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Jane Eyre

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As an orphan, Jane's childhood is full of trouble, but her stubborn independence and sense of self help her to steer through the miseries inflicted by cruel relatives and a brutal school. A position as governess at the Thornfield Hall promises a kind of freedom. But Thornfield is a house full of secrets, its master a passionate, tormented man, and before long Jane faces her greatest struggle in a choice between love and self-respect.

652 pages, Paperback

First published October 16, 1847

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About the author

Charlotte Brontë

1,998 books15.7k followers
Charlotte Brontë was an English novelist, the eldest out of the three famous Brontë sisters whose novels have become standards of English literature. See also Emily Brontë and Anne Brontë.

Charlotte Brontë was born in Thornton, Yorkshire, England, the third of six children, to Patrick Brontë (formerly "Patrick Brunty"), an Irish Anglican clergyman, and his wife, Maria Branwell. In April 1820 the family moved a few miles to Haworth, a remote town on the Yorkshire moors, where Patrick had been appointed Perpetual Curate. This is where the Brontë children would spend most of their lives. Maria Branwell Brontë died from what was thought to be cancer on 15 September 1821, leaving five daughters and a son to the care of her spinster sister Elizabeth Branwell, who moved to Yorkshire to help the family.

In August 1824 Charlotte, along with her sisters Emily, Maria, and Elizabeth, was sent to the Clergy Daughters' School at Cowan Bridge in Lancashire, a new school for the daughters of poor clergyman (which she would describe as Lowood School in Jane Eyre). The school was a horrific experience for the girls and conditions were appalling. They were regularly deprived of food, beaten by teachers and humiliated for the slightest error. The school was unheated and the pupils slept two to a bed for warmth. Seven pupils died in a typhus epidemic that swept the school and all four of the Brontë girls became very ill - Maria and Elizabeth dying of tuberculosis in 1825. Her experiences at the school deeply affected Brontë - her health never recovered and she immortalised the cruel and brutal treatment in her novel, Jane Eyre. Following the tragedy, their father withdrew his daughters from the school.

At home in Haworth Parsonage, Charlotte and the other surviving children — Branwell, Emily, and Anne — continued their ad-hoc education. In 1826 her father returned home with a box of toy soldiers for Branwell. They would prove the catalyst for the sisters' extraordinary creative development as they immediately set to creating lives and characters for the soldiers, inventing a world for them which the siblings called 'Angria'. The siblings became addicted to writing, creating stories, poetry and plays. Brontë later said that the reason for this burst of creativity was that:

'We were wholly dependent on ourselves and each other, on books and study, for the enjoyments and occupations of life. The highest stimulus, as well as the liveliest pleasure we had known from childhood upwards, lay in attempts at literary composition.'

After her father began to suffer from a lung disorder, Charlotte was again sent to school to complete her education at Roe Head school in Mirfield from 1831 to 1832, where she met her lifelong friends and correspondents, Ellen Nussey and Mary Taylor. During this period (1833), she wrote her novella The Green Dwarf under the name of Wellesley. The school was extremely small with only ten pupils meaning the top floor was completely unused and believed to be supposedly haunted by the ghost of a young lady dressed in silk. This story fascinated Brontë and inspired the figure of Mrs Rochester in Jane Eyre.

Brontë left the school after a few years, however she swiftly returned in 1835 to take up a position as a teacher, and used her wages to pay for Emily and Anne to be taught at the school. Teaching did not appeal to Brontë and in 1838 she left Roe Head to become a governess to the Sidgewick family -- partly from a sense of adventure and a desire to see the world, and partly from financial necessity.

Charlotte became pregnant soon after her wedding, but her health declined rapidly and, according to biographer Elizabeth Gaskell, she was attacked by "sensations of perpetual nausea and ever-recurring faintness." She died, with her unborn child, on 31 March 1855.

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5 stars
922,170 (46%)
4 stars
613,883 (30%)
3 stars
307,516 (15%)
2 stars
90,739 (4%)
1 star
49,862 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 58,366 reviews
Profile Image for Nataliya.
744 reviews11.9k followers
March 17, 2023
Yes, I suppose you can view this book mostly as a love story. That's what I did at age 13 - but that's why I was left disappointed back then¹.

Or you can view this as an story of formation of a strong and independent female protagonist, a nineteenth-century feminist, light-years ahead of its time. And that's what left my now-closer-to-thirty-than-twenty self very satisfied and, quite frankly, rather impressed.²

² "I do not think, sir, you have any right to command me, merely because you are older than I, or because you have seen more of the world than I have; your claim to superiority depends on the use you have made of your time and experience."

Sing it, Jane. You tell him, you strong and awesome woman, you!
When I read it for the first time as a young and opinionated teen, I thought Jane Eyre was a boring and meek protagonist, too clingy to her 'outdated' morals, too afraid to do what I thought was a brave thing to do - say 'yes' to the apparent happiness that poor tragic Mr. Rochester was offering. (Oh naive young me, putting way too much stock in Rochester's woes after his , sleeping with everyone in Europe and rejecting them probably because they were not English enough for him!) Wow, was there ever a way to misunderstand a book more than I did this one? Sometimes life experience does matter indeed.

Jane Eyre has a good idea of her self-worth. And she has a good idea about her own morals. And, unlike many in her situation, she sticks to her morals and her idea of what is wrong or right regardless of what outcome is in it for her. Here is the prime example:
"Gentlemen in his station are not accustomed to marry their governesses."
The emphasis in this well-intentioned advice by Mrs. Fairfax is on the word MARRY. Ah, silly old lady, one may think, cautioning the young woman in such a prudish way. Ah, silly young woman, taking the advice of the old lady and acting prudishly. Ah, silly young woman, eventually rejecting the sincere love and offer of happiness for a seemingly prudish reason - not wanting to be a mistress. So old-fashioned and weak and caged-up, screamed my thirteen-year-old self.

But here's the thing. It's not just for the moral lesson for the readers that Bronte has Jane firmly say 'no'. It's not for the sake of mere societal appearance. It's for the sake of Jane, and Jane alone. MARRYING governesses was uncommon. Having them as mistresses - probably not as rare. In her society, protecting her virtue and reputation was not only the matter of religious views or stigma - it was the question of her future, as she had nobody to stand up for her if her reputation was ruined. And it was a question of her integrity - the quality that she maintains through thick and thin, refusing to fall head over heels for love, refusing to let love justify all the mistakes and wrong choices, refusing to let love blind her to everything else that was important for her sense of self-worth.

By refusing Rochester, Jane stays so true to herself without ever betraying herself. Jane refuses to take the steps that would destroy her integrity in her own eyes, and for that she has my strongest and most sincere respect and admiration. What Rochester did is unthinkable to her - not because of how others view it but because of her morals and convictions - and she shows unbelievable courage in sticking up for what she believes in, even if it is to her own material and soul-wrecking detriment. She will not give herself fully to something - or someone - that would destroy her integrity, tarnish her own self. And I love her for this unwavering determination to stay true to herself!
"Reader, I married him" may be one of the most famous phrases from this book (actually, the most famous, come to think of it) - but it is her refusal to marry him in the first place that allows her to keep her integrity and remain true to self, and continue developing into the amazing person she becomes. Jane has too much self-worth to have Rochester until he redeems himself in her eyes, until he repents. That's the point, not the marriage part.
Despite self-proclaimed meekness, Jane Eyre is far from weak or scared. She has been forced to make her own way in life without the luxury of relying on a rich male relative - father, brother, husband. And she did this in the world where being attached to a man was the best choice for a woman (just remember Jane Austen's heroines a few decades earlier reaching happiness only after finding a suitable gentleman!). She is a rebel - setting out to have her own career in a male-dominated world, refusing to let a man rule her life (that applies to both Rochester and St. John here), and making statements that may have not had the most sympathetic audience back in her day:
"Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts, as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, to absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex."
And here's what else I enjoyed about this book - its attempts to subvert the tropes, the same tropes that we still heavily rely on in literature. Bronte gets rid of the 'faultless' heroine - instead of being perfect (or having an imaginary flaw, like many literary heroines are prone to nowadays) Jane has a real one (for her time, at least) - her occasional temper. And she is not beautiful - not fake flaws, either but a consensus by many impartial observers that she is not a beauty. And to take it a step further - Mr. Rochester, our romantic lead, is quite frankly, rather ugly. This is not a beautiful couple (and Hollywood managed to "fix" that in all the movie adaptations, by the way - a slap in Bronte's face, I guess?). Jane is not in love with a pretty façade of Rochester - since he has none (a thing that contemporary writers should learn, by the way - writing love that stems from something else that simple attraction to physical beauty).

And finally, the atmosphere of this story. Oh, the wonderfully gothic atmosphere written so well, with intense moods palpable in every paragraph. So colorful, so vivid, so immersing - every room, every moor, every tree. Every description of landscape or interior actually serves a purpose to establish the mood of the scene, and it is very well-done.
All that said, I'm giving a condescending pat on the shoulder to my teenage self from the 'wisdom' of another fifteen years. Sorry, teen Nataliya, you little annoying know-it-all - you just needed to grow up to appreciate this story. 4.5 stars and high recommendation.
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,113 reviews44.4k followers
April 28, 2020
Reader, I gave it five stars. Please let me tell you why.

Jane Eyre is the quintessential Victorian novel. It literally has everything that was typical of the period, but, unlike other novels, it has all the elements in one story. At the centre is the romance between Jane and Rochester, which is enhanced by gothic elements such as the uncanniness of the doppleganger and the spectre like qualities of Bertha. In addition, it is also a governess novel; these were an incredibly popular type of storytelling in the age and for it to be combined with gothic elements, which are interposed with a dualistic relationship between realism and romance, is really quite unique. The correct term for this is a hybrid, in which no genre voice is dominant; they exist alongside each other creating one rather special book.

And this is so, so, special; it’s an excellent piece of literature. Jane’s journey is gut wrenching and emotional. Through her life she experiences real sorrow, the kind that would make a lesser person give up. She also experiences real friendship, the type that comes across perhaps once in a lifetime. But, most significantly, she experiences true love and the development of independence to form he own ending. I really do love this book. Bronte utilises the first person narrative, which creates a high degree of intimacy with her character; it makes me feel like I know Jane as well as she comes to know her own self.

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”


Jane’s a strong willed individual. From a very young age she had the clarity of intelligence to recognise the injustice that was her life; yes, she is narrating her story retrospectively, though she still had the perceptiveness to realise how mistreated she was. I love the pathetic fallacy Bronte uses at the beginning. The child Jane looks out the window, shielded by the curtain, and witnesses the horrible weather. It is cold and bleak; it is windy and morose; thus, we can immediately see the internal workings of Jane’s mind. The weather reflects her feelings throughout the novel, and at the very beginning the situation was at its worse. This can also be seen with the fire imagery that represents her rage when she is shoved in the red room; it later mirrors that of Bertha’s fury.

Everybody needs love, children especially so. These early experiences help to define her later character, and, ultimately influence how she sees the world; she still hides behind a curtain in Rochester’s house when he flirts with Miss Ingrum. These experiences set her on an almost perpetual quest for love, for belonging and for the independence to make her own decisions. She finds friendship in the form of Helen Burns; she gives her some sound advice, but Jane cannot fully accept such religious fatalism. However, it does inspire her, a little, to continue with life; she realises, no matter what happens, she will always have the love of her greatest friend. Jane clings to this idea, but, ultimately, has to seek a more permanent solution to her loneliness. She needs a vocation, one that will fulfil her and give her life meaning; thus, she becomes a governess and crosses paths with the downtrodden, miserable wretch that is Mr Rochester.


Sometimes I feel like Rochester didn’t know quite what he wanted. When he sees Jane he sees a woman with strength, blunt honesty and integrity: he sees an emotional equal. This attracts her to him, which develops into love. However, when he tries to express his love he does it through trying to claim her as his own. Through doing so, not only does he show the nature of Victorian marriage, he shows his own deep vulnerability. He loves her mind, her intelligence, and he too wants to be loved. He longs for it with a frightening passion. So, instead of doing things the way Jane would have wanted him to do, he overwhelms her with expensive affection. By doing so he almost loses her. All Jane wanted was his heart, nothing more nothing less.

By showering her with such flattery and expensive items, he insults her independence. He risks destroying the thing that attracted him to her in the first place, their equality; their mutual respect and love. He takes away her dignity. I really don’t think the original marriage would have worked. Ignore the existence of the mad woman in the attic; I just think Rochester would have spoilt it. It would have become too awkward. They needed to be on the same societal level as well as one of intellect and character. The ending is touching and a little sad, but it is the only one that could ever have worked for these two characters. Without the tragedy there could never have be rejuvenation and the chance for them to be together on equal terms, no matter what it cost to get there.



If that wasn’t enough reason for me to love this book, there are also elements of fantasy and desire. This is a realism novel, it pertains to credible events, but the suggestions of fantasy only add to the strong romantic notions. Rochester is enamoured by Jane; he cannot believe that a woman like her actually exists. All his misguided notions are brushed away in an instant. Whilst he views Jane as special, it is clear that he realises that other women may also have a similar rebellious voice, only hidden. He considers her an elf, a witch, an improbable woman that has captured his desire, his heart, his soul, his life. He knows he will never be the same again. From Jane’s point of view, her first encounter with him is otherworldly. She had grown bored with her governess role, and when she sees the approach of Rochester and his dog Pilot, she sees the gytrash myth; she wants to see something fantastical instead she finds her heart, which is something much rarer.

Then there are also the feminist elements. Jane transgresses the boundary associated with her gender in the Victorian age. For a woman to be recognised as having equal intellect to that of a man was sadly a rare thing. Women could actually attend university, but the downside was they could never get the full degree. They could spend months studying, though never be recognised as actually having gained the qualification. It was just another attempt to keep women under the thumb, so for Bronte to portray the truth of Jane’s equal intellect is a great step for the recognition of women, and women writers. This book received a whole host of negative reviews at the time of its publication for this element alone. Stupid really, but that’s misogyny for you.

Reader, I love this book. I really could go on, but this is getting kind of long. I hope I’ve made it clear why I love this story so much. I shall be reading this again later this year to correspond with my exams, which I’m already looking forward to- the reading that is, not the exams. I don’t think will ever have read this story enough though.


You can connect with me on social media via My Linktree.
Profile Image for emma.
1,825 reviews48.4k followers
September 14, 2022
I am a very pretentious person.


I try to seem “hip” and “cool” and “relatable” and “down with the teens” - and of course I totally am all of those things - but also I have my tendencies toward pretension. It’s who I am. Just last night I shuddered at the idea of popular music, like some kind of eight-hundred-year-old gremlin.

I am not proud of this side of me, but it’s who I am. And also it is important background information for you, dear Reader, going into this review. (That direct address to you as an audience member was me emulating this book, not an example of my pretension. Or was it???)

Anyway. It’s important that you know my capacity to be pretentious so that I can make this statement:

I don’t get how any reader can say they don’t like classics.

Oof. A doozy, right? Aren’t you glad I warned you? Now you know that that wasn’t just a one-off of self-serious condescension but rather a pattern of my personality and oh sh*t actually my explanation probably made the whole thing a million times worse. Now I’ve painted my insufferability as consistent.

Come back, everyone!!!! Let me explain!

What I need to explain is that this book is excellent, and also a classic. It is very very old but sometimes old stuff is still worth it! (I should know. I have the mannerisms of the type of grumpy old man that gets endearingly profiled in Scandinavian bestsellers.)

This is not the classic I would recommend that someone start with if they’re looking to get into the genre. It is very, very slow, and very wordy, and the language takes some settling in. But also this book is a literal gem.

It was published in 19th century England, which is no one’s idea of Progressive Central. But this book is jarringly feminist when the constraints it (and Jane) were working in are taken into account. Jane is an independent woman, and this book from eighteen freakin’ forty-seven tells her story.

Now, I love Jane Austen books as much as the next girl (if the next girl is pretty damn obsessed with Jane Austen), but that’s something not even all her books can say.

Here’s the thing about this book: I love nineteenth century fiction (or what I’ve read of it), but even if you didn’t you’d probably love this book. So much of this is unique, by the standards of then but also even the standards of today. It’s a romance, yes, which: extremely normal. But it’s a romance between two characters who are not conventionally beautiful, which is unbelievably rare.

It’s also not a romance that acts as basically the sole option for its female character. I love Pride & Prejudice, and I of course think Lizzie Bennet is a feminist (and awesome) character, but there’s no way for that book to end, really, that doesn’t include marriage for her. Three of the five Bennet sisters get married over the course of that book. It’s either that or old maid status, baby.

But not lil Jane Eyre. She does not allow marriage to be the only prospect for her!! She goes away and makes a life for herself and then decides whether she wants to follow that path. We don’t even see that in every 21st century romance.

Plus, Jane is an excellent character, and of a type we RARELY see. She’s serious and upstanding and smart and moral. She has a strong mind and she doesn’t shy away from that. She lacks the requisite features of today’s female subjects of romance: the quirkiness or the humor or the adorkable way she trips and falls/spills coffee/etc. She also lacks the nineteenth-century version of a lot of those traits. And it is so goddamn refreshing I can’t even tell you.

And on top of all that, the language in this book is so gorgeous I want the whole manuscript tattooed on me.

Which would be wild, because this is about a million pages long. And speaking of, yes, it is very slow and hard to get into and basically you have to adjust to a whole new reading experience. So I wouldn’t recommend starting off your nineteenth century fiction binge with this book.

But I would recommend getting into nineteenth century fiction solely for the purpose of reading this book.



hey um...i love this book so stupid much???

if you've got a free few hours over the course of the next few months i HIGHLY recommend rereading this book at a snail's pace. worked out for me very well.

i should probably shout about my adoration of this book for several pages so. full review 2 come
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews155k followers
June 10, 2021
Old books get a bad rap...but do they deserve it? Check out my latest BooktTube Video - all about the fabulous (and not so fabulous) Olde Bois.

The Written Review
"Though you have a man's vigorous brain, you have a woman's heart and--it would not do."

"It would do," I affirmed with some disdain, "perfectly well.
Oh Jane, you wondrously bold and beautiful gal.

After she was orphaned, Jane Eyre was sent to live with her maternal uncle and his wife (Mrs. Reed). When her uncle dies, he forces his wife to swear to love, nurture and care for Jane as if she was their own child.

Unsurprisingly, Mrs. Reed is not pleased in the least with this arrangement and does the absolute bare minimum towards Jane. She spoils her three biological children but sees Jane as a wicked, conniving and devilish child (despite ample evidence against).
I know that had I been a sanguine, brilliant, careless, exacting, handsome, romping child—though equally dependent and friendless—Mrs. Reed would have endured my presence more complacently; her children would have entertained for me more of the cordiality of fellow-feeling
Jane is sent off to boarding school where life is harsher than before (threadbare clothes, small rations) but she prefers it for she has finally found what she's been missing.
There is no happiness like that of being loved by your fellow creatures, and feeling that your presence is an addition to their comfort.
At the end of her time there, she sets off to be a governess. She takes a job for a Mr. Rochester and tutors his young ward, Adel.

Only, when she arrives at the house, she starts to notice certain things. The servants know something is up and won't tell her. Mr. Rochester is hiding a huge mystery and despite the danger, and the difference in social standing, Jane Eyre is falling ever faster in love.

An absolutely stunning book.

This is my third time through, and each time I am blown away by Jane's strength of character. With every twist life hurled at her, Jane merely straightened her shoulders, adjusted her pack and trudged on.

Each time I read this novel, I notice something different. This time, it was how much Charlotte Bronte slipped her own beliefs into the novel:
Precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings...It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.
It made for a truly eye-opening reread

The ABC Reading Challenge - J

Audiobook Comments
Read by Nadia May. I may be the only one with this - but whenever I read a really old novel, I find it much easier to listen to (opposed to reading a copy). I spend less time puzzling out the language and unfamiliar terms and more time enjoying the story. I highly recommend listening to this book if you've tried reading it and just couldn't get into it.

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for Vinaya.
185 reviews2,078 followers
May 9, 2017
5. Four hundred-odd pages of purely descriptive writing
4. Overt religious themes and moral preaching
3. A plain-Jane heroine who stays plain. No makeovers to reveal a hitherto hidden prettiness that only needed an application of hydrogen peroxide and some eyebrow plucking to emerge full-blown.
2. The world is not well-lost for love. In the war between self-respect and grand passion, principles win hands down. Rousing, yet tender speeches do not make our heroine forsake her creed to fall swooning and submissive into her alpha's arms.
1. NO SEX!!!

When I was a little girl, I had a doll named Saloni. Now Saloni wasn't a particularly attractive specimen as dolls go, especially since, over the years, I had drilled a hole in her little rosebud mouth in order to 'feed' her, I had 'brushed' her hair till all the poor synthetic threads had fallen out and I had dragged her around with me so much, one of her big blue eyes had fallen off. But in my eyes, Saloni was the best doll ever created. She was my comfort, my mainstay in a world filled with confusing new things like school and daycare and other little people. Jane Eyre is my grown-up version of Saloni. Comfort food for my brain.

There are two authors I will read over and over and over again, until the day I die. One of them is Charlotte Bronte, the other one is Georgette Heyer. I have read Jane Eyre a million times, but I never tire of the story. Every time I reach the scene where she professes her love to Mr. Rochester, I come out in goosebumps. Every single time. Age and experience have taught me to spot the flaws in the story and the characters. The ineffable belief in English superiority. The condescending attitude towards servants and people of the lower class. The ill-treatment of mentally disabled people. The almost Quaker-ish sentiments of Jane Eyre. But all of this detracts not a whit from one of the greatest love stories ever told.

And there are a lot of things to admire in this book as well. Edward Rochester, ugly as sin, but powerful and dominant and unbelievably attractive in spite of his looks. A love that grows and strengthens on the basis of mutual sympathy, respect and a meeting of the minds, that a lot of our authors would do well to learn from. Jane Eyre, who does not think that her great love excuses acts of selfishness and immorality. Despite being drawn as a somewhat submissive personality, Jane manages to hold her own with quiet fortitude, never loudly asserting her intelligence or talent, but nonetheless displaying a strength of character that would put the Bellas and Noras of out time to shame.

Jane Eyre would never, as I have said above, be a bestseller if it had been written in our times. And that is a loss we must take upon ourselves. That we have put such prime value on lust and looks and power that we have forgotten to be real in our writing. There is a reason why millions of people the world over remember and revere a book written a hundred and fifty-odd years ago while the bestsellers of our times slip quickly and quietly from our memories. Jane Eyre is more than just a beautiful book about a love story that transcends all boundaries; it is a testament to the power of pure emotion, that can be felt through the ages and across all barriers of time and culture.
Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
531 reviews58.6k followers
January 4, 2020
I feel like an ass saying this but... who actually thinks this is a cute romance!? What the actual f!!

Now that this is out of the way.

I did like Jane as a character and I also liked the portion of the book about her childhood but the two RoMaNcEs were train wrecks and if I hear anyone say they love M. Rochester I will forever judge you.

Pride and Prejudice > Jane Eyre

There I said it.
Profile Image for Cristin.
105 reviews205 followers
December 4, 2013
I could bang Mr. Rochester like a screen door 'till next Tuesday. That's not all I got from this book, honestly...
Profile Image for Jeffrey Keeten.
Author 3 books248k followers
February 4, 2020
“‘Jane, be still; don't struggle so like a wild, frantic bird, that is rending its own plumage in its desperation.’

‘I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being, with an independent will; which I now exert to leave you.’”

I am glad that in 1847 Charlotte Bronte made the decision to publish her novel under a male pseudonym. Currer Bell had a much better chance of being published than Charlotte Bronte and, with reviewers and readers assuming that she was in fact a male writer, allowed the novel a chance to be weighed properly without prejudice. Jane Eyre became a bestseller. The question is, of course, would the novel have been so successful or even published at all if CHARLOTTE BRONTE had been emblazoned on the cover? I like to think that some editor would have realized the bloody brilliance of the story and would have published it anyway, even if they didn’t spend any money on promoting it. Would readers have bought it? Hopefully, word would have trickled out about how compelling the plot was, and people would have overcome their natural prejudice for reading a novel by a woman.

So isn’t it fun that Charlotte tricked everyone, including her own father? She did not confess her efforts to him until she had become successful. Even writing these words, I have a smile on my face thinking of this successful bamboozlement of publishers, editors, and readers.

The story, of course, is larger than the book. Most people with any kind of inquisitive nature have been exposed to the bare bones of this novel without ever reading the book. Maybe they watched a movie based on the book, or maybe they have heard it referenced. Once read, it is impossible for people not to use aspects of this novel as common reference points for other readers.

Take Mr. Edward Fairfax Rochester himself, the master of Thornfield Hall. He is a brooding, complicated, dark, and intelligent creature. He is a force of nature who conforms the world around him with every stride he takes or every word that drops from his lips. He is the embodiment of the Lord Byron character. It doesn’t matter that he is not handsome. He is powerful. Women swoon in his presence and, after a carefully administered smelling salt, might start calculating what he is worth a year.

Rochester is completely taken by Jane Eyre, practically from the moment they meet. The drama of their meeting is one of those great cinematic scenes in the history of literature. Bronte incorporates many scenes into the novel that are, frankly, gifts to future movie renditions. Rochester has never met anyone quite like her. He is not alone. Everyone who comes into contact with Jane Eyre knows they have met a unique person. She is a kind and pleasant person, but she will not brook any discriminations against her character.

Mrs. Reed (her aunt), Mr. Brocklehurst (director of Lowood School attended by Jane), Mr. St John Eyre Rivers (minister who asks to marry her), and even Mr. Rochester, all attempt to conform Jane to the acceptable, deferring Victorian woman of the time. To call this a feminist novel does put it in a box which constrains it too tightly. Jane or Charlotte, either one, would loosen those bindings and let it breath as Charlotte’s intentions with this novel go well beyond the confines of any specific genre. I found her ideas of female equality, embodied so wonderfully in the character of Jane, inspiring. ”Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their effort, as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer, and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.”

I hear you, Charlotte.

Can you imagine the impact of such words on your typical, Victorian housewife? A woman who has lived her whole life being the daughter of her father, the wife of her husband, the mother of her sons. She has been passed from the care of one man after another. If she were fortunate enough to be born pretty, she has that brief moment of power when suiters contend for her hand, but probably, ultimately, her father would decide who was best for her to marry. How about the impact of reading this novel on the typical, Victorian man? Did he look up from this book and peer over at his wife, she looking rosy in the firelight, knitting away at some frivolous thing, and think...does she want more? Or maybe he sees his pretty daughter enter the room on the verge of womanhood, and does he consider the possibility that she wants or deserves more?

There is no spark of revolution inspired by this book, but I do hope that this book may have chipped away at some of the archaic ideas of inequality. Maybe a few women readers realized that some of those secret desires they have harbored their whole life were not such strange concepts. When Jane stands up to the conformists she encounters, she is willing to take the punishment because she knows in her soul that what she believes about herself is incontestable.

This is no better illustrated than in her interactions with (I’m sorry to say this because it isn’t completely fair) the odious St. John Eyre Rivers. He wants to marry her but only for the sake that he believes she will make a wonderful, useful, missionary wife. He doesn’t love her. She is willing to go, but only as a “sister,” not as a wife. Jane refuses to compromise, but there is this moment where she is teetering in the balance. I’m mentally screaming to her at this point. ”I shuddered as he spoke: I felt his influence in my marrow--his hold on my limbs.” He is a cold man who would have gladly marched OUR Jane off to some godforsaken part of the world to die some horrible death from disease or from simple neglect.

I know the plot; and yet, I’m still completely invested in every scene. There is always the possibility that I’ve fallen into an alternative universe and I am reading some other version of Jane Eyre with a completely different ending. I can assure everyone this did not happen.

When Jane is residing with Mrs. Read, she describes her place to sleep as a “small closet.” I can’t help but think of the closet under the stairs at 4 Privet Drive. Like Harry Potter, she is also an orphan but still with a rebellious streak because she is also sure that she is supposed to be someone other than who she is currently perceived to be. The relief she experiences when she learns she is getting away from the condescending attitude of the Read house and going away to school at Lowood also reminds me of Harry’s relief to discover he, too, is escaping to Hogwarts. Though I must say Harry, despite the trials and tribulations he experiences, draws a better straw than Miss Jane.

I really enjoyed the gothic elements; those were, to a degree, completely unexpected. ”’Oh sir, I never saw a face like it! It was a discoloured face--it was a savage face. I wish I could forget the roll of the red eyes and the fearful blackened inflation of the lineaments!’

‘Ghost are usually pale, Jane.’

‘This, sir, was purple: the lips were swelled and dark; the brow furrowed: the black eyebrows widely raised over the bloodshot eyes. Shall I tell you of what it reminded me?’

‘You may.’

‘Of the foul German spectre--the Vampyre.’”

There are noises in the night at Thornfield Hall. There is an unknown tenant locked away in the rafters of the house. There are secrets. There are unexpected fires. There are scandals waiting to be known. In fact, the twists of the plot were considered so outrageous for the time that the book acquired a reputation for being “improper.” This helped to boost sales further.

The Bronte family was very close. They grew up conceiving their own stories and fantasies and acting them out in impromptu plays. All three girls and the brother, Branwell, were writers. Tragically, they all died young. Charlotte outlived them all, dying in 1855 at the age of 38 with her unborn child. Branwell (31) and Emily (30) both passed away in 1848, and Anne died the following year at the age of 29. Can you imagine having to bury all your siblings? It must have felt like the spectre of death was stalking the Brontes.

What makes Rochester unique is that he does eventually see Jane the way she sees herself. ”Fair as a lily, and not only the pride of his life, but the desire of his eyes.” I will remember that line ”desire of his eyes” for a long time. She is a hidden gem in rooms full of people. Charlotte Bronte makes some good points through Jane’s eyes at how unaware wealthy people are of the true natures of those who serve them.

I would talk about the love story, but what is there to say. It is one for the ages. I would say that Charlotte Bronte never found her Rochester in real life, but some letters have come to light, written to a man named Constantin Héger, that suggests that maybe she did. He was married to someone else, and when Elizabeth Gaskell wrote the biography of her friend, she carefully edited out those very revealing letters of a love that could never be.

Jane Eyre, may you always find the readers you deserve.

If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com
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Profile Image for Ilse.
456 reviews2,956 followers
March 6, 2020
The kind of novel that makes one believe in love (again) - or at least desire to hold on to the illusion.

Likely my favourite read for 2020.

For the time being, just basking and swooning.



I know it's out of fashion
And a trifle uncool
But I can't help it
I'm a romantic fool
February 22, 2023
If there is such a thing as the perfect book. For me ‘Jane Eyre’ would define it.

5 ✨ brooding, uncompromising, passionate, but tormenting stars, for my favourite book of all time. I love this book for the way it depicts the strength of the human spirit, the importance of being yourself, the rights of women, and the explicit yet beautiful way the story is told. Dramatic, uninhibited, and evocative.

Jane Eyre is best known or described as a ‘gothic love story’ but for me it is so much more. It is an emotional life story that contrasts the extremities of love and hate, where the principled and incorruptible mind battles the unscrupulous and most brutal of beasts and rules. Jane Eyre is an unapologetic feminist story, like no other. It is an emotional story where one woman’s soul was forever tormented by the people she tried to love and cursed by those who did not deserve to own nor judge her. However, the standout is the rawness in which the author expresses Jane’s feelings of love, hurt, and anguish, and the many themes it embraces particularly for its time.

A burning question is ‘why do I love this book so much?’ The storyline? the love story? the many themes it embraces? or is it Jane Eyre, the character I love the most? All will be revealed, but first the plot.

The Plot

The story begins with Jane, orphaned after the death of her parents and further isolated when her uncle dies leaving her in the hands of his heartless family. After an unpleasant and bloody exchange with her cousin, and then aunt, Jane is sent to Lowood. A charitable but educational institution.

It is at this point in the book that we get an early insight into the character of the 10-year-old Jane, her principles and unwavering determination to speak up for what is right and just, when she admonishes her aunt

“I am not deceitful: if I were, I should say I loved you; but I declare I do not love you: I dislike you the worst of anybody in the world except John Reed….. “How dare I, Mrs. Reed? How dare I? Because it is the truth. You think I have no feelings, and that I can do without one bit of love or kindness; but I cannot live so: and you have no pity…. you are bad, hard-hearted. You are deceitful!”.

Jane’s early battle with life’s cruel reality was to continue with the death of a beautiful and kind pupil Helen, but her resolve saw her through 8 years at Lowood at which point and now educated, she applies to Thornfield Hall for the position of governess. The home that is to become hers after falling in love with its master, Edward Rochester. Yet lady fate was to have her day again when Jane discovers in the most humiliating wedding scene that Rochester’s wife still lives, but insane.

After one of the most touching exchanges between these two very different lovers. The characters of Jane and Rochester are laid bare; their passions, principles, and virtues are exposed for us to savour and appraise. He a brooding and selfish man asks Jane to live on as his mistress, while Jane’s honour prevents her from embracing such an immoral life, which would be contrary to her principles. She wants more for herself, not driven by ambition but by virtue and the right to think and love freely.

Fleeing Thornfield Hall, Jane finds solace in the sequestered Moor home, with St John and his sisters. St John, a devoutly religious man also seeks Jane’s affections and help as a missionary, but not love. Once again we hear the painful and agonising words from Jane, that can only but leave an imprint on the mind and the heart of the reader…

“Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you — and full as much heart”

And yes, she does. Jane Eyre is one of the most fascinating characters in fictional history, and if you don’t love the book, you will at least love this character.

Review and Comments

This is my sixth time reading Jane Eyre (although twice at school) and every time I read it, I get something different from the story. However, this is the first time reviewing and the first time I have challenged myself to explaining why this story means so much to me, apart from it being the first classic book I ever fell in love with, which will always have its rightful place in my book history. No film adaption has done it justice and no words that I write can capture the beauty that lies within these pages. Of course, I can write words, so inspiring is this book, but cannot express how I truly feel with this book the way Charlotte Bronte can write with such rawness. I also need to restrict myself to covering the key themes and elements otherwise I would be writing a book about a book. So first up is the character development.

‘Jane Eyre’ sets the bar in character development and is one of the best I have ever read for this. There is nothing left to the imagination and the explicit way emotions and feelings are portrayed is remarkable, sentimental but also appropriate. The character traits of the two key male characters, Rochester and St John are evocative and ignite frustration and even slight anger in the reader. One man would turn his back on the laws of God and society for the love of the young Jane, whilst the other obsessive and devout has expectations of self-sacrifice for God, his own vanity and ambition.

Whilst different, both men possess the same unwavering sense of entitlement, and lack humility and understanding when they offer Jane a life contrary to her beliefs, honour, and feelings. St John says to her

“… you are formed for labour, not for love. A missionary’s wife you must—shall be. You shall be mine: I claim you—not for my pleasure, but for my Sovereign’s service.”

While Rochester’s disregard of what Jane represents is equally as distasteful, he does draw sympathy from the reader because there are displays of kindness towards others and his love for Jane is unquestionable if not selfish. Once again it is Jane’s response that ignited a wave of emotions in me

“Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour”

Feminism, Religion, and Class are constant themes through the novel where the eponymous Jane tells her own story. If you consider the period in which this book was written; the content and storyline, the uninhibited expressions of love and anger as well as the uncensored view of feminism, then you can begin to appreciate just how incredibly provocative this book might have been. On many occasions, Jane describes herself as someone’s ‘equal’ not to be caged in a social class nor defined by society’s expectation of the role of women. It is this freedom of expression, independence of mind, and moral commitment that consumed me so much in this story.

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”

At this point I reveal that the reason I love this book so much is because of Jane Eyre’s character. It is the most extraordinary story about an ordinary young woman, although a heroine in my eyes. A woman guided by honour, influenced, and dedicated but not cosseted by religion. An independent woman who is highly principled and determined yet loving and generous, and passionate but not vindicative. A young woman who wants to live, love, and think freely, and in that lies the beauty of this book. How groundbreaking, daring, and courageous from the incredibly gifted Charlotte Bronte.

Second to that is the uninhibited depiction of the characters, their emotions, and the inner battles they must conquer in the face of temptation. All of this of course is brought to life with Bronte's perfectly chosen words, vivid descriptions and unbridled but elegant prose. There is such a rawness to the writing, although some would say overly dramatic but for me it is another beautiful and remarkable aspect to this book, because it works.

Jane Eyre is a book that is bold for the way it inspires feminism, courageous in the way it challenges the accepted norms of society and religion but is also respectful. There is beauty in the storytelling, sincerity in these righteous but flawed characters, and artistry in the way the themes have been woven into the story – an epic masterpiece in literature.

“I have for the first time found what I can truly love—I have found you. You are my sympathy—my better self— my good angel.” Says Rochester.

And my GR friends, I too have found (in books) what I truly love, and it is this timeless classic that is likely to remain as my #1 book of all time, for all time. In the dawn of a new year in books, what better way to have started my new reading year than with Jane Eyre, the principled, loving feminist, and her story.


I just finished 'Wide Sargasso Sea' by Jean Rhys, a prequel or retelling of sorts that I would highly recommend for readers and lovers of Jane Eyre. It is an accompaniment to Jane Eyre and provides some context to the events leading up to and the marriage of Bertha to Rochester, which Jane Eyre does not explore in any depth. Haunting, vividly depicted and a lens on Bertha that is somewhat different to the image created by Rochester. Fabulous.
Profile Image for Cecily.
1,118 reviews3,970 followers
May 27, 2020
Child neglect, near death, a dash of magical realism, the power of love, the powerlessness of the poor, sexual rivalry, mystery, madness and more. It is as powerful as ever - but is it really a love story, given Rochester's Svengali-tendencies, or is it a life story? His downfall and her inheritance make them more equal, but is it really love on his part? I'm not sure, which is what makes it such a good book (just not necessarily a love story). I also like the tension between it being very Victorian in some obvious ways, and yet controversially modern in others: an immoral hero, a fiercely independent and assertive heroine, and some very unpleasant Christians (it's not that I think Christians are bad or like seeing them portrayed in a nasty way - it's Bronte's courage in writing such characters I admire).


About the first quarter of the book concerns the tremendous hardship and abuse that Jane suffers growing up. It's often heavily cut from film, TV and stage adaptations, but despite the fluff about this being a great love story, I think there is merit in paying attention to her formative years as an essential element of explaining what makes Jane the person she becomes.

The Red Room, where young Jane is banished shortly before being sent to Lowood, is a very short episode in the book, but its significance is probably greater than its brevity implies. The trauma of the Red Room is not just because Mr Reed died there, but because of the associations of red = blood = death, compounded by cold, silence, blinds that are always closed and a bed like a sacrificial altar. Is it also some sort of reference to Bertha's attic?

Jane endures dreadful hardships: she is orphaned; her aunt says she is "less than a servant, for you do nothing for your keep" and invokes the wrath of God who "might strike her dead in the midst of one of her tantrums"; she endures injustice as she strives to be good, but is always condemned, while the faults of her cousins are indulged or ignored. So, she is sent to Lowood, where she sees the hypocritical tyranny of Brocklehurst, survives cold and near starvation and witnesses her best friend's death. Nevertheless, "I would not have exchanged Lowood with all its privations for Gateshead and its daily luxuries." There is a dreadful irony in the fact that the first time a relative demonstrates any interest in her (John Eyre), it seems to ruin everything.

Villains and Christianity

Who is the worst villain: John Reed, Aunt Reed, Mr Brocklehurst, Blanche Ingram, St John Rivers or even Rochester?

Christianity gets a very mixed press in the book: Mr Brocklehurst is cruel and comically hypocritical (curly hair is evil vanity in poor girls, who "must not conform to nature", but fine for his pampered daughters); St John Rivers thinks his devoutness selfless, but is actually cold and selfish (his motive being to gain glory in Heaven for himself); Helen Burns is a redemptive Christ figure who accepts her punishments as deserved, helps Jane tame herself ("Helen had calmed me") and, of course, dies.

Jane's own beliefs (or lack) are always somewhat vague (though she's very moral) and controversially feisty. When, as a small girl, the nasty Brocklehurst asks her what she should do to avoid going to Hell, she replies, "I must keep in good health, and not die"!

Aspects the way Christianity is portrayed may make it more accessible to modern readers from more secular backgrounds, but might have been shocking to devout Victorians. Perhaps they were placated by the fact that despite the cruelty, Jane forgives Aunt Reed for trying to improve her errant niece, even though "it was in her nature to wound me cruelly".

Male Power, Feminism, and Relevance Today

Men had most of the power and respect in Bronte's time and often Jane has to go along with that. However, Bronte does subvert that to some extent by making Jane so assertive, determined and independent.

The story of Jane Eyre has parallels with the story of Bluebeard, albeit with a very different ending, in which the woman takes charge of her own destiny. Bluebeard was well-known in Victorian fables as a rich and swarthy man who locked discarded wives in an attic (though he killed them first). He took a new young wife and when she discovered her predecessors, he was about to kill her, but she was rescued by her brothers, rather as Mason wants to rescue Bertha. Jane even likens an attic corridor to one in "some Bluebeard's castle", so Bronte clearly knew the story and assumed he readers did too. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluebear....

Despite her minimal contact with men, right from the outset Jane instinctively knows how to respond to the man she describes as "changeful and abrupt". When they first meet in the house and he is quizzing her, she consciously mirrors his tone ("I, speaking as seriously as he had done") and "His changes of mood did not offend me because I saw I had nothing to do with their alteration". Like many bullies, he enjoys a bit of a fight, rather than the nervous, prompt and unquestioning obedience his manner normally elicits, and Jane isn't afraid to answer him back and speak her mind. It isn't long before she can say "I knew the pleasure of vexing him and soothing him by turns". When Blanche arrives, Jane realises "he had not given her his love" and that "she could not charm him" (as she could). At this point, she realises her self-delusions in overlooking his faults and merely considering them as "keen condiments".

What should modern women make of this book? Bronte is radical in that neither Jane nor Rochester is conventionally attractive (it is personality that matters) and Jane is fiercely independent and assertive, even when she gives the impression of being submissive. She even says, "Women are supposed to feel very calm, generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint... precisely as men would suffer." On the other hand, Rochester's treatment of Jane, Bertha, Blanche and Céline is hard to justify (other than the fact he keeps Bertha alive - why not kill her?). Does disappointment and disability truly changed him, and does that, coupled with her independent wealth make them equals? Will they live happily ever after?


What were Rochester's plans and motives for his relationship with Jane? Why does he insist that Jane appears in the drawing room every evening while Blanche and friends are staying, even though he fully understands and comments on how depressed it makes Jane? And would Rochester have married Blanche if Mason hadn't turned up, making a big society wedding impossible? If so, was Jane always in his mind as a mistress and backup in case marriage to Blanche was not possible, or did he only decide to marry her much later? What sort of basis for a happy marriage is that, and can the equalising effect of his later disability and her inheritance really conquer it? It's true that Rochester tells Jane "I feigned courtship of Miss Ingram, because I wished to render you as madly in love with me as I was with you", but that is after Mason's visit, so is it true?

Rochester's treatment of Bertha is even more problematic: divorce wasn't viable, and yet he didn't want to leave her behind in the Caribbean... very odd. In a funny sort of way, he might have felt he was doing the right thing by her, or at least, not the wrong thing.

In a society which condemns divorce and cohabitation, is Rochester's planned bigamy justifiable? As Rochester hints to Jane early on, "Unheard-of combinations of circumstances demand unheard-of rules". He also knows that Jane's integrity means she must be unaware of the details if he is to be with her (he says that if he asked her to do something bad, she would say "no sir... I cannot do it, because it is wrong"), though in fact there is a bigger tussle between her head and heart than he might have expected. Later, he ponders the fact that she is alone in the world as being some sort of justification, "It will atone" and extends to the more blasphemous and deluded "I know my Maker sanctions what I do. For the world's judgement - I wash my hands thereof."

St John

Jane's bond with St John is very different, and she realise it, "I daily wished more to please him; but to do so, I felt daily more and more that I must disown half my nature". His proposal is positively alarming, "You are formed for labour, not for love. A missionary's wife you must - shall be. You shall be mine: I claim you - not for my pleasure, but for my Sovereign's service"! Under the guise of serving God and man, he is irredeemably self-serving.

Magic Realism?

The strangest element is the small but hugely significant ethereal message from Rochester that might now be called magical realism. It sits oddly with the rest of the book, but I can never decide whether this is it a strength or a weakness.

Who Knows What?

A constant theme is "who knows what?". Is Aunt Reed ignorant of how awful Lowood is and has she truly convinced herself that her treatment of Jane is appropriate? How much does Mrs Fairfax know (and tell) about Rochester's wives, current and intended? Does Rochester know whether or not Adele is really his daughter, and what does Jane believe? Blanche appears to know very little, but is she only seeing what she wants to see?


Overall, there is so much in this book, it is well worth rereading, but I am not convinced that it is a love story. It is the easiest label to apply, and although Jane certainly finds love, I am not sure that love finds her. They're intellectually well-matched, and the sparring and physical attraction bode well. On the other hand, my doubts about his motivations when he was juggling Blanche and Jane make me uneasy.

Incidentally, I first read this book at school (a naive mid-teen enjoys and appreciates it for very different reasons than an adult). One day, we were at a point when Jane was with the Rivers and possibly being courted by St John. We were told to read to page x for homework, so I turned to that page to mark it and saw the famous words (not that I knew they were), "Reader, I married him" and was shocked to assume it referred to St John.

Jane's Place in My Life

There are many reasons I love this book, including - but not limited to:

1. The cliché of first reading this at an impressionable age (15).
2. Coming with no preconceptions, other than knowing it was a classic - so I had a couple of big surprises in the plot.
3. Being at a boarding school myself at the time - though fortunately not (much) like Lowood.
4. Questioning my faith and the role of religion - then and since.
5. Questioning the roles and rights of women - then and since.
6. Jane, herself. That's a major one.
7. The fact the book is daringly subversive for its time (most of the Christians are bad, and Jane is fiercely outspoken and independent - most of the time).
8. I get something new from it each time.

Like many, I first read this at school. I was captivated from the outset. Jane was wild, and brave, and rebellious - all things we weren't supposed to be, and yet we had to read and write about her. I vaguely knew about the wedding scene, but everything about her time with the Rivers was new and unexpected. For all that I had doubts about Rochester, I felt (in a naive, teenage way) I shared a passion for him. When I thought Jane would end up with St John, I was devastated. The actual ending was a happy relief - all the more so because it had been unexpected.

I thought I understood the book, and got good marks for essays about it (apart from the injustice of being deducted marks for a comment a teacher refused to believe I hadn't copied from Brodie's Notes - a study guide I'd only ever heard of!).

But like all great works of art, it speaks differently on each encounter, and the more I've read it, aided by a bit of maturity along the way, and now discussions with GR friends, the more I've seen in it.

So no, this not a love story - on the pages. But there is a love story: between the reader and Jane.


I finally read Jean Rhys' prequel "Wide Sargasso Sea", reviewed here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

2011 Film

I was disappointed with the Jane Eyre film. Mia Waskikowska was good as Jane, and it looked right, but Fassbender as Rochester was awful. He didn't brood enough for my liking, but what I think is less excusable is that he didn't really change during the course of the story. Just as bad, Jamie Bell was too nice to be St John. In fact the whole episode at the Rivers' was very poorly done. Overall, it removed all ambiguity, making a complex story of truth and lies, divided loyalty and mixed emotions boringly straightforward.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,828 followers
September 2, 2017
I read this book back in High School. I hated it. I thought it was boring and stupid and all I wanted to do was spread the word that this book was terrible and no one should read it. I had it marked one star on Goodreads and it had a home on my least favorite shelf.

Well, I have been waiting years to find the perfect place to use this gif:

I reread in late August, early September 2017. I have to say that I should probably reread everything I read bank in High School to get a better perspective.

I enjoyed the book quite a bit this time. The story in intricate and dark. Jane Eyre is a tragic hero who does her best through the whole book but keeps encountering unfortunate situation after unfortunate situation. The story held my interest a lot more than some other classic novels I have read.

My only complaint was a few times certain plot points were belabored. I found myself saying, "Okay, I get it, let's move on."

So, everyone, if you remember a book from your youth with less than enthusiastic fondness, it might be worth giving it another shot. You never know what you might find!
Profile Image for jessica.
2,534 reviews32.5k followers
April 29, 2020
mr. rochester walked so every other tall, dark, handsome, and broody male character could run. and thats the that on that.

i really dont have much else to add that hasnt already been said about this book, considering its been around for 150+ years. but i will admit how impressed i am with how modern this story feels. i think thats a key factor in why i enjoyed this so much - because it doesnt feel like a classic to me.

not only is the writing very accessible and incredibly easy to read, which i dont find to the case for most books written during this time period, but the dialogue between characters is very forward thinking. the conversations between jane and mr rochester are very much similar to conversations that are happening today. i really admire how bronte incorporates feminist ideals into this story. and i honestly didnt expect the low-key thriller vibes present in some parts, so that was fun.

overall, this is a great story. 10/10 would recommend.

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Nicole.
444 reviews13.4k followers
September 20, 2022
2019: 5/5
2022: 5/5
Nie istnieją słowa, które mogą wyrazić to jak bardzo uwielbiam tę książkę.
Profile Image for Dana Ilie.
404 reviews348 followers
February 8, 2019
For years I've been saying that Jane Eyre is my favorite novel of all time--
and that it is. The character of Jane is, to me, one of the most admirable and appealing fictional characters of all time. Poor and plain she may be, but her spirit is indomitable.

In an era when women were expected to be brainless and ornamental, Jane (through the words of Charlotte Bronte) refused to bow to those expectations
Profile Image for Nayra.Hassan.
1,260 reviews5,367 followers
November 30, 2022
كلمتان تعبران عن ملايين الفتيات
Plain Jane
عندماتقفز جملةمن بين دفتي كتاب إلى الحياةاليومية اذن فقد نجح
بطلتنا من النوع الذي نلقاه كل يوم بدون ان تدرك بطولته ..عاشت يتيمة..محتاجة..غريبة..الا انها امتلكت إحساسا عالية بالعزة والكرامة

و عبر عشرات
الإغراءات نجحت مرارا في الموازنة بين واجباتها و اهواءها
جين يتيمة.. فقيرة..عادية الملامح نشأت في كرب شديد لدى عمتها..تذهب لتعمل كمربية لدي ثري غامض مريب حقا.. .و مع تلك العائلة واجهت اختبارات عديدة..فهل نجحت في الحفاظ على مبادئها للنهاية؟

برونتي كتبت الرواية لتحسم الصراع الابدى بين الحب و الحرية ..لهذا صارت تلك الرواية هي النبراس الذي تتبعه كاتبات الروايات الرومانسية عبر العالم ..☀
و التقييم المنخفض فقط لاني درستها اجباري في ثانوى و هذا هو التقييم الظالم الذي امنحه لمعظم ما درسته. .و لكنها رواءيا : ممتازة

فقد وضعت جين في صراع بين الثرى روشستر و العالم المتفتح ريفرز. .او المطب المعتاد الذي تقع فيه كل فتاة في فترة ما :هذا ما يجب ان تفعله..و هذا ما تحبه و ترغب فيه
فايهما ستختار؟
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
August 12, 2021
(Book 904 From 1001 Books) - Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë

The novel is a first-person narrative from the perspective of the title character.

The novel's setting is somewhere in the north of England, late in the reign of George III (1760–1820).

It goes through five distinct stages:

Jane's childhood at Gateshead Hall, where she is emotionally and physically abused by her aunt and cousins.

Her education at Lowood School, where she gains friends and role models but suffers privations and oppression.

Her time as governess at Thornfield Hall, where she falls in love with her mysterious employer, Edward Rochester.

Her time with the Rivers family, during which her earnest but cold clergyman cousin, St. John Rivers, proposes to her

And ultimately her reunion with, and marriage to, her beloved Rochester.

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «جین ایر»؛ «جین ئر»؛ نویسنده: شارلوت برونته؛ انتشاراتیها: (جامی ، دبیر، توسن، مهتاب، عرفان، سمیر، جاویدان، ادیب، هزار آفتاب، سروستان، نشر مجرد)، ادبیات انگلستان؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: یکی از روزهای سال 1976میلادی

عنوان: جین ئر (جن ئر)؛ نویسنده: شارلوت برونته؛ مترجم: مسعود برزین؛ کانون معرفت؛ 1329؛ در 192ص؛ چاپ دوم 1341؛ عنوان روی جلد: یتیم؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان انگلیسی - سده 19م

عنوان: جین ایر؛ نویسنده: شارلوت برونته؛ مترجم: ناظر نعمتی؛ تهران، مجرد؛ 1364؛ در 213ص؛

عنوان: جین ایر؛ نویسنده: شارلوت برونته؛ مترجم: پرویز نجم الدینی؛ تهران، توسن، 1362؛ در 192ص؛

عنوان: جین ایر؛ نویسنده: شارلوت برونته؛ مترجم: محمدتقی بهرامی جزان؛ تهران، مترجم، 1370؛ دو جلد در یک مجلد؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، جامی، 1375؛ چاپ سوم 1377؛ ��اپ پنجم 1383؛

عنوان: جین ایر؛ نویسنده: شارلوت برونته؛ مترجم: مهدی افشار؛ تهران، مهتاب، عرفان، 1366؛ در 553ص؛ چاپ دیگر کتابفروشی سعدی، 1366؛ در 553ص؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، سمیر، 1384، در 560ص؛ شابک 9648940045؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، دبیر، 1384، در 503ص؛ شابک 9645967260؛

مترجم: فریدون کار؛ تهران، جاویدان، 1369، در 287ص؛

مترجم: پروین قائمی؛ تهران، کتاب آفرین، 1370، در 303ص؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، ادیب، 1374؛ در 303ص؛

مترجم: شهلا نقاش؛ فاطمه نقاش؛ تهران، هزار آفتاب، 1376، در 256ص؛

مترجم: زهره بکویی؛ تهران، سروستان، 1383، در 211ص؛

مترجمین دیگر خانمها و آقایان: «نسترن جامعی نشر: نهال نویدان - چاپ سوم 1375؛ در 255ص»؛ «ناظر نعمتی - نشر مجرد 1364؛ - در 213ص»؛ و بسیار دیگران ...؛

هشدار: اگر میخواهید خود کتاب را بخوانید لطفا از خوانش ادامه ریویو خودداری کنید؛

این رمان درباره ی زندگی دختری است، که در کودکی، مادر و پدر خود را از دست می‌دهد؛ او پس از ناملایماتی، که از بستگان و نزدیکش میبیند، به پرورشگاه سپرده شده، در محیط خشک و خشن پرورشگاه، بزرگ می‌شود، سپس با سمت معلمی، به خانه‌ ای اشرافی می‌رود، ارباب خانه (آقای «روچستر») به تدریج به او علاقمند می‌شود، ولی «جین» میفهمد، که او پیشتر ازدواج کرده، و همسرش دیوانه ای است، که در طبقه ی بالای همان خانه، زندگی می‌کند؛ «جین» دل شکسته از آن خانه میگریزد، و کشیشی با خواهرانش او را بیهوش می‌یابند؛ و از او نگهداری می‌کنند؛ کشیش کم کم به «جین» علاقمند می‌شود، ولی شبی (در ذهن خود)، صدای «روچستر» را میشنود، سپس به دنبال او میرود، و میفهمد که همسر دیوانه ی «روچستر»، خانه را آتش زده، و «روچستر» در حال نجات دادن او، بینایی خویش را از دست داده است؛ سرانجام «جین» نزد «روچستر» می‌رود، و با وی ازدواج می‌کند، و آنان صاحب یک پسر میشوند؛ خوب همه داستان را گفتم، ولی کتاب دلچسبتر از این حرفهاست

از این کتاب برای ساختن فیلم، اقتباسهای بسیاری صورت گرفته است، اسامی برخی از فیلمها را همینجا نیز میکارم: «جین ایر (فیلم 2011میلادی) کارگردان: کری فوکوناگا»؛ «جین ایر (فیلم 1997میلادی) کارگردان: رابرت یونگ»؛ «جین ایر (فیلم 1996میلادی) کارگردان: فرانکو زفیرلی»؛ «جین ایر (فیلم 1970میلادی) کارگردان: دلبرت من»؛ «جین ایر (فیلم 1943میلادی) کارگردان: رابرت استیونسون»؛ «جین ایر (فیلم 1934میلادی) کارگردان: کریستی کابان»؛

نقل از متن: (در آن حال که من فقط به اربابم و همسر آینده‌اش می‌اندیشیدم، در آن حال که فقط آن‌ها را می‌دیدم، فقط حرف‌های آن‌ها را می‌شنیدم و فقط به حرکت‌های با معنی آن‌ها توجه می‌کردم، بله، در همان حال، بقیه سرگرم علایق و لذایذشان بودند، «لیدی لین» و «لیدی اینگرام» به هم صحبتی و مکالمه‌ های سنگین و رنگین خود ادامه می‌دادند؛ کلاه‌های عمامه‌ ای شان را به طرف یکدیگر می‌جنباندند و دست‌های خود را به علامت تعجب، پرسش، یا وحشت (که به موضوع صحبتشان بستگی داشت) بالا میآوردند، درست مثل دو عروسک خیمه شب بازی، منتها بزرگتر؛ «خانم دنت» که ملایم بود با «خانم ایشتن» که با محبت بود حرف می‌زد؛ این دو گاهی کلمه‌ ای هم با من رد و بدل می‌کردند، یا به من لبخند می‌زدند؛ «سر جورج لین»، «کلنل دنت» و «آقای ایشتن» از سیاست، و امور مملکتی و مسائل قضایی حرف می‌زدند؛ «لرد اینگرام» با «ایمی ایشتن» لاس می‌زد؛ «لوئیزا» می‌نواخت و می‌خواند - یا برای یکی از آقایان، یا همراه یکی از آن‌ها؛ «مری اینگرام»، بی‌حال و بی‌علاقه، به صحبت‌های رجز مانند یکی دیگر از «آقایان لین» گوش می‌داد؛ گاهی همه باهم، گویی با نوعی توافق دسته جمعی، نمایش‌های فرعی خود را متوقف می‌کردند، تا به نمایش بازیگران اصلی نگاه کنند، و گوش بدهند؛ آخر، «آقای راچستر» و «دوشیزه اینگرام» که همه جا با او بود، شمع محفل بودند؛ اگر «آقای راچستر» حضور نمی‌داشت واقعا روحیه مهمان‌ها کسل می‌شد؛ وقتی می‌آمد، صحبت‌ها تازگی می‌یافت، و زنده‌تر می‌شد.)؛ پایان

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 31/06/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 20/05/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.7k followers
November 13, 2018
I'm bumping Jane Eyre up to the full five stars on this reread. It has its Victorian melodramatic moments (horrible aunt! and cousins! ), but overall I found this story of a plain, obscure girl determined to maintain her self-respect, and do what she feels is right even in the face of pressure, profoundly moving. And I'm a romantic, sorry/notsorry, so that aspect totally sucked me in too. And it really is a great romance, at least in my book, but it's just so much more than that.

Reasons I Love Jane Eyre:
1. Jane is no beauty. There's no Cinderella moment. Deal with it. Her beauty is all on the inside.
2. Rochester is not gorgeous. This is not going to change either. In fact, his outward appearance gets worse in the end. And it doesn't matter! When's the last time you read a romance where neither the heroine nor the hero was good-looking?
3. Great dialogue. Rochester makes sarcastic comments to Jane all the time. She sasses him right back.
4. This is a romance of the mind and the heart, not just OMG HE'S SO HOT AND HIS LIPS MAKE ME MELT. (Though there's definitely physical attraction here too.)
5. Jane maintains her pride and self-respect. She sticks to her principles, even when the pressure's on, even when it would be much easier, and would bring her much more short-term happiness, to let those principles go hang.
6. Jane Eyre takes a very nuanced view of religion: there are hypocrites, in at least a couple of different variations. There are hard, cold people who sometimes use religion as a tool, or an excuse for what they do. There are saintly characters who always turn the other cheek. And there are believers, like Jane, who are imperfect but are doing the best they can.
7. Jane teaches us that we have a great power to take control of our lives and decide our own destiny, even when the cards are all stacked against us. It's up to us to take action to change our lives, not wait for someone else to change it for us.
8. Jane Eyre empowered women, written at a time when in so many ways we were considered second-class citizens. It still empowers us now.
Women ... feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts, as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, to absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.
Buddy (re-)read with Jess, Karly, Vane, Kristin, Rabbit, and Andrea.

P.S. The Kindle version available for free at Project Gutenberg has wonderful pencil drawing illustrations.


Bonus: excerpts from Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters **spoiler alert**


I’m taking a walk
be back for dinner


do you really want me to describe my walk to you


it is fairly cloudy out
looks like rain soon


all right


i am with my cousins


Please don’t try to talk to me again


I’m not going to answer that



Profile Image for Gabriella Risatti.
2 reviews8 followers
February 22, 2008

I read Jane Eyre for the first time as an adult and I can't help but feel sorry for every junior high or high school student who was forced to read this book.

I thought getting through this book was very difficult. I assumed I would love it since I generally love books by Jane Austen, but I didn't find many similarities at all. Jane Eyre was boring and unbelievable. I did enjoy the first half of the book because I had such hope for her, but then it just became dull and unrealistic. I never bought the romance between Jane and Mr. Rochester, nor did I buy the coincidence of her happening to arrive on the doorstep of the only relations she has in all of England during her time of need. I also find it strange that she dedicates the last paragraphs of the book primarily to St. John Rivers, when he was such a small part of her life, not to mention the fact that the part he did play was primarily negative.

Bronte failed to draw me into the lives of these characters or like them, frankly, which made this a very long read for me.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Magrat Ajostiernos.
569 reviews3,936 followers
February 18, 2021
He amado cada página de este libro como no creí que fuera posible. Sin duda la relectura me ha hecho disfrutarlo infinitamente más, no sé si es que me he hecho más romántica, más blanda o qué pero en fin, que me he enamorado de cada página, de cada matiz de la historia.
Me quedo sin duda con dos cosas, por un lado con la ambientación oscura y fantasmal y por otro con el personaje de Jane que ha conseguido colarse entre mis predilectos (y eso que la primera vez que leí el libro me pareció una sosa, ¡¿En qué estaba pensando!?)
Rochester no tienes perdón como ser humano pero como personaje eres de 10 xD
En fin, una lectura maravillosa e inolvidable que además he tenido el placer de compartir con mis brujos del Aquelarre, lo que lo hace todo mucho más disfrutable
***Eso sí, después leed 'El ancho mar de los Sargazos' de Jean Rhys para descubrir la parte de historia que nos falta.......
Profile Image for Henry Avila.
458 reviews3,240 followers
May 6, 2023
One of the most beloved novels in history for many generations ; "Jane Eyre" is set in England in the 1800's . The story of a neglected girl orphan of that name who never gives up her dream of happiness, no matter how remote a possibility, this goal can ever be reached. Hated by her cruel Aunt Mrs. Sarah Reed (NOT A BLOOD RELATIVE), and cousins Eliza, jealous of her more beautiful but spiteful sister Georgiana, and abused by them both. They look down at the beggar, this little poor girl this imposition, why is she here ? They show every day their contempt, not even bothering to hide it . It would be so nice everyone thinks, if Jane wasn't there. Her miserable, tormented life seems everlasting no escape, where would she go ? And treated like a lowly servant not a loved relative, she the orphan has to keep her feelings to herself. Bessie the nurse maid, is the only person that treats Miss Eyre kindly, secretly of course. The frosty aunt very reluctantly raised Jane, until the age of ten, then gladly Mrs. Reed sends the unwanted prepubescent Jane , to a charity school Lowood's, run by a clergyman the tyrannical Mr. Brocklehurst, he forgot the teachings of Jesus . Harshly treated there too, as are the other students (Jane is hungry and cold, often), by the director Brocklehurst, a man that believes in discipline, except for his own luxury- loving family ! Jane grows up a lonely woman with few friends, only one in fact fellow student Helen, (here for a short time) she hopes there has to be something better than mere existence. Leaving the horrible school after eight long years, the last two as a teacher the teenager gets a job as a lowly and paid little, governess , in a gloomy mansion far away. Her new "master" is the rather distant and frightening Mr. Edward Fairfax Rochester, a mysterious man that spends little time at home. Jane becomes attractive to the not very attractive Rochester, many questions are left unaccountably unanswered at Thornfield Hall. The little girl Adele, the governess teaches and takes care of sometimes. Along with her French nurse, Sophie, is she Rochester's child or just his ward ? Those strange horrific noises up on the third floor , dreadful, devilish and inhuman laughs in the middle of the night, what is causing them ? How did the owner of the house make all his money ? Will Rochester marry the beautiful but greedy woman Blanche Ingram, she despises Miss Eyre and make her leave Thornfield Hall. Will the plain Jane ever find a place to call her own and find love and contentment ? This classic book written by one of the brilliant but short- lived Bronte sisters Charlotte, will not disappoint readers of great literature, still worth the effort after more than a century and a half of its existence ... it will continue for who knows how long ?
Profile Image for El Librero de Valentina.
266 reviews18.8k followers
April 25, 2020
Este libro es una joya, con uno de los personajes femeninos más íntegros que he encontrado, de una fortaleza impresionante. La historia de una mujer valiente, con una buena dosis de misterio y por supuesto una buena dosis de romanticismo.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews294k followers
March 19, 2018
The Brontes fuelled my love for reading and convinced me that the classics weren't all mean, nasty books that fascist teachers made you read in school just to torture you. I grew up with Austen and Dickens, whom I loved, but the Brontes always seemed to come out on top for some reason. Jane Eyre is my second favourite after Wuthering Heights. I love the darkness and sadness of their novels, but the more... quiet style than you'd find in Dickens's wild tales of orphans, drunks and epic family betrayals.
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,169 reviews98.2k followers
May 8, 2018

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”

Okay, so high school Melanie did not appreciate Jane Eyre! But thankfully, many years later, and because of a few friend’s encouragement, I have seen the light and righted my wrongs, because this reread proved to me how much of a masterpiece Jane Eyre truly is.

This is a very beloved book, that stars an orphan girl name Jane that is trying to figure out the world around her. She’s searching for worth, for love, and all the middle area in-between. When she is very young, she is forced to live with her not-so-nice aunt, who is absolutely terrible to her. But soon, her aunt sends her off to an all-girls boarding school, but Jane starts to learn who she is and who she wants to be, and after getting her education, she begins to teach at this school that she now considers her home.

But at nineteen, she decides that she would like to try to be a governess so that she can travel and see the world that she has learned so much about. Jane gets a job teaching a young girl at Thornfield Hall, but soon meets the master of Thornfield Hall, none other than Mr. Rochester himself.

Mr. Rochester is distant, and rude, and a bit grumpy, but the more and more time Jane and him spend together, the more and more they realize they have a lot in common. And they develop quite a strange and unconventional relationship, while many spooky and mysterious things are happening at Thornfield Hall.

This book is very protofeminist. Jane has so much rage and anger inside of her, because of the gender roles and expectations that are always set on her. On top of always being sent to places where she is forced to live and be molded into what is expected of her. Jane finally gets to live for herself at Thornfield Hall, and she does so unapologetically. Don’t get me wrong, Jane stands up for herself constantly, and at every age, throughout this story, but seeing her come into her own, and never backing down from her beliefs on what is right, is something so very awe-inspiring.

“I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.”

And so many important themes are in this book! From classism, to marriage, to gender roles, to witchcraft, to slavery, to abuse, to power dynamics, and to so much more. And the things brought up in this book? That was first published in 1847? And I stan one feminist icon, and it’s Charlotte Brontë. I can’t even image what the world thought of this throughout the ages, because it spoke to my very soul in 2018. Seriously, I will forever be in awe of this book and this author, and I truly mean it when I say that she’s a new icon for me.

“Gentle reader, may you never feel what I then felt! May your eyes never shed such stormy, scalding, heart-wrung tears as poured from mine. May you never appeal to Heaven in prayers so hopeless and so agised as in that hour left my lips: for never may you, like me, dread to be the instrument of evil to what you wholly love.”

I ended up being a sucker for the romantic subplot in this book, too, even though I can see how many terrible, wrong, bad choices the love interest made. But Jane always puts herself first, and even though she wants to be loved more than anything, she will constantly fight for her own place in the world where she lives on her own terms for her own beliefs. Jane loves herself, and in turn it made me love Jane, and this masterpiece of a story.

Overall, I fell completely in love with this. This was so intelligently crafted and so expertly woven! And the dark feelings and vibes throughout really makes this such a unique and amazing reading experience. And I think this is a book that I will be able to read and reread over and over for the rest of my life. You also best believe that if I ever have children, this will be required reading once they get a bit older, because this book seriously has an immense amount of power. And I truly believe this is my favorite classic of all-time now. And I never want any woman to feel like a bird trapped in a cage.

Trigger and content warnings for bullying, abuse, abandonment, loss of a friend, and use of the slur g*psy.

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Buddy read with Dani, Alexis, & Kaleena! ❤
October 19, 2020
I probably read this first when I was about 9 and loved books like What Katy Did at School and the Malory Towers Series. I'm not sure if I loved the books as any little girl might or because I wanted to go away to school to escape my mother/didn't want to go away to school because i would feel abandoned.

My mother didn't love me and wanted me to go to boarding school. There was a very good one in the nearest city (I lived in a village) about 13 miles away. My father wouldn't hear of it, he went to work in the city every day and I remember him saying to my mother, how would I feel if I was left there and he came home every day? They had a big row (which I overheard) and my mother suggested a compromise, that I come home at weekends. My father wouldn't go for that either.

Then I was supposed to go to Cheltenham Ladies' College, but after a brief interview they declined to have the third member of my family. The other two, cousins, one on my father's and one on my mother's and coincidentally we all have variations of the same first name, had both been expelled. Probably about boys, I forget now, but we were all 'early developers' that way and we weren't like really well-behaved either.

I didn't want to go and not be with my father who loved me, but I did want to go and get away from my mother and to some extent my younger brother, the golden child who didn't have to do anything, no chores, nothing, and got everything he wanted. That was rubbed in by the housekeeper (we had a live-in housekeeper) who never lost an opportunity to show how much contempt she felt for me. She made my brother's bed, washed his underwear, hung up his clothes and shined his shoes. as she did for my parents, bu tnot me. It wasn't that the chores were onerous, it was that I was the only one in the house excluded from having them done.

My father though, had hated boarding school. He was expelled from several. He used to run away. He had a strange upbringing. He also lived in a village, and there were boy cousins (there was only one girl in his generation of a lot of boys) in another village and a lot more in the city. Whenever any of them got into trouble they would just go and stay with an aunt instead of going home. He told me no one really minded who turned up at the dinner table and they were always ready with excuses. So then he would get away with having run away for a couple of days until the school called his mother, my grandmother (who loved me very much), and she would have to track him down and there would be hell to pay.

On his third school, he wrote the classic note of novels, I saw it and wished I owned it. He wrote to his mother, "Don't try to find me, I have gone and joined the army." She went and got him back and persuaded the school to take him back. He hated school. He wanted to be a farmer and went to Agricultural College rather than university, but on his father's death had to join the family company. So my father was really keen on not sending me away and not forcing me into a career I really didn't want.

So in Jane Eyre going to boarding school, I could see myself as the outcast, the one who wasn't accepted, the outcast, the plain girl as my mother was always rubbing in, fat, plain, awful hair, thunderthighs and best dressed in brown, grey, bottle green or navy, never pink, red, or flower prints. So I felt like Jane, I identified with her. . I thought if I could get away maybe I could become part of a group, people would like me. I also thought I could get away from the endless berations of my faults and the accompanying beatings.

I reread it at about 13 and understood the book much more. I've probably read it, and it's 'prequel', Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea half a dozen times. Jean Rhys was from Dominica, an island I know well. When I was first there her family home in Roseau had become a guest house and that was where I stayed.

Not much of a review of an excellent book, but it was why I loved it so much.
Profile Image for Anne.
3,918 reviews69.3k followers
January 25, 2020
Whew! I finished this one this morning, and I'm glad I finally read it. I can't say, however, that I enjoyed it, would recommend it, or will ever read it again.
Not in this lifetime, anyway.


For starters, I didn't like Jane. Yeah, when she was a kid I felt sorry for her, but the older she got the less I liked her. Her religious convictions and the decisions she made because of them had Bertha looking like the picture of sanity by comparison. Speaking of, why in the world did she wander off in the middle of the night with no money?
What did she think would happen? Was manna supposed to drop out of heaven?
And I don't buy that an educated, sensible woman would just run off into the night without taking enough with her to make sure she could survive. An idiot would have better sense than that.
But by the end of the story, I was almost wishing she had wandered off after St John and contracted some disease. The fact that she didn't totally realize what an awful freak St John was nailed the lid on her coffin to me. Even at the very end of the book, she kept talking about all of the great works he was doing for God.


He was an ass, and I would have told him to give me my five thousand pounds back!
At least Bronte had the sense to kill him off at the end. Well, maybe he wasn't quite dead yet, but he was on his way to meet his maker. Ugh.
I also thought it was more than just a teeny bit fishy that she ended up on the doorstep of the only family she had in the entire world.
Exactly how likely is that? Not very.


Then there is the man himself, Mr. Rochester. He wasn't anything to write home about for sure. Let's start with the obvious, shall we? He was cold, condescending, secretive. Wow.
Oh yeah, and he was ugly to boot. Yum.


Can anything else be said about him to make him more of a catch? I know! Just in case, let's have him keep a drooling homicidal wife hidden away in the attic!
Personally, I think Bronte had covered all the bases at this point.
Did he honestly not see anything wrong with letting her marry him while he had that crazy bat of a wife locked upstairs? If he had just told her the situation to start with, I might have liked him a little better.
Nah. Probably not. I never actually figured out what she saw in him. My best guess ended up being low self-esteem coupled with a bad childhood.


The 'gothic mystery' part of the plot ended in the middle of the book, and shortly thereafter ended anything remotely interesting. Say what you will about Looney Bertha, but at least she pumped some life into the story.


And wasn't it just awesome that Bertha burned the house to the ground and then leaped to her death? Nice exit big girl! I gotta say, she was by far my favorite. Lest we forget, she also managed to mangle Rochester's good looks even more before she bowed out. Now Jane's man looks like a one-eyed, one-armed, flying purple people eater. Of course, she doesn't mind, because now she feels she can be of use to him.


Jane, I can tell we will never see eye-to-eye on things, so I'll just let it go. Our friendship was never meant to be. For some, you will forever remain the stoic heroine who finally gets her Happily Ever After. For me, you are just a ninny with bad taste in men. As Adele would say, Adieu.
Reader, this review is over.
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414 reviews
February 12, 2013
Reader, gaze upon my tortured physiognomy and answer me one question that I shall pose to thee in the languid torpor of the drooping, sinister twilight of my soul, one which surely reveals more of my own humble, Quakerish origins, unappealing countenance and begs you as my interlocutrice to satisfy my curiosity: why?

I can understand intellectually why this book would have been important when it was written and how its pivotal place in the history of the novel has shaped modern literature &c. but holy GOD it is like reading 507 pages of needlepoint. In which precious little happens except that you start to realize that editing must be a fairly young profession and that perhaps if you really hated your English students you could pick out one of the sentences that is roughly the same length as the Gettysburg Address and make them diagram it? For reals, you'd get these honking paragraphs that would start, "There was..." and then if you were diagramming you'd have a frightfully kudzu-covered six-story scaffold of indirect objects and modifiers trailing behind it.

What is it about Jane Eyre that seems to be an educated female rite of passage? I was somewhat looking forward to this book as it's an example of a strong woman who knows herself, but no. She's basically being ping-ponged between a couple of over-verbose dweebs who both have frightfully controlling tendencies and her only hope of independence is getting a windfall through the mother of all deus ex machina.

Ladies: Jane is holding you back.

Protip: if a guy twice your age who freely admits his proclivity for continental floozies, gruffly dismisses his own possible child except to underpay staff to deal with her, is intense and flies into passions, makes you mop up after and keep silent about assaults in your home and then fails to mention until you're at the altar that oh, he's married and the psycho who tried to kill you in your bed is actually his WIFE, you get gone and stay gone.

Seriously, if I wanted to read about a teenager who spent half her time complaining about her looks and then dithering around about whether to go with the dark brooding intense hottie or the fair,marble-faced Greek god, I would go read Twilight.

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