The following reviews by COHS students are about “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Reviewer: Robert S.
Jane Eyre, an orphan whose father and mother was killed by typhus, lives in Gateshead at age ten with her aunt Reed, spiteful of her since Jane’s mother married Jane’s father, a priest. Jane lives an unhappy life with Mrs. Reed and her children, and during her experience in staying in the room where the late Mr. Reed lived, she is scared intensely and is seen by a doctor, who recommends that she go to school after she confesses her misery living in Gateshead. She is then sent off to Lowood, an orphan school based on the charity of others. She meets Helen Burns, a passive, Scottish girl who take insults from one of her teachers; Jane befriends her and one of the teachers there, Miss Temple. Later at Lowood, Helen dies of typhus. Later, at age eighteen, Jane has become a teacher at Lowood and wants to adventure out. She becomes a mentor at Thornfield, at the Fairfield residence, where later she falls in love with Edward Rochester, a gentleman “disturbed” by his experiences with his family. They are about to be married when Jane finds that Edward is already married to Bertha Mason, an insane woman who Rochester tried to hide from his life. Jane then leaves Thornfield, poor and starving, to Norton, where she is saved by St. John Rivers, who Jane finds out to be her cousin. After working there as a teacher, Jane is asked to marry him so she can accompany him to India for missionary work, but she refuses. She then returns to Rochester, who is now in Fernandan manor after a fire at his house in Thornfield and marries him secretly, and she is happy and blissful ten years later.
Jane Eyre a slightly slow, yet good tale about love. I recommend checking it out. Although it is an “acquired taste,” the novel is still solid. The characters each have some type of emotional complexity which I find refreshing in a novel. One thing that I thought Bronte could have done more is make the love story more seamless with his socioeconomic analysis of Victorian society in England.
- The author’s purpose in writing the book is the idea of love as well as analyzing English Victorian society.
- The same theme, in better detail, says that love can surpass socioeconomic norms.
- The characters help raise that theme. The character Edward is an example; he is a gentleman who is cast down by his family, and falls in love with Jane, a socially low lady, which goes against the Victorian social standards during the day.
- The book surprisingly on love as a transcending factor, as well as the main issue of social class in Victorian society. Over the course of the novel, Jane is mocked by the aristocratic class because of her position. She is even coldly considered a criminal and based beggar when she arrives in Norton. This issue is solved by her love, and eventual marriage to Edward. Edward, even though he socially surpasses Jane, considers her as his intellectual equal, and their marriage dashes all what Victorian society expects of the two. This helps highlight the issue’s resolution, that social class is not a determining factor, and love can transcend all things.
I just finished this and wow, it was amazing i love the way it was written. it wasn’t a stereotypical love story, it wasn’t written solely around that subject either. despite the time period the book reflects it isn’t difficult to relate. and it feels like it was written solely for the reader, i couldn’t put it down i recommend it to experienced readers and anyone who has an affliction towards historical fiction.
A really fun non-fiction book that deals with the theme of having a mad woman in the attic (and with all that the mad woman represents/symbolizes is “The Madwoman in the Attic : The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-century Literary Imagination” by Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar.
If you are a budding feminist, check it out. It’s at the main library, so have it sent over to COHS.
I read this book in high school and did a report on it for AP English. It is one of my favorite novels of all time!