Book review: Jane Eyre

Agys Práce studentů

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë written in 1847[1]  is a story of an orphan girl (Jane Eyre) who is under the care of her abusive Aunt Mrs. Reed and cousins.  “You think I have no feelings, and that I can live without one bit of love or kindness; but I cannot live so; and you have no pity. I shall remember how you thrust me back—roughly and violently thrust me back into the red-room, and locked me up there—to my dying day; though I was in agony; … And that punishment you made me suffer because your wicked boy struck me…People think you a good woman; but you are bad—hard-hearted.”[2] Jane says this to Mrs. reed after a fight between Jane and her cousin John which John had started when he struck her over the head with a book. Mrs. reed then blames Jane and locks her in the red room. Jane is then sent away to Lowood school a charity school run by a cruel and mean Headmaster. And suffers abuse there as well.

After years of attending Lowood charity school Jane starts working as a governess to a young girl at Thornfield hall an estate owned by Mr. Rochester (Mr. Edward Rochester) A tall, unapproachable, and outspoken man with a dark secret. Jane first meets Edward Rochester when out delivering a letter for Mrs. Fairfax. Edward is on a visit to his estate when his horse slips on the ice and falls, causing the horse to fall on its side and injure Edwards‘ foot. Jane then helps Edward. “He had a dark face, with stern features and a heavy brow…He was past youth but had not reached middle age; perhaps he might be thirty-five. I felt no fear of him…Had he been a handsome, heroic-looking young gentleman, I should not have dared to stand thus questioning him against his will and offering my services unasked “[3]. This Is what Janes thinks of Edward when she first sees him. Only after she returns to the estate does Jane realize that she had helped the owner of the estate.

From the beginning Edward and Jane met they had a connection. Edward is one of the first men Jane interacts with in her life because of attending an all-girl school and she realizes she feels comfortable and confident around him.  Edward also admires Janes strong and fiery personality as she challenges him. Even though Edward told Jane about his dark past she still believed under his mean facade he was a good man. “I believed he was naturally a man of better tendencies…I thought there were excellent materials in him, though, for the present, they hung together somewhat spoiled and tangled.”[4]

After then Edward and Jane started spending lots of time together. After an argument they both reveal their love for one another. Edward then asks Jane to marry him. Edward hesitated to marry Jane because at the time marrying an employee wasn’t common. But Edward believed marrying Jane would make up for going against society. “It will atone—it will atone. Have I not found her friendless, and cold, and comfortless? Is there not love in my heart, and constancy in my resolves? It will expiate at God’s tribunal. I know my Maker sanctions what I do. For the world’s judgment—I wash my hands thereof. For man’s opinion—I defy it.”[5] Jane replies „Are you in earnest? Do you truly love me? Do you sincerely wish me to be your wife?“ „I do; and if an oath is necessary to satisfy you, I swear it. „Then, sir, I will marry you.“[6] Though Jane has doubts that their love will last, she agrees.


On the day of their wedding Edward decides to show Jane the truth and brings her into a small, locked room on the third floor. His wife Bertha is in this room. Bertha has primarily psychiatric disease which causes her to act inhumane. And Edward cannot unmarry her. After showing Jane, Edward tells her “To tell me that I had already a wife is empty mockery; you know now that I had but a hideous demon. I was wrong to attempt to deceive you; but I feared a stubbornness that exists in your character…This was cowardly; I should have appealed to your nobleness and magnanimity at first…shown to you, not my resolution (that word is weak), but my resistless bent to love faithfully and well, where I am faithfully and well-loved in return.”[7] After Jane discovers the truth and realizes it is impossible for her to be with Edward, she runs away.

After being on her own for days looking for a job and having no success Jane stumbles upon a lit-up house in the distance (owned by the river family.) She collapses on the doorstep and meets St. John rivers. He offers her shelter as well as a job as schoolmistress. After working there for a while St. John plans on becoming a missionary in India and tries to get Jane to go with him as his wife. “God and nature intended you for a missionary’s wife. It is not personal but mental endowments they have given you; you are formed for labor, not love. A missionary’s wife you must—shall be. You shall be mine; I claim you—not for my pleasure, but for my Sovereign’s service.”[8] He states that she fits the part of a missionary’s wife. Though Jane doesn’t want to be formed for labor and wanted to be loved. She decides to go but not as his wife.

Then one night Jane hears Edwards‘ voice calling her name. She decides to go back to Thornfield but upon her arrival she sees it had been burned down just as she had predicted in her dream. Jane is told that the estate was burned down by Edwards‘ wife bertha, first burning down the estate and then committing suicide and that Edward had lost his eyesight and hand in the accident. And is now living in Fern dean. Jane immediately goes to visit Ferndean and sees Edward looking unhappy. She reveals who she is, and Edward and Jane are happily reunited “There was no harassing restraint, no repressing of glee and vivacity, with him; for with him I was at perfect ease, because I knew I suited him; all I said or did seemed either to console or revive him. Delightful consciousness! It brought to life and light my whole nature; in his presence I thoroughly lived, and he lived in mine. Blind as he was, smiles played over his face, joy dawned on his forehead; his lineaments softened and warmed.” The moment they reunited; both were overwhelmed with happiness. Because of Bertha’s death they were now eligible for marriage, they are happily married for ten years and Edward even regains sight in one eye and can see their first-born son.

The main characters in this book are Jane Eyre, Edward Rochester, Mrs. Reed, and St John.

Jane Eyre is the woman whose life the book is about. She is an intelligent, plain and simple girl who has ambitions of her own. And throughout her life she is abused and manipulated. Even so Jane continues to maintain her morals. And meets a man who she falls in love with.

Edward Rochester is a rich man, much older and experienced than Jane. He is stern and sarcastic. He provides the book with suspense and excitement. As he is the love interest of Jane and Jane’s first love.

St John is reserved and quiet man who helped Jane after she ran away from Thornfield. He almost acts as another possible love interest. But he is more of a friendly figure.

And Mrs. Reed is Janes abusive and coldhearted aunt who was her caregiver for her after her parents died until Jane got sent away to Lowood school at ten years old.

In my opinion I really enjoyed the book, the book is from an old era of time and it transports you into a world when life was so much different to what it is today. I really enjoyed the romance of the book as well as heartbreak. Though it wasn’t a traditional love story the connections between Edward and Jane are so romantic. I loved the vocabulary, which makes it much more mature and complex. Of course, it isn’t easy to read since the old English language has changed since then. Janes hardships in the book show Jane become strong and independent. Even though she suffered so much in her life it was like Edward was her reward to bring her the love into her life that was missing before.



BRONTË, Charlotte. Jana Eyrová. Přeložil Petra DIESTLEROVÁ. V Praze: CooBoo, 2019. CooBoo Classics. ISBN 978-80-7544-905-4.


[2] chapter 4: page 9

[3] chapter 12, page 5

[4] chapter 15, page 6

[5] chapter 23

[6] chapter 23 page 304 of the book

[7] chapter 27, page 31

[8] chapter 34, page 483 of the book