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A summary of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

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The Plot of Jane Eyre Jane is ten years old when the novel begins. She lives at Gateshead Hall, in the care of her Aunt Reed, with her cousins John, Georgiana and Eliza. Her uncle is dead. She lives at Gateshead because her mother (Mrs Reed's sister-in-law) and father both died of typhus. She feels like an outsider at Gateshead, and is treated badly by the Reed family. John, who is four years older than her, bullies her by throwing a book at her. When Jane retaliates, she is locked in the red room where her uncle died, and which therefore to a young girl seems haunted. She panics, but is not released, and eventually faints. Mr Lloyd, the apothecary (a cross between a pharmacist and a doctor), comes to treat her, and at his recommendation she is sent away to school. Mrs Reed is delighted to be relieved of the burden of her sister-in-law's child. Jane, too, is happy to go. However, Mr Brocklehurst, an intimidating figure who runs the school, is given the impression by Mrs Reed that Jane is a difficult child, so we expect things to be hard for her there. Jane is sent to Lowood Institution - a boarding school for girls who have lost one or both parents. The fee of �15 a year (which Mrs Reed is to pay) is not enough to support the child, and the rest of the money consists of charity donations. The pupils wear basic clothes and are trained to expect a life of work, rather than luxuries. The girls' existence at the school is tough, made worse by the attitude of Mr Brocklehurst, who is reluctant to show them any real kindness. ...read more.


Jane is blissfully happy, but still aware that Mrs Fairfax seems shocked. So she asks Mr Rochester to speak to her the following day. Her congratulations, when they come, seem very subdued, fuelling our suspicions. Jane decides she will not abandon her previous path. She refuses expensive gifts and spends a lot of time with Adele. Mr Rochester is eager to be with her, but allows her to dictate terms in this way in the four weeks leading up to the wedding. Then we hear of a very bizarre episode. Mr Rochester has had to go away. When he returns, Jane describes having been woken by someone in her room. She describes the woman in hideous terms, and explains that her wedding veil was ripped in two, so it could not have been a dream. Mr Rochester encourages her to continue to blame Grace, and insists she shares Adele's room the night before the wedding. The wedding morning arrives. Mr Rochester is possessed by tension and a desire that everything should be done quickly. Even Jane is encouraged to hurry. There are no family present at the wedding. Perhaps for this reason, Jane notices two men, apparently waiting for the ceremony, enter the church before them. When the priest asks if there is any impediment to the marriage, one of the men, Mr Briggs - a lawyer - explains that Rochester is already married to the sister of Mr Mason, who comes forward at this point. Clearly, there can be no marriage. Mr Rochester takes them back to Thornfield to see his wife, Bertha, a dangerous lunatic, and Grace, her keeper. ...read more.


Despite this, he still wishes to persuade her. Jane is on the point of agreeing to marry St John when she believes she hears Mr Rochester calling to her. She leaves to go back to Thornfield the next afternoon (a Tuesday), arriving on Thursday morning. Jane wonders what she will find - whether Mr Rochester will in fact be in England. She is shocked to see the house has been destroyed by fire. She learns from an old man who was butler to Mr Rochester's father that, after she left, he sent Adele to school and gave Mrs Fairfax a pension and sent her away, too. Two months later, Bertha burned the house down. Mr Rochester saved the servants and tried to save Bertha, but she threw herself from the roof. Mr Rochester was badly injured when a beam fell on him, and has been blinded. He is now living at Ferndean. Jane goes to him. At first, he struggles to believe it is her, but finally allows himself to do so. They learn to be together after everything that has happened, and in new circumstances. Jane learns he did indeed call to her and he heard her answer. They feel their reunion is a gift from God, with his blessing. In the final chapter, we move on ten years and learn that Jane and Mr Rochester are married, and have had a son. Both Diana and Mary are happily married, too. Adele has enjoyed a happy time at the school Jane moved her to, and is now a young lady. Mr Rochester has regained some sight in one eye. St John is a missionary, still driven by the hope of bliss in Heaven as reward for his Earthly work. ...read more.

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