Charlotte Brontë’s ‘Jane Eyre’ plot seems straightforward and easily graspable by all readers because it’s divided into five captivating storylines, starting from Gateshead with the protagonist Jane’s stay and maltreatment under her aunt, and ending at Ferndean with her reunion with Mr. Rochester, her true love.
‘Spoiler Free’ Jane Eyre Summary
At Gateshead, young Jane receives the most horrible treatment from her aunt, Mrs. Reed, and is bullied by her cousins, but she fights back and stands up for what she believes.
She soon gets into trouble at the hands of her aunt and is put into the scary and haunted ‘red room’ – where she screams and faints repeatedly. She is released, treated, and sent away to a disciplinary Lowood School where she meets all kinds of people, but she must leave to experience the outside society.
Sadly for her, what society forces her to become is not what she dreams of. She is forced to review her goals and fight back against whoever stands in her way of actualizing them – whether it’s family, friends, or society.
Jane Eyre Summary
Spoiler alert: Important details of the novel are revealed below
A 10 years of age, Jane gets through horrendous treatment living with her aunt, Mrs. Reed, a rich but savage widow and mother of three children, John, her only son and last child, Eliza, and Georgiana, her two daughters. Besides the maltreatment from aunt Reed, Jane likewise needs to deal with her bullish cousins – particularly with John Reed who frequently menaces her at the smallest opportunity.
Jane, before long, crosses paths with Mrs. Reed for standing up to John and is locked in a chamber called the ‘red room,’ a room wherein Mrs. Reed’s husband and Jane’s uncle had died. Jane is damaged by a potential spooky presence and responds to it by crying and swooning. Following her release, she is cared for by Bessie and Mr. Lloyd, the former being a worker at the house, and the latter, being a drug specialist who has come to treat her.
Mr. Lloyd convinces Mrs. Reed to send Jane to go to a far-off school to rid herself of Jane’s antics. Jane is registered at Lowood School, a highly religious and disciplinary school – where Jane becomes friends with Helen Burn, a modest girl who Jane admires but doesn’t want to be like. Jane also encounters terrible people like Mr. Brocklehurst, the headmaster, who preaches humility and frugality but wastes school funds on himself and his family.
After a sweep of typhus epidemic scraps through the school, killing several students – including Jane’s friend Helen Burns, Mr. Brocklehurst and his team are exposed and fired as a more competent and caring team led by Miss Temple takes over administrative positions. Jane enjoys the remaining few years, studying for six years and tutoring for two before taking up a governess offer at Thornfield manor, where she homeschools the youthful and lively Adéle, who is her boss, Mr. Rochester’s ward.
Jane finds herself falling for Mr. Rochester’s charismatic and aggressive personality. She rescues him from a fire set by Mr. Rochester’s sick wife, Bertha Mason, although Jane doesn’t know this until later as Grace Poole, a usually tipsy housekeeper, and servant, takes the blame. When Mr. Rochester brings home Blanche Ingram to get Jane jealous but proposes marriage to Jane to her shock. Jane accepts, but on the wedding day, Bertha’s brother Richard comes with a lawyer distrusting the ceremony because Mr. Rochester is currently married to his sister.
Jane is surprised to hear this and leaves Thornfield after seeing Bertha. She sleeps in the streets for three days and begs for food before crossing paths with the Rivers siblings – St. John, Mary, and Diana, who accept her into their Moor House residence. St. John helps Jane land a teaching job and helps her recover her 20,000 pounds inheritance left for Jane by John Eyre, their uncle.
He asks for Jane’s hand and to move to India with him. Jane is not sure. And as she ponders over it one night, she hears Mr. Rochester whispering telling her to return home. She leaves for Thornfield at the next light, but the manor is no more, for it’s been burnt to the ground. She finds out that Bertha set the fire and died by it, as Mr. Rochester sacrifices his sight and an arm to save his workers.
Jane finds Mr. Rochester at his new home in Ferndean and weds him. They have kids, and Mr. Rochester is fortunate enough to regain half his sight to see his first son being born. It’s their ten years in marriage, and Jane can’t be happier with the respect, equality, and honor she shares with her husband.
Is ‘Jane Eyre’ a difficult book to read?
Anyone with a good grasp of the English language can easily read Charlotte Brontë’s ‘Jane Eyre’ – even though the author opts to use long and complex sentences now and then throughout the book.
Why does Jane reject a marriage proposal from St. John Rivers?
Jane does so because she doesn’t love him, and although she cares a great deal for him and even takes time to ponder over his proposal, she just couldn’t bring herself to accept it.
In ‘Jane Eyre,’ Jane marries Mr. Rochester, is it for love or money?
Bertha, Celine, and Blanche Ingram are with Mr. Rochester at one point in time or another for his money, but not Jane, she marries him for love and not for the money.