Jane Eyre Review

Jane Eyre Review

By Abby Smith ’20, Contributor

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is essentially three stories tied into one. First, Jane narrates her dreadful childhood and her time at Lowood School. Next, employed by Mr. Rochester, she teaches young Adèle, a child whom Rochester neither claims nor likes. This second section of the novel is only connected to the first by several references to her upbringing. Shocking knowledge brings her to flee in the third part of the novel. Jane realizes she needs Mr. Rochester and chases down the ruined man he has become for an almost happy ending.

Jane looks back on her childhood in the beginning, from her mean aunt, Mrs. Reed, to teaching at Lowood. Brontë doesn’t hold back with her brutal descriptions. Jane’s early years were filled with misbehaving (she had quite the fiery spirit), punishments, and complaining. This writing, though sometimes borderline whiny, was very entertaining and made reading assignments almost a breeze.

When Jane leaves Lowood, she is hired by Mr. Rochester, a very notable man with a large estate as Adele’s governess. Jane finds it odd that Mr. Rochester is seldom home. She finds out from the servants that Mr. Rochester has a mad wife hidden in the attic. Just as she becomes enamored with the man, the book takes a sharp twist into the mystery of crazy woman Bertha Mason in the attic. Jane and Rochester were even planning to get married, but the discovery was too much for Jane. She flees, leaving Rochester heartbroken and the whole household a mess. This was perhaps the most interesting, dramatic part of the novel.

The final part of Jane Eyre is arguably subpar. Jane’s thoughts and emotions drag on and on as she contemplates her choice to leave. After inheriting a fortune, Jane sets out to find Mr. Rochester. She finds him sad, lonely, blind, and injured from a massive fire. He and Jane wed and the story ends on a happy note as Mr. Rochester gets some of his vision back. Although I’m not a big fan of the ending, this book is one of my favorites that I’ve read in school and I highly recommend it. It is a good story, very well-written—though long—and more concise than most literature of Brontë’s era.