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Jane Eyre. By Charlotte Bronte. Introduction. Jane Eyre is a Victorian novel that chronicles a woman’s quest for love and search for identity. First published in 1847, the book became a bestseller and established a platform for feminist writing in the nineteenth century.

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Jane Eyre


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  1. Jane Eyre By Charlotte Bronte

  2. Introduction • Jane Eyre is a Victorian novel that chronicles a woman’s quest for love and search for identity. First published in 1847, the book became a bestseller and established a platform for feminist writing in the nineteenth century.

  3. Notes: Charlotte Bronte • Born in Yorkshire, England on April 21, 1816 • One of six children to an impoverished country clergyman • Much of Jane Eyre is autobiographical. Like Jane Eyre, Charlotte: • Had a mother who died at a young age • Was sent to the Clergy Daughters’ School at Cowen Bridge, a place with harsh conditions • Went to boarding school at a place (called Roe Head) where she later became a teacher • Served in various governess positions • Fell in love with a married man • Was unmarried for most of her life • Was considered plain in appearance

  4. Notes: Charlotte Bronte • After recovering from unrequited love for a married professor, Charlotte returned to England and collaborated with her sisters in publishing Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell (the pseudonyms of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne) in 1846. • The book sold only two copies, but Charlotte published Jane Eyre in 1847. • The novel became an instant success, but her pseudonym rendered Charlotte unable to enjoy any fame or attention. • All her siblings died in quick succession, leaving her and her father the sole survivors of the Brontë family. • Charlotte later wrote Shirley (1849), and Villette(1853). • She became the wife of her father’s curate, Arthur Bell Nichols in 1853 but died a few months after the marriage.

  5. Notes: Genre • ROMANTIC • a passion for human emotion • the idea that comfort and healing can be found through nature • a need for individuality, despite social norms that demanded conformity • a belief in the supernatural • the advocacy of free thought • GOTHIC • an intensity of emotion • somber, gloomy surroundings • using weather to depict a character's mood • giving nature the power to destroy

  6. Notes: Genre • TRANSCENDENTALISM • a focus on self-reliance and intuition • a belief that the divine/God was present in everything, especially Nature and the individual; therefore, each person had the capacity to find God within him or herself. These beliefs become more prominent as the novel progresses. • BILDUNGSROMAN (or “coming of age”)

  7. Class Discussion Question • Explain how Jane Eyre fits the description of a bildungsroman(or “coming of age”) novel.

  8. Group Analysis • Directions: • Take some time to research your assigned question with your group members. • Compile a one-page response that effectively addresses the question and provides at least THREE examples of textual support. • Designate one of your group members to be the “presenter.” This person will relay your response to the class.

  9. Group #1: Discussion Question • Throughout the book, Jane is described as “plain” or unattractive. Despite this, she is heralded as one of the major heroines in fiction. Analyze the heroic qualities of Jane’s CHARACTER.

  10. Group #2: Discussion Question • Discuss the differentSETTINGS: Gateshead, Lowood, Thornfield, Moor House, and Ferndean Manor. Explain the impact each locale has on Jane’s growth and development.

  11. Group #3: Discussion Question • Analyze Jane and Rochester's relationship. What makes them successful together? How does their relationship differ from the one she has with St. John Rivers?

  12. Group #4: Discussion Question • Consider the MOTIFS of dreams and the supernatural in the novel. What role do these two elements play in the characters’ lives and decisions?

  13. Group #5: Discussion Question • Jane Eyre tells her own story in the novel. How important isPOINT OF VIEW in the book? How might the story have been different if it had been told from a different perspective?

  14. Group #6: Discussion Question • Write three THEME statements that adequately summarize the central messages in the novel and explain each in detail. Consider the following theme topics: love vs. independence, social class, gender relations, identity, and religion.

  15. Class Discussion Question • Would you recommend Jane Eyre to a friend? Why or why not? • As a summer read, was it more or less difficult?