Jane Eyre Short Summary – Charlotte Bronte

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Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre book, theme, short summary, analysis and sparknotes. Info about the Jane Eyre book.

Jane Eyre Short Summary - Charlotte BronteJane Eyre; is a novel by the English author Charlotte Bronte, published in 1847 as Jane Eyre: An Autobiography, edited by Currer Bell. It shocked many of its 19th century readers because of its unorthodox attitude toward love and traditional social hierarchies: the heroine, a poor insignificant governess, marries her rich aristocratic employer. Yet the novel was an immediate success and remains one of the most popular works of Victorian fiction.

The story, told in the first person by the heroine, describes her growth and development from a suppressed but imaginative orphan child to a happily married woman and mother. After years of deprivation at a charity school, Jane becomes governess at Thornfield Hall and falls in love with her master, Mr. Rochester. They declare their mutual passion and decide to get married, but their wedding is dramatically interrupted in church when it is revealed that Rochester is already married and that his mad wife is held in the attic at Thornfield Hall. Despite his pleas and against her own feelings, Jane runs away and, after nightmarish wanderings, finds refuge with the Rivers family—two sisters and a clergyman brother. Jane almost agrees to marry the cold but pious Mr. Rivers and join him as a missionary in India, when a mysterious call in the night— the voice of Rochester—drives her back to Thornfield Hall, to find the house has burnt down and that Rochester, in a vain attempt to save his wife, has been blinded and maimed. They are finally married, and Rochester eventually regains partial sight.

While Jane Eyre may be enjoyed as a romance, its literary value is found in its strength of imagination, feeling for nature, and understanding of childhood and of the elation and agony of passion between man and woman. In its perceptive analyses of Jane’s feelings it anticipates the psychological novel. The style is uneven, and some of the characterizations, including the By-ronic hero and the proud society ladies, are stereotyped. However, Jane, with her quest for independence and for love, is one of the earliest realizations of modern womanhood.

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