Jane Eyre -- Sparknotes

Topics: Jane Eyre / Pages: 83 (20667 words) / Published: Dec 3rd, 2011
Key Fact
Genre: A hybrid of three genres: the Gothic novel (utilizes the mysterious, the supernatural, the horrific, the romantic); the romance novel (emphasizes love and passion, represents the notion of lovers destined for each other); and the Bildungsroman (narrates the story of a character’s internal development as he or she undergoes a succession of encounters with the external world)
Time and place written: 1847, London
Date of first publication: 1847
Protagonist: Jane Eyre
Antagonist: Jane meets with a series of forces that threaten her liberty, integrity, and happiness. Characters embodying these forces are: Aunt Reed, Mr. Brocklehurst, Bertha Mason, Mr. Rochester (in that he urges Jane to ignore her conscience and surrender to passion), and St. John Rivers (in his urging of the opposite extreme). The three men also represent the notion of an oppressive patriarchy. Blanche Ingram, who initially stands in the way of Jane’s relations with Rochester, also embodies the notion of a rigid class system—another force keeping Jane from fulfilling her hopes.
Setting (time): Early decades of the nineteenth century.
Setting (place): The novel is structured around five separate locations, all supposedly in northern England: the Reed family’s home at Gateshead, the wretched Lowood School, Rochester’s manor house Thornfield, the Rivers family’s home at Moor House, and Rochester’s rural retreat at Ferndean.
Tone: Jane Eyre’s tone is both Gothic and romantic, often conjuring an atmosphere of mystery, secrecy, or even horror. Despite these Gothic elements, Jane’s personality is friendly and the tone is also affectionate and confessional. Her unflagging spirit and opinionated nature further infuse the book with high energy and add a philosophical and political flavor.
Context
Charlotte Brontë was born in Yorkshire, England on April 21, 1816. Because Charlotte’s mother died when Charlotte was five years old, Charlotte’s aunt, a devout Methodist, helped her

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