end of the novel, she has become a powerful, independent woman living together with the man she loves: Mr. Rochester.

Charlotte Brontë was born in 1816 in Thornton in Yorkshire, England. She was the third child of Patrick Brontë and Maria Branwell and was soon followed by her brother Patrick Branwell in 1817, her sister Emily in 1818 and her sister Anne in 1820. Her father was a poor English clergyman and was eccentric and abusive. In 1821 the family moved to Haworth, after her father find work at a church there. In the same year her mother dies of cancer. In 1824 Charlotte and three of her sisters were sent to study at the Clergy Daughter’s School at Cowan Bridge. The conditions at the school were poor and they were treated with inhuman severity. The Lowood School in Jane Eyre was based on this school and Miss Scatcherd in the novel was based on the manager of the school. A fever broke out at the school and the girl returned home, but two of the sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, died of tuberculosis. The experience of Cowan Bridge and the loss of her sisters had an effect on Charlotte. With their father not communicating much with them and having no real contact with the outside world, the children spent their time reading and creating their own imaginary worlds.

When Charlotte was nineteen years old, she became a teacher. But because of her bad health, she had to give it up. She later worked watching over the children of wealthy families as a governess. But the people treated her poorly, so she had to give this up too. She decided then to attend a language school in Brussels with her sisters Emily and Anne and fell in love with a married professor at the school, but she never fully admitted the fact to herself.

After returning to Haworth in 1844, Charlotte Brontë became depressed. She was lonely and felt that she lacked the ability to do any creative work. She discovered that both of her sisters had been writing poetry, as she had. They decided to publish selected poems of all three sisters; in 1846 a collection of their was published under the pseudonyms of Currer (Charlotte), Ellis (Emily) and Acton (Anne) Bell. Charlotte contributed 19 poems.

Then they decided to each write a novel and to publish them. Her sisters’ novels were accepted for publication, but Charlotte’s first novel “The Professor”, based upon her Brussels experience, was rejected and was not published until after her death.

Charlotte Brontë’s second novel, Jane Eyre, was published in 1847. It became the most successful book of the year and it was translated into most of the languages of Europe.

Despite her success as a writer, Charlotte Brontë continued to live a quiet life in Yorkshire. In 1854 she married Arthur Nicholls, a man who had once worked as an assistant to her father, but she died within a year of their marriage on March 31, 1955.

Summary.

Jane Eyre is a young orphan being raised by Mrs. Reed, her cruel, wealthy aunt. A servant named Bessie provides Jane with some of the few kindnesses she receives, telling her stories and singing songs to her. One day, as punishment for fighting with her bullying cousin John Reed, Jane’s aunt imprisons Jane in the red-room, the room in which Jane’s Uncle Reed died. While locked in, Jane, believing that she sees her uncle’s ghost, screams and faints. She wakes to find herself in the care of Bessie and the kindly apothecary Mr. Lloyd, who suggests to Mrs. Reed that Jane be sent away to school. To Jane’s delight, Mrs. Reed concurs.

Once at the Lowood School, Jane finds that her life is far from idyllic. The school’s headmaster is Mr. Brocklehurst, a cruel, hypocritical, and abusive man. Brocklehurst preaches a doctrine of poverty and privation to his students while using the school’s funds to provide a wealthy and opulent lifestyle for his own family. At Lowood, Jane befriends a young girl named Helen Burns, whose strong, martyr like attitude toward the school’s miseries is both helpful and displeasing to Jane. A massive typhus epidemic sweeps Lowood, and Helen dies of consumption. The epidemic also results in the departure of Mr. Brocklehurst by attracting attention to the insalubrious conditions at Lowood. After a group of more sympathetic gentlemen takes Brocklehurst’s place, Jane’s life improves dramatically. She spends eight more years at Lowood, six as a student and two as a teacher.

After teaching for two years, Jane yearns for new experiences. She accepts a governess position at a manor called Thornfield, where she teaches a lively French girl named Adèle. The distinguished housekeeper Mrs. Fairfax presides over the estate. Jane’s employer at Thornfield is a dark, impassioned man named Rochester, with whom Jane finds herself falling secretly in love. She saves Rochester from a fire one night, which he claims was started by a drunken servant named Grace Poole. But because Grace Poole continues to work at Thornfield, Jane concludes that she has not been told the entire story. Jane sinks into despondency when Rochester brings home a beautiful but vicious woman named Blanche Ingram. Jane expects Rochester to propose to Blanche. But Rochester instead proposes to Jane, who accepts almost disbelievingly.

The wedding day arrives, and as Jane and Mr. Rochester prepare to exchange their vows, the voice of Mr. Mason cries out that Rochester already has a wife. Mason introduces himself as the brother of that wife – a woman named Bertha. Mr. Mason testifies that Bertha, whom Rochester married when he was a young man in Jamaica, is still alive. Rochester does not deny Mason’s claims, but he explains that Bertha has gone mad. He takes the wedding party back to Thornfield, where they witness the insane Bertha Mason scurrying around on all fours and growling like an animal. Rochester keeps Bertha hidden on the third story of Thornfield and pays Grace Poole to keep his wife under control. Bertha was the real cause of the mysterious fire earlier in the story. Knowing that it is impossible for her to be with Rochester, Jane flees Thornfield.

Penniless and hungry, Jane is forced to sleep outdoors and beg for food. At last, three siblings who live in a manor alternatively called Marsh End and Moor House take her in. Their names are Mary, Diana, and St. John Rivers, and Jane quickly becomes friends with them. St. John is a clergyman, and he finds Jane a job teaching at a charity school in Morton. He surprises her one day by declaring that her uncle, John Eyre, has died and left her a large fortune: 20,000 pounds. When Jane asks how he received this news, he shocks her further by declaring that her uncle was also his uncle: Jane and the Rivers’ are cousins. Jane immediately decides to share her inheritance equally with her three newfound relatives.

St. John decides to travel to India as a missionary, and he urges Jane to accompany him – as his wife. Jane agrees to go to India but refuses to marry her cousin because she does not love him. St. John pressures her to reconsider, and she nearly gives in. However, she realizes that she cannot abandon forever the man she truly loves when one night she hears Rochester’s voice calling her name over the moors. Jane immediately hurries back to Thornfield and finds that it has been burned to the ground by Bertha Mason, who lost her life in the fire. Rochester saved the servants but lost his eyesight and one of his hands. Jane travels on to Rochester’s new residence, Ferndean, where he lives with two servants named John and Mary.

At Ferndean, Rochester and Jane rebuild their relationship and soon marry. At the end of her story, Jane writes that she has been married for ten blissful years and that she and Rochester enjoy perfect equality in their life together. She says that after two years of blindness, Rochester regained sight in one eye and was able to behold their first son at his birth. [1]

Personal evaluation.

I think Jane Eyre is a very good novel, for its great theme, its moving plots and its happy ending. The story develops in a way that holds your interest as Jane meets Mr. Rochester and the secrets of Thornfield Hall are revealed. The characters are very realistic written and it’s an exciting story, so I can recommend this novel to other people.

[1] = http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/janeeyre/summary.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Eyre

http://summarycentral.tripod.com/janeeyre.htm

http://www.shmoop.com/jane-eyre/summary.html

http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/janeeyre/facts.html

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