Jane Eyre: Plot Overview
Jane Eyre may be a young orphan being raised by Mrs. Reed, her cruel, wealthy aunt. A servant named Bessie provides Jane with a number of the few kindnesses she receives, telling her stories and singing songs to her. One day, as punishment for fighting together with her bullying cousin Reed, Jane’s aunt imprisons Jane within the red-room, space during which Jane’s Uncle Reed died. While locked in, Jane, believing that she sees her uncle’s ghost, screams and faints. She wakes to seek out herself within the care of Bessie and therefore the kindly apothecary Mr. Lloyd, who suggests to Mrs. Reed that Jane be sent away to high school. To Jane’s delight, Mrs. Reed concurs.
Once at the Lowood School, Jane finds that her life is way from idyllic. The school’s headmaster is Mr. Brocklehurst, a cruel, hypocritical, and abusive man. Brocklehurst preaches a doctrine of poverty and privation to his students while using the school’s funds to supply a wealthy and opulent lifestyle for his circle of relatives. At Lowood, Jane befriends a lass named Helen Burns, whose strong, martyrlike attitude toward the school’s miseries is both helpful and displeasing to Jane. a huge typhus epidemic sweeps Lowood, and Helen dies of consumption. The epidemic also leads to the departure of Mr. Brocklehurst by attracting attention to the insalubrious conditions at Lowood. After a gaggle of more sympathetic gentlemen takes Brocklehurst’s place, Jane’s life improves dramatically. She spends eight more years at Lowood, six as a student, and two as an educator.
After teaching for 2 years, Jane yearns for brand spanking new experiences. She accepts a governess position at a manor called Thornfield, where she teaches an active French girl named Adèle. The distinguished housekeeper Mrs. Fairfax presides over the estate. Jane’s employer at Thornfield may be a dark, impassioned man named Rochester, with whom Jane finds herself falling secretly crazy. She saves Rochester from a fireplace one night, which he claims was started by a drunken servant named Grace Poole. But because Grace Poole continues to figure at Thornfield, Jane concludes that she has not been told the whole story. Jane sinks into despondency when Rochester brings home a gorgeous but vicious woman named Blanche Ingram. Jane expects Rochester to propose to Blanche. But Rochester instead proposes to Jane, who accepts almost disbelievingly.
The wedding day arrives, and as Jane and Mr. Rochester prepare to exchange their vows, the voice of Mr. Mason cries out that Rochester already features a wife. Mason introduces himself because of the brother of that wife—a woman named Bertha. Mr. Mason testifies that Bertha, whom Rochester married when he was a young man in Jamaica, remains alive. Rochester doesn’t deny Mason’s claims, but he explains that Bertha has gone mad. He takes the marriage party back to Thornfield, where they witness the insane Bertha Mason scurrying around on high-low-jack and growling like an animal. Rochester keeps Bertha hidden on the third story of Thornfield and pays Grace Poole to stay his wife in check. Bertha was the important explanation for the mysterious fire earlier within the story. Knowing that it’s impossible for her to be with Rochester, Jane flees Thornfield.
Penniless and hungry, Jane is forced to sleep outdoors and beg for food. At last, three siblings who sleep in a manor alternatively called Marsh End and Moor House take her in. Their names are Mary, Diana, and St. John (pronounced “Sinjin”) Rivers, and Jane quickly becomes friends with them. St. John may be a clergyman, and he finds Jane employment teaching at a charity school in Morton. He surprises her at some point by declaring that her uncle, John Eyre, has died and left her an outsized fortune: 20,000 pounds. When Jane asks how he received this news, he shocks her further by declaring that her uncle was also his uncle: Jane and therefore the Riverses are cousins. Jane immediately decides to share her inheritance equally together with her three newfound relatives.
St. John decides to visit India as a missionary, and he urges Jane to accompany him—as his wife. Jane agrees to travel to India but refuses to marry her cousin because she doesn’t love him. St. John pressures her to reconsider, and she or he nearly gives in. However, she realizes that she cannot abandon forever the person she truly loves when one night she hears Rochester’s voice calling her name over the moors. Jane immediately hurries back to Thornfield and finds that it’s been burned to the bottom by Bertha Mason, who lost her life within the fire. Rochester saved the servants but lost his eyesight and one among his hands. Jane travels on to Rochester’s new residence, Ferndean, where he lives with two servants named John and Mary.
At Ferndean, Rochester and Jane rebuild their relationship and shortly marry. At the top of her story, Jane writes that she has been married for ten blissful years which she and Rochester enjoys perfect equality in their life together. She says that after two years of blindness, Rochester regained sight in one eye and was ready to behold their first son at his birth.