Charlotte Brontë is an English novelist and author of many works. She is known all over the world for her best love novel called “Jane Eyre. Curiously, the author’s entire family was creative. Her younger sister, Emily Brontë, wrote everyone’s famous “Wuthering Heights,” another sister, Anne Brontë, composed poetry and wrote two books, the only son in the family began as a writer, but later took up drawing. Thanks to his work, we can know exactly what famous novelists looked like, as he often drew portraits of his sisters.
The novel was first published in 1847. At the time, Charlotte Brontë was writing books under the pseudonym Correr Belle. The work was published under the title Jane Eyre: An Autobiography. In Russia, it was published in 1849 in the journal Otechestvennye Zapiski.
Charlotte Brontë once wondered, “Why does it make all the characters in novels unimaginably beautiful and beautiful?” To which her sisters told her that you can’t attract the reader otherwise. The writer contradicted them, saying that she would make her heroine unattractive in appearance, but absolutely fascinating in her intelligence and personal qualities. That is exactly what Jane Eyre became.
The entire plot of the novel is completely real, not a bit made up and only slightly added to. This is a story Mrs. Brontë heard when she was a teacher at Margaret Wooler’s school in Row Head. She was deeply moved by what happened. Rumors abounded about the poor governess who was left in distress with her child, as if she were the wife and at the same time not the wife of a rich man. These facts are described in Elizabeth Gaskell’s Life of Charlotte Brontë, 1857.
Also, the early events of the novel, where Jane ends up in a school with poor conditions, are also not made up. Charlotte Brontë described her life experience as she and her sisters attended a similar place. Two of her sisters died as children because of the terrible conditions at Cowan Bridge School. The prototype for Jane Eyre’s friend, Helen Burns, was the writer’s older sister, Mary Brontë.
The work is written in a combination of genres such as autobiographical and social and psychological novel. The 19th century is characterized by a romantic direction with a mixture of realism. The book is written in the Gothic style, which is also characteristic of English literature in the first half of the 19th century.
The realism in this work is gained through the description of minor characters, their lifestyles, and the class structure in England characteristic of the time. The so-called “background” for the main characters highlights the romantic love story of Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester. Mr. Rochester’s gloomy castle, the terrible mystery lurking within its walls, the distraught wife who pounces on people like a vampire – all this is characteristic of the Gothic style of the work.
Main characters and their characteristics
The main female character: Jane Eyre. She lived in her uncle’s family as a child. He took the girl in after the death of his sister. But he himself died soon after, taking a promise from his wife that she would take care of the girl. Despite the wealth of her uncle’s family, the poor relative lived in deprivation, for Mrs. Reed hated the child, completely indulging her children, who bullied little Miss Eyre. Subsequently, her aunt sends the girl to a school called Lovud. There she spends her entire childhood.
The heroine herself is a very intelligent person who has her own opinion about any issues. And that’s not a bad thing, but her servants and her uncle’s family thought it was bad temper, rebellious and even possessed by an evil spirit. Jane loved spending time with an interesting book, constantly rereading her favorite fairy tales, dreaming of seeing unusual creatures someday. While at school, she still “rebelled” and genuinely didn’t understand why adults acted so horribly. But over time, the girl understood how to behave so that they wouldn’t pick on her. She became calmer, but her temper and mind were still lively and uninfluenced by others. She graduated from high school with honors and later stayed there as a teacher. But the quiet life in Lovuda and the stable ordinariness was not enough for the heroine. She felt with all her heart that she needed something more.
What she had was not the limit of her dreams and possibilities. She needed her freedom. Jane was drawn to drawing, to the world, and the world itself was drawn to her. Though she did not have attractive appearance, her good manners, firm, principled character and interesting mindset attracted people to this wayward person. Jane had a strong personality. Throughout the novel we see the heroine’s potential grow. And in the finale, she lives up to our expectations.
The main male character: Mr. Rochester. A willful, proud, and stern man. He does not tolerate disobedience, but loves intelligent interlocutors who can stand up for their own opinions. Despite his strong character and impenetrable heart, at heart this man suffers and suffers from the inability to be happy. He has a burden of responsibility, which stifles all his impulses of the soul. He is afraid to love, afraid to get attached. But when he falls in love with Jane, another side of him is revealed to readers. His love is passionate, fervent, and as relentless as he is. He is a man of responsibility. He has been cheated, but he has continued, as he promised, to protect his crazy wife. He unselfishly raised his mistress’ daughter without accusing her of anything. He was as interested in the world around him as Jane was. He has traveled to many countries. Mr. Rochester is intelligent and has his own balanced and considered opinions about everything in the world. Over the course of the novel, his deep nature unfolds like a flower. From a cold stare, a stony expression on his face through brief touches to fervent kisses and hugs.
Themes and Issues
The author raises the theme of female independence. Because of love, you should not lose your head and betray your dreams and aspirations. A woman has the right to pursue her goals. A man and feelings for him should not limit her. A lady’s life is not just about raising children and serving her husband. The writer proved her assertions with her own life experience. She made an honest living, bypassing the humiliating fate of a wife of convenience.
The topic of upbringing is also touched upon. Young Jane, despite her loneliness and lack of parents, grew up to be kind and understanding. Whereas her uncle’s children grew up spoiled and completely unpleasant individuals. They had a mother, had a good education, but the family’s indulgence in all their whims, following the same limited mind of their mother, made them so. They have a callous heart and are disgusted with poor people. Despite the abuse, the lack of love, Jane grew up to be a beautiful person. And it is not about outside factors that influenced her, but about herself, her temperament, and her self-education.
The subject of education intersects with the subject of the family and the relationships within it. Of course, this social institution greatly influences the personality, so parents must be fully aware of the responsibility for the future of their children. At the same time, the absence of these sacred ties does not give a person the right to let themselves go and give up on their fate. In memory of lost love, of deceased ancestors, he must grow and develop, despite the vicissitudes of fate.
In addition, the writer touches on the theme of religion. Thus, in the person of the priest, Mr. Brocklehurst, the collective image of the many clergymen who do not possess the true faith is revealed. They are hypocritical and at times oppressively obstinate in their rightness. Also Jane Eyre’s maid, Hannah, considers herself a true Christian, but nevertheless rebukes Jane quite often for her poverty. A true Christian should not do this. Charlotte Brontë did indeed act bravely in showing the English of that century such an image of the priest and the countenance of the faithful. She was herself the daughter of a clergyman. In those days, such an act could have cost a man his freedom; the English were a rarely puritanical society.
The author also reveals the difficulty of choosing a life path. Young Jane realizes that school work is no fun. She is afraid to change something, but nevertheless, passionately desires to break out of the routine. Only the strength of character and the understanding that she can see another life and achieve something big, help her take that very step towards a new future and new discoveries.
And, of course, the theme of love between a man and a woman. Difficulties of recognition, overcoming the difference in social status. The clash of two willful and proud individuals. Life’s obstacles and difficulties in overcoming their own fears. But in the end, love is still love, and everything else ceases to matter.
The Meaning of the book “Jane Eyre”
The main idea of the piece is that a woman should not depend on a man and indulge him. If she feels that she wants to achieve something on her own, she should do so. A woman should strive to be herself even in marriage. Even if she and a man have an unequal position in society, she must maintain her dignity and not allow herself to be enslaved. The path of freedom is thorny, the author does not hide it, an honest livelihood for the lady and now remains a challenge, because many people live in stereotypes from past centuries and not ready to accept the independence of the weaker sex. Even today, this book has not lost its topicality, even today, the reader finds herself in the image of the main character.
The writer also emphasizes that, despite the external unattractiveness and difficult circumstances in life, a woman can succeed if her personal qualities are at their best. This is the main idea of the work. Kindness, intelligence, honesty, bright thoughts and hard work will always be appreciated by such high moral people. It is these, and not the beautiful outer shell, will be able to attract a reliable and loyal life partner. To find him, you need to remain true to yourself and your principles, do not give up. These conditions will also help in self-realization.
After publication, the book received good reviews and love from readers. And also the novel was well described by the meter William Thackeray himself, to whom Charlotte Bronte dedicated her second edition of “Jane Eyre”. The writer had great respect for his work and in some places tried to resemble him in her writing. However, there did begin to be some scathing hints in society that perhaps William Thackeray was a prototype of Mr. Rochester, since the writer’s personal life partly coincided with the grief of the main character in Charlotte Brontë’s novel, his wife being insane. He was also said to have made the writer the prototype for his heroine Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair.
The novel is currently ranked No. 10 on the BBC’s list of the 200 best books. The novel has been adapted many times. Series and movies were made on it. It was also published about three more books by other authors, in which they continued and developed the love story of the main characters. All of this testifies to the greatness of this work by Charlotte Brontë.
Initially, one cannot say that the novel was accepted by absolutely everyone. Still, the writer went against the usual moral rules of the English. The Quarterly Review (1848) published an article by a Miss Rigby, who severely criticized the main character of the novel and reproached her for her rebelliousness and independence of spirit, saying that she was not the least bit grateful for what others had given her.
What Jane Eyre did that could not be understood in the nineteenth century
Struggling to make a change.
It’s true that Jane, an orphan and not even remotely attractive, had an unenviable lot in store for her. The heroine of Brontë’s novel had every chance of spending her life as a teacher in a boarding school, without the slightest hope of personal happiness. But Miss Eyre had no intention of giving up. In spite of the exhortations of those around her, she resolved to leave her dull position and try herself as a governess in a wealthy home.
These days it’s no surprise to find yourself wanting to change your old job for your own future. Each of us at least once in life had to change the company, team or even the scope of activity. But in the XIX century, such a presumptuous girl might well cause bewilderment. It would have been much more logical to find a husband of status or, at least, to provide a permanent job until the end of days. Just think: in order to change the place, Jane had to get not only the consent of the boarding house management, but also her guardian – cruel and squabbling Mrs. Reed. Still, she managed to break free and set out for a different life.
She agreed to marry a man outside her own circle.
The 19th-century romance between a governess and her employer was a plot worthy of only a vaudeville in a provincial theater. Serious feelings between rich and poor were not to be thought of in the past, for wealthy men made alliances with their peers, leaving the attendants as mistresses. Did Jane understand this when she fell in love with Mr. Rochester? Of course she did. Remember how obediently, though not without wistfulness, she accepted that her lover would prefer her to a far more profitable match. For example, he would marry an empty, silly, but well-to-do Blanche. But sincere feelings prevailed, and the sullen Edward confessed his love to Jane, asked her to marry him, and, of course, he accepted.
The modern world is much less strict about this kind of mesalliance. So today the story of Jane and Mr. Rochester does not seem out of place at all. After all, Miss Eyre later acquired a sizeable inheritance, which equalized her with her lover.
Rejected by Prospective Fiancé
After a failed attempt at marriage, Jane had every chance to get her life together. St. John, a parish priest from the town where the protagonist of the novel settled after her escape from the manor, was ready to marry the girl and offer her quite a pleasant existence: to leave the country, to engage in missionary work, to be for each other support and support until the end of days. What could be better, it would seem, by the standards of the time, for an unsuccessful bride in a delicate situation? Yet here, too, Jane was not ready to accept the circumstances. With no feelings for her admirer, she rejected St. John and was prepared to spend the rest of her life alone.
Reluctance to marry for marriage’s sake is considered the norm today. Women prefer to remain free and commit to a relationship only if they are sure of both their partner and their own feelings. As for the nineteenth century, then both in primitive England and far beyond, a successful marriage, even if devoid of strong affection, was the best outcome for a girl. And only the bravest were willing to defend their right to love and freedom to the very end.
Returned to the one who had betrayed her
Perhaps the only act Jane did that English society of the century before last could appreciate was her running away from Mr. Rochester. The dubious story of having an insane wife locked up in the house for years would have left no one indifferent, but the novel’s protagonist solved the problem radically – she immediately left the manor of her frustrated husband. And everything would have been fine if, after a while, Jane had not intended to go back.
What was the feeling that moved the brave girl? Love? Compassion? Longing? Despite her seemingly well-established life, Jane once again snapped out of it. All for the sake of a reunion, or at least just to see the person she loved. How would the people of England of those years view such an act? As a loss of dignity, of course. However, the return to the deceiver, even today, raises many questions. For example, will Jane, in time, take the place of her ex-wife in the locked room? One way or another, the love in the heroine’s heart prevailed over the arguments of reason, making her even more distant from the mores of her time.