Notes on Jane Eyre
1. Having lost both her parents soon after
birth, Jane had to endure 10 years of persecution by her aunt, Mrs. Reed, before she is
sent away to Lowood School. What is the source of her suffering early years and the
strength of the character that emerges from it? What gives her the strength to be honest
2. At Lowood Miss Temple and Helen befriend her
with kindness she has outlived the need for cruelty and it has bred a strong,
self-reliant, shy, unpretentious, kind character in her. Mrs. Reeds prejudice and
meanness is replaced by Miss Temples objectivity and fairness, which Jane acquires
3. Her best friend, Helen, dies of TB
Jane still carries misfortunre. From Helen she acquires a pure and simple goodness and
faith in God.
4. When Brocklehurst loses his position and
power over the school after the fatal plague, Jane is finally freed from persecution and
enjoys more humane treatment for the first time in her life. Evil gives rise to good.
5. Rochester falls and injures his leg at first
sight of her. She is there to help Rochester when he falls from the horse
foreshadowing her future role in helping lift him from the depths to which he later falls
6. She is awakened in the night and there to
save Rochesters life when his wife Bertha starts the fire in his room.
7. Her aunt, who banished her and so mistreated
her, is forced by conscience to call her back and reveal the existence of her uncles
8. It is actually Jane who professes her love
(proposes), not Rochester. He has teased and taunted her into expressing her emotions,
placing the onus on her out of his sense of guilt that what he does is wrong.
9. The chestnut tree Rochester proposes to her
under is destroyed by lightning the very same night, split in two, signifying their own
10. The marriage veil which Rochester gave her is
destroyed. This was the sole gift she had accepted, she who wanted to avoid all semblance
of social artifice and device. It gets destroyed. She refused to be what he wants to
pretend she is.
11. The night before their wedding, she dreams of
carrying a small baby down a long road looking for Rochester and then sees Thornfield Hall
burnt to the ground and deserted.
12. When she is on the verge of marrying a bigamist, Mason comes to warn her
and prevent a violation of her conscience. Jane being sincerely frank and good, she is
protected from believing his false representations.
13. Jane is brought at the moment of desperation
and starvation to the very house of her sole living relatives.
14. On the verge of surrendering to St.
Johns demands for marriage, she hears Rochesters call which he actually issues
at that very moment, and he hears her response. Their love is that true and intense.
15. When Jane rejects a married Rochester and
runs away, the same night Bertha burns down the hall and jumps to her death and Rochester
loses an arm and use of both eyes.
16. Jane has genuine affection, goodness and
complete lack of vindictiveness, even against Mrs. Reed and her family. Her goodness
attracts affection from good people such as Miss Temple and later St John and his sisters.
17. Her generosity reveals in giving away 75% of
her money. She receives the generosity of St. John and his sisters and her uncle whom she
has never met.
18. Her joy in discovering family is much greater
than her joy in inheriting money.
19. Her unpretentious character refuses
Rochesters efforts to dress her up and pass her off as a glamorous high society
woman for her marriage. She insists on being her plain old simple self and being accepted
for that alone.
20. Both she and Rochester have extraordinary
insight into character and are able to read people perceptively from their facial
expressions and behavior.
21. Jane has a wonderful frankness that charms by
being completely free of both pretense and malice as when she readily says she does not
find him handsome.
22. She has the strength of personality,
intelligence and skill to handle Rochester when he demands and threatens she stay with him
after confessing he is already married. Her frankness and strength is what he admires so
much in her.
23. She so admires strength, that she nearly
succumbs to St. Johns demands that she marry him, even though there is no emotion on
24. With his extraordinary insight into human
nature, how could he have failed to understand his wife Bertha before marrying her?
25. He is strong, passionate, intelligent
26. He uses strength and roughness to bully
people. Jane is the first to not be intimidated by him.
27. His goodness is shown by his adopting Adele
and maintaining his mad wife instead of abandoning her and his efforts to save her life
during the fire, which cost him an arm and an eye.
28. Janes genuine affection enables him to
recover vision in one eye.
29. He is idealistic, honest, proper, dogmatic,
ambitious and incapable of affectionate emotions.
30. His natural goodness is demonstrated by the
generosity with which he takes in Jane and cares for her when she falls on his doorstep.
He shows the same care in tending to the needs of his parishioners, regardless of the
risks to his own health.
31. His refusal to reveal that he is also an Eyre
speaks of his genuine unselfishness and idealism.
32. He is passionately committed to sacrifice
himself for the upliftment of the heathens, whatever the risks to himself. His
intense ambition is to please God and be righteous according to his own understanding.
33. He resorts to vital power and domination to
claim Jane when he cannot do it by reason.
34. Jane is unable to marry Rochester until he is
maimed and blinded and she comes into an inheritance. The social gap between them was too
wide to be bridged without his falling even further (after marrying a mad woman) and her
35. Both Jane and Rochester have suffered greatly
in their earlier lives. She by Mrs. Reeds treatment and the rigors of Lowood School;
he by his fathers preference for his brother and marriage to a mad woman. Can we say
that their shared suffering is a source of their attraction and sympathy?
36. How can a girl who suffered ill treatment
from the time of her birth emerge with such genuine emotions and natural goodness, devoid
of vindictiveness or meanness?
37. How can a man who has such keen insight into
human nature have married so blindly and foolishly?
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