All fiction has its autobiographical roots, spreading through in the case of JANE EYRE. It is important therefore to have an idea of the life of the author to get a better appreciation of the novel and the times in which it is set. This is particularly so of the Bronte’s sisters, Charlotte and Emily, who had written the early Victorian novels from the point of view women. The Bronte sisters have therefore had a tremendous revival, JANE EYRE being considered as the most outstanding novels of Victorian England.
The novel grew out of Bronte’s own passions/dreams and frustrations, a kind of a wish fulfillment which few Victorian women had the courage or power to translate into fiction The novel begins with ten-years old orphan named JANE EYRE who is living with her maternal uncle’s family, the Reeds, as her uncle’s dying wish. Jane’s parents died of Typhus. Jane’s Aunt Sarah Reed does not like her and treats her worse than a servant and discourages and at times forbids her children from associating with her. She claims that Jane is not worthy of notice. She and her three children are abusive to Jane, physically and emotionally.
She is unacceptably excluded from the family celebrations and has a doll to find solace in. One day Jane is locked in the red room, where her uncle died, and panics after seeing visions of him. She is finally rescued when she is allowed to attend Lowood School for girls. Before she leaves, she stands to Mrs. Reed and declares that she will never call her aunt again, that she would tell everyone at Lowood how cruel Mrs. Reed was to her, and says that Mrs. Reed and her daughter, Georgina, are deceitful. John Reed, her son, is rude and disrespectful, even to his own mother, who he sometimes would called “Old Girl”, and his sisters.
He treats Jane worse than the others do, and she hates him above all the others. Mr. Reed would be the only one in the Reed family to be kind to Jane. The servant Abbot is also always rude to Jane. The servant Bessie is sometimes scolding and sometimes nice. Jane likes Bessie the best. Jane arrives at Lowood, a charity school, the head of which (Brocklehurst) has been told that she is deceitful. During an inspection Jane accidently breaks her slate, and Mr. Brocklehurst, the self righteous clergyman who runs the school, brands her a liar and shames her before the entire assembly.
Jane is comforted by her friend, Helen Burns. Miss Temple, a caring teacher, facilitates Jane’s self defense and writes to Mr. Lloyd, whose reply agrees with Jane’s. Ultimately, Jane is publicly cleared of Mrs. Broclehurst acquisitions. Many students fall ill when a Typhus epidemic strikes. Jane’s friend Helen dies of consumption in her arms. When Brocklehurst neglect and dishonesty are discovered several benefactors’ erect a new building and conditions at the school improved dramatically. After six years she decides to leave Lowood and she advertises her services as a governess, and receives one reply.
It is from Fairfax the house keeper at Thorn field Hall. She takes the position, teaching Adele Varens, a young French girl. While Jane is walking one night to a nearby town, a horseman passes her. The horse slips on the ice and throws the rider. She helps him; later back at the mansion she learns that this man is Edward Rochester, master of the house. He teases her, asking whether she bewitched his horse to make him fall. Adele is his ward, left in Mr. Rochester’s care when her mother died. Mr. Rochester and Jane enjoyed each other’s company and spend many hours together.
Odd things start to happen at the house, such as a strange laugh, a mysterious fire in Mr. Rochester’s room, on which Jane throws water, and an attack on Rochester’s house guest Mr. Mason. Jane receives word that her aunt was calling for her after being in much grief because her son has died. She returns to Gates head and remains these for a month. Caring for her dying aunt Mrs. Reed gives Jane a letter from Jane’s paternal uncle, Mr. John Eyre, asking for her to live with him. Mrs. Reed admits to telling her uncle that Jane had died of fever at Lowood . Soon after, Jane’s aunt dies and she returns to Thorn field.
Jane begins to communicate to her uncle John Eyre. After returning to Thorn field, Jane broods over Mr. Rochester’s impending marriage to Blanche Ingram. But on a mid-summer evening, he proclaims his love for Jane and proposes. As she prepares for her wedding, Jane’s forebodings arise when a strange, savage looking woman sneak into her room one night and rips her wedding veil in two. As with the previous mysterious events, Mr. Rochester attributes the incident to drunkenness on the part of Grace Poole, one of his servant’s . During the wedding ceremony, Mr. Mason and a lawyer declared that Mr.
Rochester cannot marry because he is still married to Mr. Mason’s sister Bertha. Mr. Rochester admits this is true but explains that his father tricked him into the marriage for her money. Once they were united, he discovered that she was rapidly descending in to madness and eventually locked her away in Thorn field, hiring Grace Poole as a nurse to look after her. When Grace gets drunk, his wife escapes, and causes the strange happenings at Thorn field. Jane learns that her own letter to her uncle John Eye, which happened to be seen by Mr. Mason, who knew John Eyre and was there how Mr.
Mason found out about the bigamous marriage. Mr. Rochester asks Jane to go with him to the south of France and live as husband and wife even though they cannot be married. Refusing to go against her principles, and despite her love for him, Jane leaves Thorn field in the middle of the night. Jane travels through England using the little money she had saved. She accidently leaves her bundle of possessions on a coach and has to sleep on the moor, trying to trade her scarf and gloves for food. Exhausted, she makes her way to the home of Diana and Mary Rivers but is turned away by the housekeeper.
She faints on the doorstep preparing for her death. St. John Rivers, Diana and Mary’s brother and a clergyman saves her. After she regains her health, St. John finds her a teaching position at a nearby charity school. Jane becomes good friends with the sisters, but St. John remains reserved. The sisters leave for governess jobs and St. John becomes closer with Jane’s. John discovers Jane’s true identity, and astounds her by showing her a letter stating that her uncle John Eyre had died and left her his entire fortune of 20,000 pounds when Jane questions him further ,St.
John reveals that John is also his and his sister’s uncle. They had once hoped for a share of the inheritance but have once resigned themselves to nothing. Jane, overjoyed by finding her family, insists on sharing the money equally with her cousins, Diana and Mary come to Moor house to stay. Thinking she will make a suitable missionary’s wife, St. John asks Jane to marry him and to go with him to India, not out of love, But out of duty. Jane initially accepts going to India, but rejects the marriage proposal, suggesting they travel as brother and sister. As soon as Jane’s resolve against marriage to St .
John begins to weaken, she mysteriously hears Mr. Rochester’s voice calling her name. Jane then returns to Thorn field to find only black and ruins. She learns that Mr. Rochester’s wife set the house on fire and committed suicide by jumping from the roof. In his rescue attempts, Mr. Rochester lost a hand and his eye sight. Jane reunites with him, but he fears that she will be repulsed by his condition. When Jane assures him of her love and tells him that she will never leave him, Mr. Rochester again proposes and they get married. He eventually recovers enough sight to see their first-born son.