Jane Eyre is a young orphan being raised by Mrs. Reed, her cruel, wealthy aunt. A servant named Bessie provides Jane with some of the few kindnesses she receives, telling her stories and singing songs to her. One day, as a result of Jane fainting from her punishment for fighting with her bullying cousin John Reed, she wakes to find herself in the care of Bessie and the kindly apothecary Mr. Lloyd, who suggests to Mrs. Reed that Jane be sent away to school. To Jane’s delight, Mrs. Reed approves of the idea.
Once at the Lowood School, Jane finds that her life is far from perfect. The school’s headmaster is Mr. Brocklehurst, a cruel, hypocritical, and abusive man. While Brocklehurst preaches about the principles of poverty and privation to his students, he uses the school’s funds to provide a wealthy and luxurious lifestyle for his own family. Jane soon befriends a young girl named Helen Burns, whose strong, martyr like attitude toward the unpleasant events at school is both helpful and displeasing to Jane. However, as a result of a massive typhus epidemic, Helen dies of consumption and Mr. Brocklehurst leaves the school. After a group 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 a teacher.
Yet, Jane’s passion for new experiences leads her to a governess position at a manor called Thornfield, where she teaches a lively French girl named Adele and meets the housekeeper Mrs. Fairfax, who governs the estate. Jane’s employer at Thornfield is a dark, passionate man named Rochester, with whom Jane finds herself falling secretly in love. When she saves Mr.Rochester from a fire one night, which he claims was started by a drunken servant named Grace Poole, because Grace Poole continues to work at Thornfield, Jane concludes that she has not been told the entire story. Jane sinks into despair when Mr.Rochester... [continues]
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