Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre tells the story of orphaned Jane Eyre who grows
up in the home of her heartless aunt and later attends a charity school with a harsh
regime, enduring loneliness and cruelty. This troubled childhood strengthens Jane's
natural independence and spirit - which prove necessary when she finds a position as
governess at Thornfield Hall.
However, when she finds love with her sardonic employer, Rochester, the discovery of
his terrible secret forces her to make a choice. Should she stay with him and live with
the consequences, or follow her convictions, even if it means leaving the man she loves?
A novel of intense power and intrigue, Jane Eyre (1847) dazzled and shocked readers with
its passionate depiction of a woman's search for equality and freedom.
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Student Review by Kimberley Chen, studied at Queen Mary University of London
A little orphan girl, Jane Eyre, is thrust into the ghastly red-room by her malicious aunt; it is a room where a horrifying unearthly visitor flits across its tired opulence. This is one of the many and various trials Jane is constantly confronted with throughout her early childhood years and her early adulthood. Her trials range from those who attempt to pulverise her spirit to the difficult decisions she is forced to make.
Her language is infused with a fierce and courageous energy, as she strives to keep her identity intact, and to ultimately remain true to herself. Jane fights the forces which seek to isolate herself from everyone around her at her aunt’s house and then at Lowood School. She deeply yearns to break the boundaries imposed upon her life. She is a caged bird, a vivid, restless, resolute captive waiting eagerly to lurch out of the rigid frame she is imprisoned in. Jane’s life is radically changed forever when she finds employment at Thornfield Hall; a grand, yet austere building, with its chill and vault-like air and its peculiar effigies. A sense of mystery is also swathed around the master of Thornfield Hall, his abrupt melancholic moods are a complete enigma to Jane. Jane becomes increasingly bewildered by the series of strange and dangerous circumstances which take place. What is the terrible dark secret of Thornfield Hall? What could possibly be so awful that her master would deem it absolutely necessary to shutter the truth from her knowledge? The climax of these threatening events force Jane to make a painful decision: which is more important to her: her happiness or her principles? As the novel progresses, Jane is faced with yet another crucial decision, but is she willing to sacrifice an important and vital part of herself for the rest of her life?
This powerful and compelling book is filled to brim with rich imagery, vivid dreams and raw heartfelt emotion. Charlotte Brontë forcefully critiques the social hierarchy and the prejudices against women in Victorian England, and proves that everyone, including the poor and the obscure, women as well as men, have the ability to feel and a right to express their minds.
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