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Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre


Among many of the famous classical works in literature is Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. This novel was initially published as an autobiography under the pen-name Currer Bell. The novel follows the young woman Jane Eyre throughout her life in England and touches on themes of religion, social class, gender-relations, and romance. Jane Eyre has been looked on as a work of classic literature and has won positive reception over many, however when initially published, was deemed as an anti-Christian work.

As plot overview, the novel follows Jane who is a young orphan living with her aunt Mrs. Reed. Mrs. Reed is exceedingly difficult to live with as a person, and exerts severe cruelty and disdain for Jane. While her young life was stark and difficult, she found comfort in her aunt’s hired help, Bessie, who gifted her with stories and songs. Soon, Jane is whisked away to school by her aunt when she believes she has seen an apparition of her uncle, who had passed away.

Jane does not immediately find comfort or excitement in her schooling and only befriended one other student, Helen Burns. Helen played as a strong female character in the work who was not afraid to voice discrepancies she had towards the school’s abuse. The headmaster, Mr. Brocklehurst, characterized a cruel, indignant man who traumatized students and abused his position of power. As events would have it, Jane’s friend Helen succumbs to ailment and passes away, leaving Jane alone. Helen was struck with typhus, which proved to be a health epidemic across the school, plaguing many sufferers. Brocklehurst is soon replaced by another headmaster due to negative reception and lack of initiative.

Following Brocklehurt’s depature, Jane finds happiness for the first true time in her life. She remains in the school for several more years, first as a student and then in a teaching position. Jane soon finds life bland and abysmal again, often searching for an unobtainable aspect to life which she is unsure of. She accepts a new position offer at a manor and continues to teach. Her employer, Rochester, unveils himself eventually to be a pivotal character in the novel and in Jane’s life and she becomes enamored by him and eventually falls in love. The relationship is full of questionable exchanges and struggle, but the two eventually marry after a period of several years.

Jane struggles with poverty again in her life in one of her first struggles with Rochester, where she abandons him due to finding out that he was already married. She becomes homeless; sleeping outdoors and scrounging and pleading for food. As the situation becomes bleaker and bleaker, Jane is taken in by three siblings, who she eventually finds out are her cousins. In an act of luck, Jane inherits a considerable fortune from her uncle’s death, and shares the money with her family happily. She then eventually marries Rochester, who inevitably lost his sight and a hand in a house fire.

While the novel itself is a considerable length, the impact it has via social criticism and gender interactions as well as religion and romance is extremely deep. Jane Eyre touches on moral duties, faith, the complexities of social positions, oppression, equality, and true belonging. The book itself is enjoyable, honestly written and creatively expressed. The concepts and insights expressed in the work are universal, making Bronte’s writing exceedingly popular and highly praised.

 

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