Jane Eyre Book Report

By Emily Ott

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre is a famous novel by Charlotte Brontë. This book report will explain several aspects of the novel, such as the main characters, the setting, a brief summary, the turning point, the outcomes, and my recommendation.


The image below is of Charlotte Brontë, the author of Jane Eyre.

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Characters

Jane Eyre is the main character of the novel as well as the narrator. She has a unique personality and is very strong-minded. Although Jane faces discrimination in every phase of her life, she is not afraid to stand up for herself and there is always one character that inspires her to push through. Jane is an orphan and was raised by her mean Aunt Reed. She is very smart and kind and she finally finds a happy life with Edward Rochester.


Edward Rochester plays a vital part in the novel. He is a very mysterious, wealthy man. He is the master of Thornfield, the place where Jane becomes a mistress. Although he is already secretly married, he falls in love with Jane. Because of his marriage, he does not marry Jane until the end of the novel. He is very smart and he always has good intentions.

  • Bertha Mason is Edward Rochester's wife. They were married because Rochester's father wanted to use her for her money even though he knew there could be serious consequences. Edward Rochester was unaware of the fact that Bertha's family had a history of mental disabilities and not long after being wed, she went mad. He kept her locked up in Thornfield and she eventually burned it down, taking her own life as well.
  • Richard Mason is Bertha's brother. He is important because he tells the public that Rochester is already married. This prevents Jane from marrying Rochester until Bertha dies.
  • Adèle Varens is Jane's student at Thornfield. Rochester brought her from France after her mother, Celine, left her. Rochester had an affair with Celine and even though he doesn't believe he is Adèle's father, he cares for her anyway.
  • Blanche Ingram is a woman who hopes to marry Rochester for his money. He does not love her, but Jane feels threatened by their friendship and possible future together.
  • Alice Fairfax is the housekeeper at Thornfield and a friend of Jane's. She tells Jane that the mysterious noises and laughter are Grace Poole. Grace guards the door where Bertha is locked up and Bertha often escapes.


St. John Rivers is Jane's cousin. They become friends not knowing that they are family and he eventually asks for her hand in marriage. He is the opposite of Edward Rochester and Jane is not in love with him. He wants to marry and move to India with her to do mission work. Jane denies him and he goes to India alone. He is not mean, but he is not friendly and compassionate like Rochester. His sisters are Diana and Mary who both become good friends of Jane.


Mrs. Reed is Jane's aunt. Her husband loved Jane very much and he dies he requests that she look after Jane and treat her as one of her own. Mrs. Reed does not obey this request. She is very mean to Jane and sends her off to an orphan school after telling lies about her. Her children are Georgiana, Eliza, and John.

  • Georgiana Reed is cruel to Jane in their childhood, but later confides in her after being betrayed by her sister, Eliza. She is very pretty and eventually befriends Jane.
  • Eliza Reed is very different from her sister. She is not as beautiful but she is very devoted to the church and eventually goes to a covenant in France.
  • John Reed is the cruelest cousin. He not only abused Jane by hurting her feelings but he also physically abused her. His life goes downhill as he gets older and falls into drinking, gambling, and suicide.


Bessie Lee is the first character who treats Jane nice and makes her happy. Bessie is the maid at Gateshead and comforts Jane by telling her stories and singing her songs.


Helen Burns is Jane's childhood friend at the Lowood School. Helen befriends Jane and remains a loyal friend through the harsh conditions at school. Unlike Mr. Broklehurst, Helen believes in loving and accepting everyone. She thinks that God will have the ultimate judgement. Sadly, Helen dies young with her friend, Jane, beside her.


Mr. Broklehurst is the master of the Lowood School. He is harsh, sneaky, and dishonest. His beliefs and values contrast those of Helen Burns, but Jane does not fully accept either form of Christianity.


Mr. Briggs is connected to several characters in the novel. He helps Richard Mason stop the wedding after learning that Rochester is already married to Bertha Mason. Mr. Briggs is also John Eyre's attorney and he presents Jane with her inheritance of 20,000 pounds.

Setting

The novel takes place in the early-mid 19th century and it involves many different locations in England.


  • Gateshead is where Jane grew up and lived with her Aunt Reed. She was miserable and even had to spend some nights in the red room where her Uncle died.
  • Lowood School is Jane's first school experience. It was very harsh school for orphans and Jane was in school for several years as well as teaching after she completed her education.
  • Thornfield is Edward Rochester's place. Jane is a mistress there and she teaches Adèle. It is later burned down by Bertha Mason.
  • Moor House is the home of Jane's long-lost cousins, the Rivers.
  • Ferndean is where Edward Rochester lives after he has been blinded by the fire. Jane discovers him there and they finally get married.




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Summary

Jane Eyre is an orphan and she grows up in Gateshead with her Aunt Reed and cousins Georgiana, Eliza, and John. Her Uncle Reed's request was that she be treated equal with her cousins. Jane does not know what it is like to be treated equal until many years down the road. Her childhood was cruel and unfair under the direction of her Aunt. She was kind and smart and although her Aunt did not care about her, the maid, Bessie, did. Bessie sang Jane songs and cared for her. Jane felt like a burden to her family and was eventually sent to the Lowood School.


Jane was expecting the kind of education that her cousins received, but she soon discovered that it was a school for orphans and her Aunt didn't even have to pay to send her there. Lowood School was run by the very deceitful and harsh Mr. Brocklehurst. While at Lowood, Jane became good friends with Hellen Burns. Helen later died in Jane's arms. After finishing school and teaching and Lowood, Jane was ready for a change. She became a mistress and taught a French child name Adèle, who lived at Thornfield.


Edward Rochester was the master of Thornfield and he and Jane eventually fell in love.


I consider this the turning point of the book because Jane is finally happy. She feels like Thornfield is home, and this is a feeling that she has been longing for all of her life. After recovering from a difficult childhood, she feels like her love for Rochester is too good to be true. She has suffered class and gender discrimination all of her life and now she finally feels good about who she is. Little does she know, her life is once again about to take a drastic change. Even though there are still several dramatic events that take place after this, I believe that there is a mood change and a change in Jane's mind that makes this a significant part of the book.


On their wedding day, Mr. Mason and Mr. Briggs ruin the ceremony by bringing up the surprise that Rochester is already married to Bertha Mason. Jane cannot compromise her principles for love, so she leaves without marrying Rochester.


She becomes friends with St. John, Diana, and Mary Rivers and finds a new job teaching. She also discovers that she is related to the Rivers and that she has inherited 20,000 pounds from her uncle, John Eyre, who just passed away. She then shares her inheritance with her long-lost cousins. St. John asks for her hand in marriage but Jane refuses to marry him because she does not love him, and she never will. He wants to take her to India to be missionaries together, but she turns him down. St. John goes to India alone.


At the end of the novel, Jane returns to Thornfield and finds it in ruins. She discovers that Bertha Mason was finally successful in burning it down and committing suicide. Rochester desperately saved everyone from the fire, but he was unable to save his wife. Because of the accident, he is blind and living in Ferndean. Jane visits him and they rediscover their love for each other. With Bertha dead, they can finally legally marry and they live a happy life together.


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Recommendation

I recommend this book to everyone! It is a wonderful novel. Although it is long, it is well worth the time and struggle. It is a magnificent story and I will probably read it again sometime in the future. It is very well written and I had constant pictures in my head of each situation going on. It has always been very popular, and now I understand why!