Jane Eyre

Paperback | April 7, 2009

byCharlotte Bronte

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Charlotte Brontë's most beloved novel describes the passionate love between the courageous orphan Jane Eyre and the brilliant, brooding, and domineering Rochester. The loneliness and cruelty of Jane's childhood strengthens her natural independence and spirit, which prove invaluable when she takes a position as a governess at Thornfield Hall. But after she falls in love with her sardonic employer, her discovery of his terrible secret forces her to make a heart-wrenching choice. Ever since its publication in 1847, Jane Eyre has enthralled every kind of reader, from the most critical and cultivated to the youngest and most unabashedly romantic. It lives as one of the great triumphs of storytelling and as a moving and unforgettable portrayal of a woman's quest for self-respect.

From the Publisher

Charlotte Brontë's most beloved novel describes the passionate love between the courageous orphan Jane Eyre and the brilliant, brooding, and domineering Rochester. The loneliness and cruelty of Jane's childhood strengthens her natural independence and spirit, which prove invaluable when she takes a position as a governess at Thornfiel...

From the Jacket

"At the end we are steeped through and through with the genius, the vehemence, the indignation of Charlotte Brontë."—Virginia Woolf

Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855), a poor clergyman's daughter from Yorkshire, England, worked as a teacher and governess before her publication of Jane Eyre won her instant fame. She went on to produce three more novels before dying at the age of thirty-eight.

other books by Charlotte Bronte

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ARC CLASSICS JANE EYRE
ARC CLASSICS JANE EYRE

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The Brontë Sisters Boxed Set: Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall, Villette
The Brontë Sisters Boxed Set: Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heig...

Hardcover|Nov 22 2016

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see all books by Charlotte Bronte
Format:PaperbackDimensions:624 pages, 8 × 5.2 × 1 inPublished:April 7, 2009Publisher:Knopf Doubleday Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:030745519X

ISBN - 13:9780307455192

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Review of Jane Eyre “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë, published by Smith, Elder & Co. is about a plain heroine who possess courage and spirit. She was brought up in an unjust household, a strict boarding school and overcomes rigid social order as a governess for the adopted daughter of the mysterious Mr. Rochester. The novel Jane Eyre shows convincing internal character traits. Jane is shown to have passionate opinion when Mr. Brocklehurst had just left and she and Mrs. Reed were having a discussion “Jane, you are under a mistake: what is the matter with you? Why do you tremble so violently? Would you like to drink some water?” “No, Mrs. Reed.” “Is there anything else you wish for, Jane? I assure you, I desire to be your friend.” “Not you. You told Mr. Brocklehurst I had a bad character, a deceitful disposition; and I’ll let everybody at Lowood know what you are and what you have done.” “Jane, you don’t understand these things: children must be corrected for their faults.” “Deceit is not my fault!” “But you are passionate, Jane, that you must allow: and now return to the nursery-there’s a dear- and lie down a little.” “I am not your dear; I cannot lie down: send me to school soon, Mrs. Reed, for I hate to live here” Jane shows that even though Mrs. Reed is noticeably trying to be nice but Jane keeps on pushing her away because she won’t break her strong opinion. This conversation also shows Jane’s pride, where even if she might think that Mrs. Reed is being good Jane still won’t admit that she has judged her benefactress wrongly. Another example of her possible pride is since “Jane Eyre” is a fictional person’s autobiography Jane could have enhanced her grammar because as a ten year old her speech is quite proper even during a conversation to with her best friend, like “No; I know I should think well of myself; but that is not enough: if others don’t love me I would rather die than live- I cannot bear to be solitary and hated, Helen. Look here; to gain some real affection from you, or Ms. Temple, or any other whom I truly love, I would willingly submit to have the bone of my arm broken, or to let a bull toss me, or to stand behind a kicking horse, and dash its hoof at my chest-”, she sounds like a well-read adult. That is why “Jane Eyre” shows considerable core character qualities. Jane Eyre is an interesting novel because it spreads over a variety of elements. The book has a feature of romance between the strong Jane and Edward Rochester. Yet the couple is torn apart by a fiery, mad force that partakes in an element of mystery and madness. The force tears them apart yet still brings them together when it leaves Edward in a dependent state. Jane comes and she helps him, so Edward must trust her to guide him and do most things for him. The novel also features a strong lady as its protagonist, Jane Eyre. The novel has sorts for romance lovers, gothic fans and feminists. I feel that “Jane Eyre” is an old book that some would enjoy if they were committed to reading and understanding it. “Jane Eyre” probably has over one hundred odd pages of description that help enhance the scene’s mood to a superfluous amount. The novel has over religious themes and moral preaching, the last six words in the book are “Amen; even so come, Lord Jesus!” This would be something common at the time of this novel’s time praising Christian values as the compound for the prosperity pictured in this story. The world of “Jane Eyre” isn’t lost for love as of most romantic dramas. In the battle between self- respect and grand desire, principle wins unquestionably. Rousing, yet tender speeches do not make our heroine desert her belief to fall swooning and docile into her alpha’s arms. Those were some reasons that “Jane Eyre” is a longstanding yet still good novel. I only have a couple points of criticism for “Jane Eyre”. My view is that it was pretty unrealistic that Jane just happens to stumble upon her only relatives in England’s doorstep. It is very improbable that out of the influx of people immigrating to the England- Whales area and the elongated lives in the Victorian era, that she would find three people who are related to her and that one, St. John, happens to be a giving clergy man who convinces the maid to let Jane stay in their house for a bit. I felt that the ending of the novel was very cliché with marriages, everyone being happy and having everybody been accomplished their goals. Even if Jane did deserve the happy ending after her terrible childhood and hardships I expected a more ambiguous ending. Those topics were my only points of criticism of “Jane Eyre”. “Jane Eyre” is an overall good book. It shows understandable internal characteristics, it has elements for most people’s interests and after 169 years it stays a great classic that most love.
Date published: 2016-06-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An excellent book! this book is extremely well written which gives the reader motivated feelings. So heartwarming and full of romance and melodrama. This book is an unforgettable and a must read book.
Date published: 2016-06-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic! Absolutely love this book!
Date published: 2015-09-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Book Ever The story is gripping, the characters are loveable and the writing is beautiful. What can you not love about this book?
Date published: 2015-03-02
Rated 2 out of 5 by from meh I like that the protagonist is a girl and i love that it shows the capabilities of us girls but looking at the writing itself, I prefer Oliver Twist.
Date published: 2015-01-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Romantic and naive story. But what a narration! Miss Bronte was an excellent writer, very couraegous too. It was brave to write such an emancipatory book at victorian era. Oh, and this humour! Subtly cynical. I could see Charlotte Bronte winking at me while I was reading
Date published: 2014-03-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best! Jane survives her neglectful and cruel family only to find her true heart's desire become unattainable. Escaping into the wilderness, she finds herself settling for another only to hear the siren call of her lover again. Will all turn out as it should? Truly a delightful read.
Date published: 2013-07-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Glad I read it. 3.5 stars Jane was an orphan, raised by an aunt who really didn't want to raise her. At 10 years old, Jane was shipped off to a boarding school for orphans. At 18, after she'd been teaching at that school for a couple of years, Jane became a governess. The story continues to follow Jane through other events in her young life. It was good, though there were parts that dragged a bit for me and I found my mind wandering. I could have done without the religious stuff, but I enjoyed the turns that Jane's life took. Unfortunately, the book did feel long, and it took me a long time to read. In part, I can blame the holidays, but even the time I spent reading, it took longer to read a certain number of pages than it often does for me. However, overall, I enjoyed it and I'm glad I read it.
Date published: 2012-12-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A timeless classic Jane Eyre was born poor. When she was very young her parents died and her uncle, who was wealthy, had her come and live with his family. However her uncle died and Jane was not wanted in the household. Her cousins were not kindly towards her and she suffered abuse from her male cousin and aunt. Fairly soon she was sent off to a boarding school. The boarding school was austere but Jane loved to learn and 'turned out' fairly well. After finishing school she stayed to teach but soon grew bored and placed an ad for a position of governess. She found herself as a governess to Mr. Rochester's ward at Thornfield. But all is not as it seems, there is a very strange woman servant who works in the attic. A strange man appears one day and disappears with Mr. Rochester only to turn up injured. The doctor visits to patch him up and he then is spirited away. Jane grows steadily in love with Mr. Rochester. This novel was written in the 19th century when women were little more than a man's possession. Jane is a strong-willed feminine character. She is not afraid of going it alone and has strong principles. There were several situations where it would have been so much simpler to just give in. Even the male characters have something to learn, mostly humility. I had never read this book before and was enthralled. It is an ageless book full of strong characters, good and evil, romance and mystery.
Date published: 2011-09-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Classic! Classic. Although I'm not a fan of Mr.Rochester, i love the story.
Date published: 2011-05-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic I first read this book when I was in Grade 8 and have read this book a few times since then. One thing I like about the story is that while the story ends up in a fairy tale manner, the two main characters are anything but what we imagine our "fairy tale" characters to be like. Jane is a plain individual, who has a difficult past and who is trying to escape it by any way imaginable. Mr. Rochester isn't the dashing man who has money; he is moody and temperamental, with secrets of his own that he wants to desperately to hide at all costs. While I have read this book only a few times, the book still remains one of my favourites and would recommend it to anybody who loves to read and needs a good read for the summer or hasn't read a piece of classic Victorian literature. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2010-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great book I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Even more so than Wuthering Heights. WH was good too, but I enjoy reading something a little more cheerful, and this one was excellent.
Date published: 2009-11-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gah! That's IT! I'm officially hooked on classic novels! Someone get me Pride and Prejudice pronto!
Date published: 2009-10-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic! Loved it!, This turned out to be an exceptional book though I didn't think so in the beginning. By what seems the hundredth page, I had decided it was a feminine version of David Copperfield but not as interesting. By the hundred and fiftieth page, I was completely discouraged and was sure it had turned into the very romantic mush I detest (a lot of what she feels about him and what he feels about her, and so on). Somewhere soon after that, I fell in and was absorbed. It became a tremendously good book with a fantastic plot and a good pace. I read for hours and hours at a sitting enjoying every single minute of it and only stopped when something absolutely forced me. Excellent, excellent! Jane Eyre is an orphaned child under the guardianship of her maternal aunt. Not liked by her aunt and not able to get along with her cousins, Jane is sent to Lowood School for the children of the poor (it is a charity school) to be taught the fundamentals and, more importantly, to be conditioned for a life of poor expectations. Lowood changes the strong willed, impetuous Jane into a woman of uncommon restraint. When she accepts a post as governess to Adele at Thornfield Hall, she attracts the attention of Mr. Rochester, the master of the house, who has the desire to reclaim himself from a sordid past. He comes to believe that Jane has the power to transform him and help him to realize himself in the better light that he has not heretofore been able to achieve on his own. But his secrets are not far away and peculiar events at Thornfield make the reader question his advances. Sworn not to ask about who or what is in the room on the third floor, Jane's iron resolve begins to falter with the dreamlike romance and the reader begins to trepiditiously hope for her happiness. When Mr. Rochester is unable to keep his past under wraps, however, Jane is forced onto a path that will require all of her internal resources to survive but will ultimately put her in the position to make choices for herself rather than just choose among available options. The question is, with her conditioning, can she lead with her heart instead of her head? My only legitimate greivance, and given only in the vein of humour, is that is seems like Jane would have taught Adele some English. The child speaks only in French and myself not being able to read French, I did not understand anything the child ever said. Luckily, her exuberance and intent still comes through and the reader can develop a softness for the child without understanding her dialogue.
Date published: 2009-09-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from really nice love story I was required to read this book for an English class and I thought that the story of Jane Eyre was very romantic, and protrayed the essence of true love. The only thing that I did not find too appealing was the writing style. This story is written in the 19th century and therefore is written in the same language of that time. I think it was perhaps due to the fact that this was the first time I had read a book in such a style. Overall though, it was a great story to read.
Date published: 2009-05-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Welcome to Jane's world... If you liked Jane Austen (anything by her, really) but thought it seemed a little bit too much like fluffy chick-lit rather than something with a substantial plot, you will love 'Jane Eyre.' (I'm not hating on Austen, mind you, because I do love her.) A rather serious book, 'Jane Eyre' shows us that strength, confidence and pure love can be found within ourselves, if only we have the courage to look into our hearts. The novel follows Jane throughout her life from a young age to her marriage. An orphan who has found herself unwanted by her aunt, Jane is shipped off to boarding school, and her adventure begins. She teaches a young French girl, she discovers the mystery of the attic, she finds the family she's always dreamed of, and of course, she learns to love. Give yourself some time with this one. The writing, like Austen, is not something you can skim if you want to get the true feeling of the novel. This particular edition contains endnotes that explain imagery and allusions that may not make themselves immediately clear to the reader, as well as explaining social constructs and aspects of Victorian life.
Date published: 2009-03-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Greatest Heroine in Fiction Jane Eyre is a poor & plain governess who, after surviving a wretched childhood as an orphan, is given a chance at happiness only to have it snatched away by cruel circumstances. A gothic tale of mystery and love against the odds, the centre of this story is Jane Eyre, a remarkable and compassionate young woman who refuses to become jaded and angry, and who holds her head up with dignity despite cruel treatment from those above her in the social hierachy.
Date published: 2008-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from jane eyre i thought the book would be stuffy and dull but found it one of the best books i ever read any thoughts ?
Date published: 2008-10-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A masterpiece of human dignity & strength Jane Eyre is a poor & plain governess who, after surviving a wretched childhood as an orphan, is given a chance at happiness only to have it snatched away by cruel circumstances. A gothic tale of mystery and love against the odds, the centre of this story is Jane Eyre, a remarkable and compassionate young woman who refuses to become jaded and angry, and who holds her head up with dignity despite cruel treatment from those above her in the social hierachy.
Date published: 2008-09-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lovable! This remains my favourite story of all time. I have read this book countless times, and will continue to do so. I absolutely adore the witty banter, the realistic yet intriguing characters, the ethical entanglements, and the emotion. I would recommend it to anyone, regardless of their purpose — be it intellectual or diversion.
Date published: 2008-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Never Wanted it to End... Great on every count!!! Romance, Mystery, Historical, You name it, it has it. Keeps you up until 12:00 hanging off the edge of your seat. It shows excellent character development. It's slow change from hardship to great compassion leaves a nice twist and a unforgettable ending.
Date published: 2007-10-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from terrific this books was amazing, i read it last summer and couldn't put it down. Accually it took a little while to get into it but turned out fantastic
Date published: 2006-02-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Helpful The Coles notes help to give a better understanding of the book. Very helpful indeed.
Date published: 2000-11-01

Extra Content

Read from the Book

Chapter OneThere was no possibility of taking a walk that day. We had been wandering, indeed, in the leafless shrubbery an hour in the morning; but since dinner (Mrs. Reed, when there was no company, dined early) the cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so sombre, and a rain so penetrating, that further outdoor exercise was now out of the question.I was glad of it; I never liked long walks, especially on chilly afternoons: dreadful to me was the coming home in the raw twilight, with nipped fingers and toes, and a heart saddened by the chidings of Bessie, the nurse, and humbled by the consciousness of my physical inferiority to Eliza, John, and Georgiana Reed.The said Eliza, John, and Georgiana were now clustered round their mamma in the drawing-room: she lay reclined on a sofa by the fireside, and with her darlings about her (for the time neither quarrelling nor crying) looked perfectly happy. Me, she had dispensed from joining the group, saying, "She regretted to be under the necessity of keeping me at a distance; but that until she heard from Bessie, and could discover by her own observation that I was endeavouring in good earnest to acquire a more sociable and childlike disposition, a more attractive and sprightly manner--something lighter, franker, more natural, as it were--she really must exclude me from privileges intended only for contented, happy little children.""What does Bessie say I have done?" I asked."Jane, I don't like cavillers or questioners; besides, there is something truly forbidding in a child taking up her elders in that manner. Be seated somewhere; and until you can speak pleasantly, remain silent."A small breakfast-room adjoined the drawing-room, I slipped in there. It contained a bookcase; I soon possessed myself of a volume, taking care that it should be one stored with pictures. I mounted into the window-seat: gathering up my feet, I sat crosslegged, like a Turk; and, having drawn the red moreen curtain nearly close, I was shrined in double retirement.Folds of scarlet drapery shut in my view to the right hand; to the left were the clear panes of glass, protecting, but not separating me from the drear November day. At intervals, while turning over the leaves in my book, I studied the aspect of that winter afternoon. Afar, it offered a pale blank of mist and cloud; near, a scene of wet lawn and storm-beat shrub, with ceaseless rain sweeping away wildly before a long and lamentable blast.I returned to my book--Bewick's History of British Birds: the letterpress thereof I cared little for, generally speaking; and yet there were certain introductory pages that, child as I was, I could not pass quite as a blank. They were those which treat of the haunts of sea-fowl; of "the solitary rocks and promontories" by them only inhabited; of the coast of Norway, studded with isles from its southern extremity, the Lindeness, or Naze, to the North Cape--Where the Northern Ocean, in vast whirls,Boils round the naked, melancholy islesOf farthest Thule; and the Atlantic surgePours in among the stormy Hebrides.Nor could I pass unnoticed the suggestion of the bleak shores of Lapland, Siberia, Spitzbergen, Nova Zembla, Iceland, Greenland, with "the vast sweep of the Arctic Zone, and those forlorn regions of dreary space--that reservoir of frost and snow, where firm fields of ice, the accumulation of centuries of winters, glazed in Alpine heights above heights, surround the pole, and concentre the multiplied rigours of extreme cold." Of these death-white realms I formed an idea of my own: shadowy, like all the half-comprehended notions that float dim through children's brains, but strangely impressive. The words in these introductory pages connected themselves with the succeeding vignettes, and gave significance to the rock standing up alone in a sea of billow and spray; to the broken boat stranded on a desolate coast; to the cold and ghastly moon glancing through bars of cloud at a wreck just sinking.I cannot tell what sentiment haunted the quite solitary churchyard, with its inscribed headstone; its gate, its two trees, its low horizon, girdled by a broken wall, and its newly risen crescent, attesting the hour of eventide.The two ships becalmed on a torpid sea, I believed to be marine phantoms.The fiend pinning down the thief's pack behind him, I passed over quickly: it was an object of terror.So was the black, horned thing seated aloof on a rock, surveying a distant crowd surrounding a gallows.Each picture told a story; mysterious often to my undeveloped understanding and imperfect feelings, yet ever profoundly interesting: as interesting as the tales Bessie sometimes narrated on winter evenings, when she chanced to be in good humour; and when, having brought her ironing-table to the nursery-hearth, she allowed us to sit about it, and while she got up Mrs. Reed's lace frills, and crimped her nightcap borders, fed our eager attention with passages of love and adventure taken from old fairy tales and older ballads; or (as at a later period I discovered) from the pages of Pamela, and Henry, Earl of Moreland.With Bewick on my knee, I was then happy: happy at least in my way. I feared nothing but interruption, and that came too soon. The breakfast-room door was opened."Boh! Madam Mope!" cried the voice of John Reed; then he paused: he found the room apparently empty."Where the dickens is she?" he continued. "Lizzy! Georgy! (calling to his sisters) Jane is not here: tell mamma she is run out into the rain--bad animal!""It is well I drew the curtain," thought I, and I wished fervently he might not discover my hiding-place: nor would John Reed have found it out himself; he was not quick either of vision or conception; but Eliza just put her head in at the door, and said at once: "She is in the window-seat, to be sure, Jack."And I came out immediately, for I trembled at the idea of being dragged forth by the said Jack."What do you want?" I asked with awkward diffidence."Say, 'what do you want, Master Reed,' " was the answer. "I want you to come here"; and seating himself in an arm-chair, he intimated by a gesture that I was to approach and stand before him.John Reed was a schoolboy of fourteen years old; four years older than I, for I was but ten; large and stout for his age, with a dingy and unwholesome skin; thick lineaments in a spacious visage, heavy limbs and large extremities. He gorged himself habitually at table, which made him bilious, and gave him a dim and bleared eye with flabby cheeks. He ought now to have been at school; but his mamma had taken him home for a month or two, "on account of his delicate health." Mr. Miles, the master, affirmed that he would do very well if he had fewer cakes and sweetmeats sent him from home; but the mother's heart turned from an opinion so harsh, and inclined rather to the more refined idea that John's sallowness was owing to over-application, and, perhaps, to pining after home.John had not much affection for his mother and sisters, and an antipathy to me. He bullied and punished me; not two or three times in the week, nor once or twice in a day, but continually: every nerve I had feared him, and every morsel of flesh on my bones shrank when he came near. There were moments when I was bewildered by the terror he inspired, because I had no appeal whatever against either his menaces or his inflictions; the servants did not like to offend their young master by taking my part against him, and Mrs. Reed was blind and deaf on the subject: she never saw him strike or heard him abuse me, though he did both now and then in her very presence; more frequently, however, behind her back.Habitually obedient to John, I came up to his chair: he spent some three minutes in thrusting out his tongue at me as far as he could without damaging the roots: I knew he would soon strike, and while dreading the blow, I mused on the disgusting and ugly appearance of him who would presently deal it. I wonder if he read that notion in my face; for, all at once, without speaking, he struck suddenly and strongly. I tottered, and on regaining my equilibrium retired back a step or two from his chair."That is for your impudence in answering mamma a while since," said he, "and for your sneaking way of getting behind curtains, and for the look you had in your eyes two minutes since, you rat!"Accustomed to John Reed's abuse, I never had an idea of replying to it: my care was how to endure the blow which would certainly follow the insult."What were you doing behind the curtain?" he asked."I was reading.""Show the book."I returned to the window and fetched it thence."You have no business to take our books; you are a dependant, mamma says; you have no money; your father left you none; you ought to beg, and not to live here with gentlemen's children like us, and eat the same meals we do, and wear clothes at our mamma's expense. Now, I'll teach you to rummage my bookshelves: for they are mine; all the house belongs to me, or will do in a few years. Go and stand by the door, out of the way of the mirror and the windows."I did so, not at first aware what was his intention; but when I saw him lift and poise the book and stand in act to hurl it, I instinctively started aside with a cry of alarm: not soon enough, however; the volume was flung, it hit me, and I fell, striking my head against the door and cutting it. The cut bled, the pain was sharp: my terror had passed its climax; other feelings succeeded."Wicked and cruel boy!" I said. "You are like a murderer--you are like a slave-driver--you are like the Roman emperors!"I had read Goldsmith's History of Rome, and had formed my opinion of Nero, Caligula, &c. Also I had drawn parallels in silence, which I never thought thus to have declared aloud."What! what!" he cried. "Did she say that to me? Did you hear her, Eliza and Georgiana? Won't I tell mamma? but first--"He ran headlong at me: I felt him grasp my hair and my shoulder: he had closed with a desperate thing. I really saw in him a tyrant: a murderer. I felt a drop or two of blood from my head trickle down my neck, and was sensible of somewhat pungent suffering: these sensations for the time predominated over fear, and I received him in frantic sort. I don't very well know what I did with my hands, but he called me "Rat! rat!" and bellowed out aloud. Aid was near him: Eliza and Georgiana had run for Mrs. Reed, who was gone upstairs; she now came upon the scene, followed by Bessie and her maid Abbot. We were parted: I heard the words--"Dear! dear! What a fury to fly at Master John!""Did ever anybody see such a picture of passion!"Then Mrs. Reed subjoined: "Take her away to the red-room, and lock her in there." Four hands were immediately laid upon me, and I was borne upstairs.Chapter TwoI resisted all the way: a new thing for me, and a circumstance which greatly strengthened the bad opinion Bessie and Miss Abbot were disposed to entertain of me. The fact is, I was a trifle beside myself; or rather out of myself, as the French would say. I was conscious that a moment's mutiny had already rendered me liable to strange penalties, and, like any other rebel slave, I felt resolved, in my desperation, to go all lengths."Hold her arms, Miss Abbot: she's like a mad cat.""For shame, for shame!" cried the lady's-maid. "What shocking conduct, Miss Eyre, to strike a young gentleman, your benefactress's son! Your young master.""Master! How is he my master? Am I a servant?""No; you are less than a servant, for you do nothing for your keep. There, sit down, and think over your wickedness."They had got me by this time into the apartment indicated by Mrs. Reed, and had thrust me upon a stool: my impulse was to rise from it like a spring; their two pair of hands arrested me instantly."If you don't sit still, you must be tied down," said Bessie. "Miss Abbot, lend me your garters; she would break mine directly."Miss Abbot turned to divest a stout leg of the necessary ligature. This preparation for bonds, and the additional ignominy it inferred, took a little of the excitement out of me."Don't take them off," I cried; "I will not stir."In guarantee whereof, I attached myself to my seat by my hands."Mind you don't," said Bessie; and when she had ascertained that I was really subsiding, she loosened her hold of me; then she and Miss Abbot stood with folded arms, looking darkly and doubtfully on my face, as incredulous of my sanity."She never did so before," at last said Bessie, turning to the Abigail."But it was always in her," was the reply. "I've told missis often my opinion about the child, and missis agreed with me. She's an underhand little thing: I never saw a girl of her age with so much cover."Bessie answered not; but ere long, addressing me, she said:"You ought to be aware, miss, that you are under obligations to Mrs. Reed: she keeps you: if she were to turn you off you would have to go to the poorhouse."I had nothing to say to these words: they were not new to me: my very first recollections of existence included hints of the same kind. This reproach of my dependence had become a vague singsong in my ear; very painful and crushing, but only half intelligible. Miss Abbot joined in:"And you ought not to think yourself on an equality with the Misses Reed and Master Reed, because missis kindly allows you to be brought up with them. They will have a great deal of money and you will have none: it is your place to be humble, and to try to make yourself agreeable to them.""What we tell you is for your good," added Bessie, in no harsh voice: "you should try to be useful and pleasant, then, perhaps, you would have a home here; but if you become passionate and rude, missis will send you away, I am sure.""Besides," said Miss Abbot, "God will punish her: He might strike her dead in the midst of her tantrums, and then where would she go? Come, Bessie, we will leave her: I wouldn't have her heart for anything. Say your prayers, Miss Eyre, when you are by yourself; for if you don't repent, something bad might be permitted to come down the chimney and fetch you away."

Bookclub Guide

US1. How does the stormy weather in the opening scene reflect Jane’s state of mind? What do we learn about Jane’s position in the household? Why is the scene of her punishment in the red room so emotional (Chapter II)? How does the narration secure the reader’s sympathy for Jane?2. At the Lowood School, Jane’s most beloved friend is Helen Burns, who with great dignity endures frequent punishment and humiliation by Miss Scatcherd. Jane admires Helen, but realizes that she cannot emulate her (Chapters VII–IX). Why not? What aspect of Jane’s character doesn’t allow her to be as saintly as Helen?3. When Jane takes in the view from the roof of Rochester’s house, she dreams of freedom and travel. Is it significant that this is the place where she first hears a strange and frightening laughter (1:135, 139)? Many readers and critics have sought to understand the connection between Jane and Bertha Mason. Are they similar in their anger toward their perceived and actual imprisonments? Are they similar in other ways?4. In three famous paragraphs beginning “Anybody may blame me who likes . . .” Jane Eyre contains a passionate argument for women’s need for learning, satisfying work, and more freedom than the domestic sphere allowed during the Victorian time period. Read and discuss this passage as it relates to Jane’s character and her life story (1:138–39). Would you consider Jane Eyre a satisfying story from a feminist perspective?5. Jane is taking a walk when she meets Mr. Rochester (1:140–47). What is noteworthy about this first meeting? What is the atmosphere? What is the power dynamic? How does he treat her when they meet back at the house? What is Rochester attracted to in Jane? What is she attracted to in him?6. Why does Rochester deceive Jane by openly courting Blanche Ingram? What motivates him to masquerade as a fortune-teller? Is he too manipulative and self-indulgent to deserve the honest Jane Eyre as his wife?7. At a critical moment in the novel, Jane proclaims herself Rochester’s equal: “It is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both of us had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal—as we are!” Rochester responds, “As we are!” (2:17–18). Why is Jane so passionately outspoken? Is her self-valuation exceptional and true? Is she more noble and impressive here than Rochester is? Why is this long scene (Chapter XXIII) so important for the novel as a whole?8. Reread Rochester’s tale of his marriage to Bertha Mason in Jamaica, noting particularly the terms he uses. How does he characterize his wife? Does his description of his ill luck in marrying Bertha—“a nature the most gross, impure, depraved I ever saw, was associated with mine, and called by the law and by society a part of me” (2:88)—provoke sympathy? Who is responsible for the monstrous person Bertha has become—heredity, her own vice and depravity, fate, or perhaps Rochester himself?9. Jane refuses to go live with Rochester in the south of France as his mistress, choosing instead to lose him forever. Do her reasons have to do with her Christian morality, or with the lack of equality and respect she foresees in such an arrangement? He is older than she, and a member of the landed aristocracy, while she is young, penniless, and has no friends or family in the world. Discuss the complicated chapter in which he tries to explain himself for attempting to lure her into a bigamous marriage, and the scene in which she takes leave of him (Chapter XXVII).10. After Jane lives for some time at Moor House, St. John Rivers discovers her real name and that she is his cousin. She is, in fact, the missing heir of their uncle, who in leaving his fortune to Jane Eyre, has disinherited St. John, Mary, and Diana (2:185–98). At one stroke, Jane becomes a wealthy woman and acquires three beloved cousins (with whom she shares her fortune). How do you respond to such a bold departure in tone from the beginning of the novel?11. St. John Rivers is a stern, ambitious man. He is also extremely handsome—far more handsome than Mr. Rochester. How does Jane feel about St. John? Do you think that as readers, we are meant to like him, to admire him, or to distrust him? Why doe she deny himself a marriage to Rosamond Oliver (2:178–79)?12. Is the theme of Christian salvation in Jane Eyre at odds with Jane’s desire for emancipation and self-realization? Is she submissive or rebellious? How do Jane’s efforts toward self-fulfillment relate to her desire to be good? Why does she end her narrative with St. John Rivers’s prayer, instead of with the conclusion of her own tale?13. Jane is about to yield to St. John’s urging that she marry him and go to India, when she hears a disembodied cry (2:240). How does Jane react to this strange phenomenon, and how is it later explained (2:276–77)? What do you think of Brontë’s decision to use this plot device?14. Jane’s life takes the form of a quest or journey, and with each phase of her life she finds herself in a new place. What would you say the ultimate goal of her quest is? When she ends her story, married to Mr. Rochester and the mother of a young son, is she finally at rest in her true home?15. How do you interpret the tone of Jane’s famous statement, “Reader, I married him” (2:279)? Some readers have long been troubled by what happens to Rochester after Jane leaves Thornfield, and even more so by the fact that his maiming and blinding—his severe diminishment of power and virility and pride—seem to be the harsh conditions necessary for their reunion and marriage. What sort of ending does Brontë offer: a logically and romantically satisfying one, or an obscurely disturbing and punitive one?16. Comparing the Novel and the Movie/Screenplay: • Had you read the novel before seeing the film? If so, how did knowing the story beforehand affect your experience of the film? • The eBook of Jane Eyre includes Moira Buffini’s screenplay forthe new film. After reading the original novel and the screenplay(or having seen the film), can you see why Buffini made thechoices she did? How did she simplify the plot? What changesdid you find most effective? • How do the physical settings (houses, landscapes, etc.) in the film compare with what you had imagined in reading the novel? How would you describe the visual atmosphere that the film brings to the novel? • Have you seen other filmed adaptations of Jane Eyre? What is different in director Cary Fukunaga’s version? Fukunaga has said he loved the 1944 Jane Eyre directed by Robert Stevenson, but “the Orson Welles–Joan Fontaine version was of an era. You wouldn’t make a film like that anymore. I’m a stickler for raw authenticity, so I’ve spent a lot of time rereading the book and trying to feel out what Charlotte Brontë was feeling when she was writing it. That sort of spookiness that plagues the entire story . . . there’s been something like twenty-four adaptations, and it’s very rare that you see those sorts of darker sides.” If you’ve seen the Stevenson’s Jane Eyre, discuss the ways Fukunaga has been influenced by it, and the ways he has created a totally new vision of the novel as well. [To read the entire interview with Fukunaga by Kyle Buckman, please go to movieline.com: “Director Cary Fukunaga on the ‘Darker Sides’ of His Upcoming Jane Eyre” (March 10, 2010).] • Compare the film’s depiction of Bertha Mason (“Antoinetta”) with the descriptions in novel. Note that the film leaves out Bertha’s visit to Jane’s bedroom, and Bertha’s destruction of Jane’s wedding veil. What is the effect of these differences? • How effective do you find the use of flashback in the film, as opposed to the linear chronological plotline of the novel? • Compare the character of Rochester in the novel and the film. How does the film present Rochester? He is not physically maimed in the collapse of Thornfield, and though he is blind, he is not deformed. No mention is made of the child Jane and Rochester later have together, nor of his new spiritual insight. How do these adaptations change the overall impact of the story? • What did you think of the actors’ performances in the film? How did they reshape your impressions of the characters they portray? (For a complete list of available reading group guides, and to sign up for the Reading Group Center e-newsletter, visit www.readinggroupcenter.com.)

Editorial Reviews

"At the end we are steeped through and through with the genius, the vehemence, the indignation of Charlotte Brontë."—Virginia Woolf