Jane Eyre Summary

Charlotte Brontë

Jane Eyre

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Jane Eyre Summary

SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics.  This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.

Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre begins when Jane Eyre is ten years old and living with her maternal uncle’s family, the Reeds. Jane’s aunt, Sarah Reed, dislikes her, treats her as a burden, and encourages her children to be unkind toward Jane. They are abusive to Jane, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Jane is unhappy.

One day, after her cousin, John, knocks her down and she attempts to defend herself, Jane is punished by being locked in the red room, which is where her uncle died; there, she faints from panic after she thinks she has seen his ghost. As a result, of her fainting, Jane is attended to by the apothecary, Mr. Lloyd. Jane shares with Mr. Lloyd that she is very unhappy. Mr. Lloyd suggests to Mrs. Reed that Jane be sent to school, an idea Mrs. Reed happily supports.

Mrs. Reed contacts the harsh Mr. Brocklehurst, director of Lowood Institution, a school for poor and orphaned girls. Mrs. Reed cautions Mr. Brocklehurst that Jane has a “tendency for deceit,” which he interprets as meaning that Jane is a liar. Before Jane leaves, she confronts Mrs. Reed, declaring that she will never call her “aunt” again, and will tell everyone at Lowood how cruel Mrs. Reed is to her.

At Lowood Institution, Jane soon finds that life is harsh. During a school inspection by Mr. Brocklehurst, Jane accidentally breaks her slate, thereby drawing attention to herself. As punishment, Mr. Brocklehurst has her stand on a stool, brands her a liar, and shames her in front of everyone. Jane is later consoled by her friend, Helen. Miss Temple, the kind superintendent, helps Jane by writing to Mr. Lloyd, whose reply supports Jane. Jane is publicly exonerated.

The girls at Lowood are subjected to cold rooms, poor meals, and thin clothing. Many students become ill when a typhus epidemic arises, and Jane’s friend Helen dies in her arms. When Mr. Brocklehurst’s mistreatment of the students is discovered, several benefactors erect a new building and appoint a sympathetic management committee to oversee Mr. Brocklehurst’s harsh rule—conditions at the school improve dramatically.

One night, while Jane is walking to a nearby town, a horseman passes her. The horse slips on ice and throws the rider. Jane helps the man get back on his horse and later learns the man is Edward Rochester, master of the house Thornfield. Mr. Rochester and Jane begin to spend time together, enjoying each other’s company and fall in love. Rumors began percolating that Mr. Rochester will be marrying another woman. When Jane hears this, she professes her feelings to Mr. Rochester. When he is convinced that Jane is in love with him, he proposes to her.

During the wedding ceremony, Mr. Mason and a lawyer declare Mr. Rochester can not marry because he is already married to Mr. Mason’s sister, Bertha. Mr. Rochester admits this but explains that his father tricked him into the marriage for her money. Once they were wed, he discovered she was becoming insane and had her institutionalized.

After the marriage of Mr. Rochester and Jane is broken off, he asks her to go with him to the south of France and live with him as husband and wife even though they can not be married. Jane refuses because that would be against her principles. She leaves Thornfield in the middle of the night.

She travels as far as she can with the little money she has. Exhausted and hungry, she eventually makes her way to the home of Diana and Mary Rivers, where she is turned away by the housekeeper. She collapses on the doorstep when St. John Rivers, Diana and Mary’s brother, a clergyman, saves her. She regains her health and becomes good friends with the sisters. The sisters leave for governess jobs, and St. John then grows close to Jane.

St. John learns Jane’s identity and tells her that her uncle, John Eyre, died and left her his entire fortune of 20,000 pounds. St. John reveals that John Eyre was also his and his sisters’ uncle. They had once hoped for a part of the inheritance but were left almost nothing. Jane, who is delighted to have found loving family members, insists on sharing the money equally with her cousins. In getting to know her, St. John feels Jane would make a good missionary’s wife; he asks her to marry him and to accompany him to India. Jane initially accepts going to India but does not agree to marry him.

Jane mysteriously begins to hear Mr. Rochester’s voice calling her name. She returns to Thornfield to learn that Mr. Rochester’s wife set their house on fire and committed suicide by jumping from the roof. In trying to rescue her, Mr. Rochester lost a hand and his eyesight.

Jane is reunited with him, but he worries that she cannot love him because of his disabilities. She assures him of her love. She tells him that she will never leave him again. They marry, and Mr. Rochester eventually recovers enough eyesight to see their firstborn son.

Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre begins when Jane Eyre is ten years old and living with her maternal uncle’s family, the Reeds. Jane’s aunt, Sarah Reed, dislikes her, treats her as a burden, and encourages her children to be unkind toward Jane. They are abusive to Jane, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Jane is unhappy.

One day, after her cousin, John, knocks her down and she attempts to defend herself, Jane is punished by being locked in the red room, which is where her uncle died; there, she faints from panic after she thinks she has seen his ghost. As a result, of her fainting, Jane is attended to by the apothecary, Mr. Lloyd. Jane shares with Mr. Lloyd that she is very unhappy. Mr. Lloyd suggests to Mrs. Reed that Jane be sent to school, an idea Mrs. Reed happily supports.

Mrs. Reed contacts the harsh Mr. Brocklehurst, director of Lowood Institution, a school for poor and orphaned girls. Mrs. Reed cautions Mr. Brocklehurst that Jane has a “tendency for deceit,” which he interprets as meaning that Jane is a liar. Before Jane leaves, she confronts Mrs. Reed, declaring that she will never call her “aunt” again, and will tell everyone at Lowood how cruel Mrs. Reed is to her.

At Lowood Institution, Jane soon finds that life is harsh. During a school inspection by Mr. Brocklehurst, Jane accidentally breaks her slate, thereby drawing attention to herself. As punishment, Mr. Brocklehurst has her stand on a stool, brands her a liar, and shames her in front of everyone. Jane is later consoled by her friend, Helen. Miss Temple, the kind superintendent, helps Jane by writing to Mr. Lloyd, whose reply supports Jane. Jane is publicly exonerated.

The girls at Lowood are subjected to cold rooms, poor meals, and thin clothing. Many students become ill when a typhus epidemic arises, and Jane’s friend Helen dies in her arms. When Mr. Brocklehurst’s mistreatment of the students is discovered, several benefactors erect a new building and appoint a sympathetic management committee to oversee Mr. Brocklehurst’s harsh rule—conditions at the school improve dramatically.

One night, while Jane is walking to a nearby town, a horseman passes her. The horse slips on ice and throws the rider. Jane helps the man get back on his horse and later learns the man is Edward Rochester, master of the house Thornfield. Mr. Rochester and Jane begin to spend time together, enjoying each other’s company and fall in love. Rumors began percolating that Mr. Rochester will be marrying another woman. When Jane hears this, she professes her feelings to Mr. Rochester. When he is convinced that Jane is in love with him, he proposes to her.

During the wedding ceremony, Mr. Mason and a lawyer declare Mr. Rochester can not marry because he is already married to Mr. Mason’s sister, Bertha. Mr. Rochester admits this but explains that his father tricked him into the marriage for her money. Once they were wed, he discovered she was becoming insane and had her institutionalized.

After the marriage of Mr. Rochester and Jane is broken off, he asks her to go with him to the south of France and live with him as husband and wife even though they can not be married. Jane refuses because that would be against her principles. She leaves Thornfield in the middle of the night.

She travels as far as she can with the little money she has. Exhausted and hungry, she eventually makes her way to the home of Diana and Mary Rivers, where she is turned away by the housekeeper. She collapses on the doorstep when St. John Rivers, Diana and Mary’s brother, a clergyman, saves her. She regains her health and becomes good friends with the sisters. The sisters leave for governess jobs, and St. John then grows close to Jane.

St. John learns Jane’s identity and tells her that her uncle, John Eyre, died and left her his entire fortune of 20,000 pounds. St. John reveals that John Eyre was also his and his sisters’ uncle. They had once hoped for a part of the inheritance but were left almost nothing. Jane, who is delighted to have found loving family members, insists on sharing the money equally with her cousins. In getting to know her, St. John feels Jane would make a good missionary’s wife; he asks her to marry him and to accompany him to India. Jane initially accepts going to India but does not agree to marry him.

Jane mysteriously begins to hear Mr. Rochester’s voice calling her name. She returns to Thornfield to learn that Mr. Rochester’s wife set their house on fire and committed suicide by jumping from the roof. In trying to rescue her, Mr. Rochester lost a hand and his eyesight.

Jane is reunited with him, but he worries that she cannot love him because of his disabilities. She assures him of her love. She tells him that she will never leave him again. They marry, and Mr. Rochester eventually recovers enough eyesight to see their firstborn son.