Jane Eyre 

Presentation of the Novel

Before proceeding with our presentation, let's briefly review the historical context of the Victorian Age and explore the literary landscape through three concise videos. This preliminary exploration will enhance our understanding as we navigate the intricate world of 'Jane Eyre,' making the journey more enriching

I. Circumstances of Publication

When Charlotte Brontë released Jane Eyre, she had already chosen the pseudonym "Currer Bell" to navigate the prevalent skepticism faced by female authors due to gender biases. Charlotte had opted for a male name, "Currer." 

The choice of "C" in "Currer" cleverly reflected her own initial. Charlotte's sisters, Emily and Anne, had adopted similar pen names, "Ellis" and "Acton," when they jointly published a collection of poems under these pseudonyms. In the preface to the second edition of "Jane Eyre," Charlotte Brontë explained their decision, stating that they refrained from revealing their gender due to the perceived prejudice against authoresses.

The initial reception of Jane Eyre was mixed, with some reviewers praising its narrative and characters, while others criticized its unconventional portrayal of women and frank approach to sexuality. Despite this, the novel quickly gained popularity, becoming a bestseller.

II. Genre

Jane Eyre is classified as both a novel of manners and a Bildungsroman. A novel of manners delves into the customs of a specific social group, while a Bildungsroman narrates the personal growth of the protagonist. "Jane Eyre" seamlessly combines both genres, portraying the maturation of a young girl while exploring Victorian customs. The novel encapsulates its era while embracing various other literary movements from the past.

III. Explanation of the Title

The complete title, Jane Eyre: An Autobiography, suggests that the novel is a genuine account of Jane's life. The term 'autobiography' enhances its realism and credibility as noted by critic Susan Fraiman. This choice adds depth to the narrative, creating a sense that readers are witnessing an authentic account of Jane's life.


The name "Jane," often associated with the term "plain Jane," implies an unremarkable appearance. The word 'plain' and its derivatives appear 48 times in "Jane Eyre." However, Jane defies this stereotype, emerging as a resilient, independent woman who recognizes her self-worth.

Similarly, the name "Eyre" carries symbolic significance. Pronounced like "air," it alludes to Jane's desire for freedom and breaking societal constraints. Pronounced like "heir," it introduces another connotation linked to Jane's inheritance, emphasizing familial ties and echoing the complexities in her quest for autonomy and a place to call home.

IV. Structure and Plot

The narrative of Jane Eyre unfolds in three distinctive parts, tracing Jane's journey through her formative childhood, her time as a governess at Thornfield, and her mature adulthood.

Part I: Jane's Childhood

The story commences with Jane Eyre, an orphan navigating the challenges of her early years. Growing up in oppressive conditions, she undergoes profound experiences at Lowood, a pivotal phase that molds her character and sets the stage for her future.

Part II: Governess at Thornfield

As Jane matures, she steps into a new chapter as a governess at Thornfield. Here, she encounters the enigmatic Mr. Rochester, becoming entangled in a complex web of emotions. The evolving relationship between Jane and Mr. Rochester takes center stage in this section, introducing elements of love, mystery, and societal expectations.

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Part III: Adulthood and Independence

The final part witnesses Jane's journey into mature adulthood, marked by a revelation that reshapes the course of her life. This phase delves into themes of independence and self-discovery as Jane navigates challenges, unveils hidden truths, and ultimately forges her own path.

V. Characters

The central characters in Jane Eyre include Jane Eyre herself, Mr. Rochester, and St. John Rivers.

Jane Eyre, the protagonist, undergoes a profound character transformation. Starting as an orphaned girl, her experiences at Lowood and Thornfield shape her into an independent woman who recognizes her own value and asserts herself.

Mr. Rochester, the master of Thornfield and Jane's love interest, emerges as a complex character. Initially presented as a prototypical Byronic hero, he later reveals a shadowed past, adding layers of intricacy to his persona.

St. John Rivers, Jane's cousin and a missionary, stands in sharp contrast to Mr. Rochester. His character embodies a more conventional notion of morality and spirituality, serving as a foil to the complexities inherent in Mr. Rochester's nature.

Bertha Mason: Bertha's character embodies the theme of madness, offering insight into Victorian-era attitudes toward mental illness. Confined in the attic, she becomes a metaphor for society's marginalization of those deemed "mad." Bertha's presence is crucial to understanding the societal and moral dilemmas faced by other characters, particularly Mr. Rochester and Jane.

VI. Settings

The novel is set in the Victorian era, against the backdrop of the Industrial Revolution, reflecting the societal expectations of women during that time period. The settings in the novel play a significant role in shaping the narrative and the characters' inner journeys. They include:

- Lowood : A school for orphaned girls, where Jane receives her education. It is depicted as a harsh and oppressive place, symbolizing Jane's struggles and her path to self-discovery and acceptance.

- Thornfield : The home of Mr. Rochester, where Jane finds love and a sense of belonging. This grand and luxurious setting represents a turning point in Jane's life, offering both happiness and challenges.

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pexels-liudmyla-shalimova-16118047.jpg 02/02/24, 16.43.34

- Moor House : A warm and inviting place, where Jane discovers her true family and a sense of home. This setting signifies the culmination of Jane's journey and her final acceptance of herself and her place in the world.

Critics have observed that the settings in the novel are not merely physical locations but also mirror the characters' internal quests for self-discovery, self-acceptance, and a sense of belonging.

VII. Point of View, Narrator, and Narrative Techniques

Jane Eyre is narrated in the first-person point of view, allowing readers to delve into the thoughts, emotions, and experiences of the protagonist, Jane Eyre. As the narrator, Jane reflects on her past experiences, offering readers a deeper understanding of her character and her personal evolution.

Charlotte Brontë employs a variety of narrative techniques and figures of speech in the novel, including imagery, symbolism, and foreshadowing, to enrich the story. For instance, the use of imagery enables readers to vividly visualize the settings and the characters, while symbolism adds layers of meaning to the narrative.

One notable example is the sentence "poor, obscure, plain, and little person" (Chapter 1), which encapsulates Jane's initial self-perception, laying the groundwork for her transformative journey towards self-discovery and self-acceptance.

By incorporating these revisions, the presentation maintains its academic integrity while achieving a more engaging and human-like written style.

IX. Themes

Jane Eyre is a novel that explores a range of profound themes, including love, independence, social class, madness, bigamy, and wealth. Through the protagonist's journey, these themes come to life as she learns to assert her individuality and confront societal expectations.


A central theme, love is intricately portrayed through the complex relationship between Jane and Mr. Rochester. The novel delves into the nuances of true love, revealing its challenges and nonconventional nature.


Another pivotal theme, independence, unfolds through Jane's path of self-discovery and self-acceptance. She evolves into a person who stands up for herself, even when challenging societal norms.

Social Class:

Explored through characters' experiences and interactions, social class is symbolized by the contrast between the affluent Mr. Rochester and the humble Jane. This theme underscores how societal expectations can impact relationships.


Bertha Mason's character embodies the theme of madness, offering insight into Victorian-era attitudes toward mental illness. Her confinement in the attic serves as a metaphor for society's marginalization of those deemed "mad."


The revelation of Mr. Rochester's bigamy introduces a moral and legal dilemma, shedding light on societal attitudes toward marriage. The novel scrutinizes the differing standards applied to men and women regarding marital transgressions.

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pexels-mahsima-sojoudi-9614212.jpg 02/02/24, 16.56.37


A prominent theme, wealth, explores characters' interactions with different financial statuses. It presents a stark contrast between the affluent and the destitute, impacting their lives and relationships.


1. Pseudonym (noun): A false name used by an author to conceal their identity.

2. Navigate (verb): To find one's way or manage through a challenging situation.

3. Skepticism (noun): A doubtful or questioning attitude, especially towards something generally accepted.

4. Biases (noun): Prejudices or preconceived opinions that influence one's judgment in an unfair manner.

5. Byronic (adjective): Relating to the characteristics of a Byronic hero, typically a dark and mysterious character with complex emotions.

6. Introspection (noun): The act of examining one's own thoughts and feelings.

7. Gothic (adjective): Relating to a style of fiction characterized by gloomy settings, mysterious or supernatural events, and an atmosphere of horror.

8. Foreshadowing (noun): A literary device where an author gives hints or clues about what will happen later in the story.

9. Autobiography (noun): A written account of a person's life, written by that person.

10. Connotation (noun): An additional meaning or nuance of a word, beyond its literal definition.

11. Resilient (adjective): Able to recover quickly from difficulties or setbacks.

12. Intricate (adjective): Complicated or detailed, having many interconnected parts.

13. Culmination (noun): The highest point of attainment; the end result.

14. Marginalization (noun): The process of treating a person or group as insignificant or peripheral.

15. Dilemma (noun): A difficult choice between two equally undesirable options.

16. Nuances (noun): Subtle differences or distinctions in meaning.

17. Embellishments (noun): Decorative details or additions that enhance the appearance or quality of something.

18. Accessibility (noun): The quality of being easy to understand, use, or reach.

19. Engaging (adjective): Capturing one's attention or interest; interesting and enjoyable.

20. Essence (noun): The fundamental nature or most important quality of something.

21. Balance (noun): A state of equilibrium or stability; a harmonious arrangement.

22. Conciseness (noun): The quality of being brief and to the point.

23. Adopt (verb): To choose or take on a particular name, identity, or position.

24. Embark (verb): To start or begin a course of action.


Reynolds, Matthew. "'Plain' through Language(s)." © 2023 Matthew Reynolds, CC BY-NC 4.0. Open Book Publishers, 2023. https://doi.org/10.11647/OBP.0319.18

Haddad, Stephanie S. "Echoes in Gothic Romance: Stylistic Similarities Between Jane Eyre and Rebecca." 2012, vol. 4, no. 11, pp. 1/2.

Fraiman, Susan D. Deforming Novels: Women Writers and the "Bildungsroman." Columbia University Press, 1993.

Kibin. "The Aspects of Gothic and Romantic Novels in Jane Eyre, a Novel by Charlotte Brontë." 2024. https://www.kibin.com/essay-examples/the-aspects-of-gothic-and-romantic-novels-in-jane-eyre-a-novel-by-charlotte-bront-T23ilsXn

- "The romantic aspect of the novel is apparent through Jane's idea of freedom, and her introspection. This romantic style of writing is blended with ideas of gothic novels in ways such as Rochester being a Byronic hero."

Liu, Ying. "The Significance of Bertha Mason in Jane Eyre to the Construction of the Feminist Theme." Journal of Humanities, Arts and Social Science, vol. 7, no. 3, 2023, pp. 504-507. DOI: 10.26855/jhass.2023.03.005

Earnshaw, Steven. "'Truelove': Names and Jane Eyre." Brontë Studies, vol. 36, no. 4, 2011, pp. 384-387. DOI: 10.1179/147489311X13134031101455

Wilson, Hon. Barbara. "The Brontës as Governesses." Brontë Society Transactions, vol. 9, no. 49, 1939, pp. 217–18.

Linder, C.A. "The Evolution of Form." Romantic Imagery in the Novels of Charlotte Brontë, Palgrave Macmillan, 1978. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-349-03744-5_1

Pinion, F.B. "Charlotte Brontë." A Brontë Companion. Literary Companions, Palgrave Macmillan, 1975. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-349-01745-4_3

Hoeveler, Diane Long, and Deborah Denenholz Morse, eds. "Time, Space, and Place in Charlotte Brontë."