This study guide will help you analyze the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it and putting it into perspective.
Presentation of the text
Title: Jane Eyre (1847)
Author: Charlotte Brontë
Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855) was an English novelist and poet best known for her novel Jane Eyre. Her sisters, Emily and Anne, are also well-known novelists and poets, and the three are collectively referred to as the Brontë sisters. They are all considered to have made important contributions to literature.
Jane Eyre was an immediate success following its publication, and it is now regarded as a classic of English literature. The novel has been adapted for theatre, film, and television. Charlotte Brontë also published two other novels, Shirley and Villette, and a book of collected poetry from all three Brontë sisters.
Here, you can read an extract from our study guide:
The inspiration behind Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre is a coming-of-age novel that presents the rich inner life of a woman, as it follows her from when she is ten into adulthood when she marries Rochester. In writing her novel, Charlotte Brontë drew inspiration from many aspects of her own life.
As a child, Charlotte and her four sisters were sent by their father to Cowan Bridge School, a boarding school for children of clergymen. The school had terrible conditions, and the girls had to share beds, bathe with freezing water, and eat little food – often burnt porridge. The girls had to walk the long distance to the nearby church every Sunday although they were not suitably dressed for the cold weather. This later became the inspiration for Jane’s experience at Lowood Institute in Jane Eyre.
Moreover, while at the school, two of Charlotte’s older sisters, Elizabeth and Maria, died of tuberculosis because of the poor conditions, which mirrors the typhoid outbreak and Helen’s untimely death at Lowood. Mr Brocklehurst, the head of Lowood Institute, was also based on the real founder of the Clergy Daughters’ School, which was confirmed in Charlotte Brontë’s biography written by Elizabeth Gaskell. Charlotte often...