Jane Eyre Summary
Novel begins with first person narration from the main character Jane Eyre who is a child in the scene. The scene is set at Gateshed, the home of the wealthy Reed Family who Jane (being orphaned) lives with. The scene is set on a bleak November afternoon creating an unhappy and depressing atmosphere. The audience feels pathos for Jane Eyre when we discover her aunt has forbidden her from playing with her cousins and is then conspired against and bullied particularly by her cousin John Reed. Violence is introduced when John discovers Jane sat in the drawing room, reading ‘History of British Birds’ on the window seat and he then confiscates and throws the book at Jane. Jane responds and her aunt sends her to the ‘Red room’ as punishment. In this chapter, the reader is given insight into the unhappy childhood of Jane Eyre.
Jane is forcefully escorted to the ‘Red room’ by two new characters- two servants- Bessie Lee and Miss Abbot. Once imprisoned in the room, Jane views herself in the mirror. She is shocked at what a pathetic sight she is and then reviews why she is in such a state, reflecting on how she has been constantly mistreated since she was orphaned. During this reflection of her life, she remembers her Uncle Reed who was kind to her and whose dying wish to his wife was that she look after Jane. Next Jane senses that his ghost is in this room that she is trapped in; the room that he died in and that he has returned to take revenge on his wife for breaking her promise. Jane screams out in terror but her aunt refuses to release her accusing her of acting and pretending to try to avoid her punishment. Jane then faints due to complete fear and exhaustion.
Jane wakes, disorientated and confused in her own bedroom.
Jane is kept company by the Mr Lloyd, the family apothecary (doctor) and Bessie. Jane stays in bed the next day and Bessie confesses that she has always disliked the way Jane has been treated by her aunt and sings her a song. Mr Lloyd talks to Jane about her life at Gateshead and suggests to her aunt that Jane be sent to boarding school (Jane feels nervously excited at the prospect). Jane then learns more about her heritage (overhears a conversation between Bessie and Ms Abbot); her mother was a member of the wealthy Reed family who was ‘written off’ by her father when she married the poor clergyman that was Jane’s father. They died soon after Jane was born of Typhus (Jane’s father contracted it from working with the poor)
Jane has endured around 2 months of mistreatment from her aunt and cousins as she waits for her school arrangements to be made. Jane is finally informed that she may attend the girls school Lowood and is introduced to Mr Brocklehurst (the stern headmaster) Mr Brocklehurst interrogates Jane about religion and expresses indignation when she declares it ‘uninteresting’. Jane’s aunt warns Mr Brocklehurst that Jane is deceitful and he responds by declaring his intention to make that well-known at the school upon Jane’s arrival. When Mr Brocklehurst leaves, Jane cannot help but respond to her aunts false account of her and for once Mrs Reed seems to admit defeat. Before she leaves for school, Bessie admits to Jane that she has always preferred her to the Reed children and reads her stories and sings her songs.
Jane travels to Lowood. She is lifted from Bessies arms and put on the 6am coach. Neither Mrs Reed, nor Janes’ cousins, raise to see her off. She arrives in miserable grey weather and is taken through a plain and basic building. The next day, Jane is introduced to the school, the girls and the daily routine. Jane feels warmly towards the headmistress Ms Temple, but dislikes a teacher Miss Scatcherd who she finds cruel and overly strict. She particularly notices the vendetta Miss Scatcherd has for a girl Helen Burns. Jane and Helen begin talking and Jane discovers the school is a charity school so...
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