October 18, 2017
Word Count: 880
I chose to read Charlotte Brontë’s novel, Jane Eyre, because it is a classic romantic tale that also features a strong-willed heroine. This revolutionary story put aside traditional female characters and instead introduced a new standard of realistically complex female protagonists. Though Jane’s story, readers can embark on lessons of poverty, self-respect, and feminism.
Charlotte Brontë was born on April 21, 1816 in Yorkshire, England. Bronte began teaching at the age of nineteen but only a few years later decided to become a governess. Extremely dissatisfied with her job as a governess, Brontë encouraged her sisters to help her achieve her dream of building a school. Though this school was not successful, it was at this time in her life that Brontë discovered her talent as a writer. As with many early female novelists, Brontë published under the pseudonym Currer Bell in order for her works to be taken seriously. Brontë’s released her first novel, Jane Eyre, in 1847. This book was an instant success and went on to become one of the most famous novels of the era, spreading awareness for both gender and social issues. Brontë also penned several other noteworthy novels such as Shirly in 1849, and Vilette in 1853. Tragically, Brontë’s life came to an end soon after wedding a man she did not love due to a fatal case of pneumonia (SparkNotes Editors).
Jane Eyre follows the life of the young orphan, Jane Eyre. The novel begins with Jane living with her cousins and wealthy aunt, Mrs. Reed. The Reeds are cruel, unkind people, and after an incident in which Jane is locked away in the room where her uncle died as a punishment, Mrs. Reed sends her away to boarding school. At first, Jane is excited to be leaving her horrid family, but she quickly realizes that life at Lowood School is not as wonderful as she had imagined. Jane’s headmaster, Mr. Brocklehurst, is as cruel as her aunt was and despite lecturing the children on poverty and charity, siphoned school funds into his own salary. Luckily, after an outbreak of typhoid, Brocklehurst leaves Lowood and kinder men take his place. Jane eventually teaches at Lowood for several years, but is dissatisfied with her job and quits to become a governess. She acquires a job at Thornfield manor, working for the mysterious Rochester. It is here that Jane falls in love with Rochester, and he soon proposes to her. On their wedding day, all is well until someone interrupts the ceremony, claiming that Rochester is already married. Rochester admits that his previous wife, Bertha, is mentally insane and living on the third floor of his manor. Upon t...