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From the Publisher"At the end we are steeped through and through with the genius, the vehemence, the indignation of Charlotte Brontë."
In early nineteenth-century England, an orphaned young woman accepts employment as a governess at Thornfield Hall, a country estate owned by the mysteriously remote Mr. Rochester.
I was glad of it: I never liked long walks, especially on chilly afternoons: dreadful to me was the coming home in the raw twilight, with nipped fingers and toes, and a heart saddened by the chidings of Bessie, the nurse, and humbled by the consciousness of my physical inferiority to Eliza, John, and Georgiana Reed.
The said Eliza, John, and Georgiana were now clustered round their mama in the drawing-room: she lay reclined on a sofa by the fireside, and with her darlings about her (for the time neither quarrelling nor crying) looked perfectly happy. Me, she had dispensed from joining the group; saying, 'She regretted to be under the necessity of keeping me at a distance; but that until she heard from Bessie, and could discover by her own observation that I was endeavouring in good earnest to acquire a more sociable and childlike disposition, a more attractive and sprightly manner,—something lighter, franker, more natural as it were—she really must exclude me from privileges intended only for contented, happy, little children.'
'What does Bessie say I have done?' I asked.
'Jane, I don't like cavillers or questioners: besides, there is something truly forbidding in a child taking up her elders in that manner. Be seated somewhere; and until you can speak pleasantly, remain silent.'
A small breakfast-room adjoined the drawing-room. I slipped in there. It contained a book-case: I soon possessed myself of a volume, taking care that it should be one stored with pictures. I mounted into the window-seat: gathering up my feet, I sat cross-legged, like a Turk; and, having drawn the red moreen curtain nearly close, I was shrined in double retirement.
Folds of scarlet drapery shut in my view to the right hand; to the left were the clear panes of glass, protecting, but not separating me from the drear November day. At intervals, while turning over the leaves of my book, I studied the aspect of that winter afternoon. Afar, it offered a pale blank of mist and cloud; near, a scene of wet lawn and storm-beat shrub, with ceaseless rain sweeping away wildly before a long and lamentable blast.
I returned to my book—Bewick's History of British Birds: the letter-press thereof I cared little for, generally speaking; and yet there were certain introductory pages that, child as I was, I could not pass quite as a blank. They were those which treat of the haunts of sea-fowl; of 'the solitary rocks and promontories' by them only inhabited; of the coast of Norway, studded with isles from its southern extremity, the Lindeness, or Naze, to the North Cape—
'Where the Northern Ocean, in vast whirls,
Boils round the naked, melancholy isles
Of farthest Thule; and the Atlantic surge
Pours in among the stormy Hebrides.'
From the eBook edition.
1. In Jane Eyre, nothing can better show a man's moral worth than the way in which he treats the women in his life. How is Rochester's character reflected in the way he treats Jane, Adele, Bertha Mason, and Miss Ingram, and in his reported treatment of Celine Varens? How is St. John's character reflected in the way he treats Jane, Miss Oliver, and Diana and Mary? Why does this serve as such a good gauge of a man's morality and worth? What other relationships serve similar functions in the novel?
2. Throughout the novel, questions of identity are raised. From her identity as an orphan and stranger in the hostile environment of Gateshead Hall to that of a ward of the church at Lowood; from her being a possible wife of Rochester, then of St. John, to being the cousin of Diana and Mary, Jane is constantly in transition. Trace these changes in identity and how they affect Jane's view of herself and the world around her. Describe the final discovery of her identity that becomes apparent in the last chapter of the novel and the events that made that discovery possible.
3. Throughout the novel, Charlotte Brontë uses biblical quotes and religious references. From the church-supported school she attended that was run by Mr. Brocklehurst to the offer of marriage she receives from St. John, she is surrounded by aspects of Christianity. How does this influence her throughout her development? How do her views of God and Christianity change from her days as a young girl to the end of the novel? How is religion depicted in the novel, positively or negatively?
4. Many readers of Jane Eyre feel that the story is composed of two distinct parts, different in tone and purpose. The first part (chapters 1-11) concerns her childhood at Gateshead and her life at Lowood; the second part is the remainder of the story. Is creating such a division justified? Is there a genuine difference of tone and purpose between the two sections as they have been described? Some critics and readers have suggested that the first part of Jane Eyre is more arresting because it is more directly autobiographical. Do you find this to be true?
5. Upon publication, great speculation arose concerning the identity of the author of Jane Eyre, known only by the pen name Currer Bell. Questions as to the sex of the author were raised, and many critics said that they believed it to be the work of a man. One critic of her time said, "A book more unfeminine, both in its excellence and defects, it would be hard to find in the annals of female authorship. Throughout there is masculine power, breadth and shrewdness, combined with masculine hardness, coarseness, and freedom of expression." Another critic of the day, Elizabeth Rigby, said that if it was the product of a female pen, then it was the writing of a woman "unsexed." Why was there such importance placed on the sex of the author and why was it questioned so readily? What does it mean that people believed it to be the product of a man rather than of a woman?
6. Scenes of madness and insanity are among the most important plot devices in Jane Eyre. From the vision Jane sees when locked in the bedroom at Gateshead to her hearing the "goblin laughter" she attributes to Grace Poole, to the insanity and wretchedness of Bertha Mason, madness is of central importance to the plot and direction of the story. Give examples of madness in the text, and show how they affect the reader's understanding of the character experiencing the madness and how these examples affect the reader's understanding of the characters witnessing it.
7. There is probably no single line in the whole of Jane Eyre that has, in itself, attracted as much critical attention as the first line of the last chapter: "Reader, I married him." Why is the phrasing of this line so important? How would the sense be different-for the sentence and for the novel as a whole-if the line read, "Reader, we were married"?
Posted April 16, 2008
This book was amazing, truly fantastic! All my classmates gave me weird looks because it looked strange 'im in 8th grade' but I ignored them and read it anyway and it was just, just, I can't say, you know! the ending made me so happy that i cryed, crazy huh? I handed it to my teacher and gushed, 'it was beautiful, so beautiful!' 'it was her copy' so if your some random person looking to see if this book is good, IT IS. If a kid as younge as me can appreciate it fully, you have to understand how utterly perfect it is! Read read! ^ ^
51 out of 60 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 28, 2009
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I read this book for my AP English class; we all kind of dreaded it whe we first heard. I was once told by a friend that it was horrible and that I should never, ever read it. I did, anyway, and I was thoroughly surprised and I enjoyed every bit of it!
Knowing very little about the plot (I'd only been told there's a crazy person in an attic --- which I forgot about), or even Bronte's writing style, I read the first ten chapters with shock and awe that the story was about a ten-year-old. Although the entire book is not about a ten-year-old, I was quickly taken with the plot and characters and just descriptions of England at that time.
This book read quickly with alternately likeable and despicable characters, unusual language, and beautiful plot.
My only complaint is that one character, Adele, speaks chiefly in French. I was lucky enough to be taking French classes while reading this, so I could piece together what she was essentially saying. What she says is not of a whole lot of importance, but it does bring the book to a halt at times.
All in all, Jane Eyre exceeded my expectations by leaps and bounds and I enjoyed reading it immensely.
42 out of 44 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 17, 2010
Not worth it as a free book. Tons of errors due to scanning without proof-reading. This was the second book from Google Books I've had problems with. Pay to read the B&N version.
22 out of 53 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 12, 2006
It is very disconcerting for me to see such negative reviews about a book which has elevated literature throughout the world. This book is a challenging read, however it has the potential to expand one's mind by making a person think in an entirely new way. It is a book full of suspense, mystery, and romance. Charlotte Bronte uses words in the most discriptive manner and gives us a heroine who is complex on the inside, yet plain on the outside. It is singlehandedly one of the best classical books of all time and it should be required reading for everyone.
19 out of 22 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 10, 2009
Jane Eyre is quite possibly one of my favorite books, one that I have read many times. I bought this edition because I thought the cover was pretty and the fantastic price. Bronte's original text is flawless (although Hindustani is spelled differently in my other copy)I give Bronte 5 stars, however, the introduction by Joyce Carol Oates is terrible. I found it choppy and not that relevant to the story. I don't believe for two seconds that Bertha Mason's insanity was caused by syphilis. I just don't. I also don't buy that Jane thinks human love is more important than God. If she did why did she spend so much time on her knees in prayer? Not one summary, review or movie version I have seen of this story acknowledges any sort of higher power in a non nutcase way. What a shame, I think Bronte should get more credit and less speculation. Let's just take it in the context she wished. I feel better after venting my opinions, bottom line if you want a good copy of Jane Eyre this will work, just ignore the introduction.
14 out of 17 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I just read a WONDERFUL book entitled "The Thirteeth Tale" and the author referenced Jane Eyre numerous times in the book, so I needed to know why this book was referenced so much and I picked up the book as soon as I finished "The Thirteenth Tale." I had no expectation when I began the book. In my opinion Jane Eyre truly lives up to it's "classic" classification. It is has romance, drama, thrills and in the end I could not read it fast enough to see what happened to Jane. It is very, very well written and was way ahead of it's time when originally published in 1847. I highly recommend this book.
13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 15, 2010
Jane Eyre is one of those books you can start anywhere anytime and get so incredibly caught up in the story that you never want to stop reading. I've read this book more than fifteen times and have written multiple research papers on it. The characters are well developed, even smaller ones. Jane is a very strong female character, as is Mr. Rochester. The love story between the two does not dominate Jane's character; she remains true to herself regardless of the situation. This truly is a novel written for all women and should be read by all.
8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 20, 2009
I Also Recommend:
Jane Eyre is one of the best classic romance novels I have ever read. As we follow Jane through her harshly brought up childhood to the challenges of her adulthood, we see not only the development of her identity but also the merging of minds between herself and her strange but intelligent employer. Ah, but there is a secret that destroys everything expected! Read this book if you enjoy romance with literary value.
7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 9, 2009
It can't get any better than Jane Eyre. All of Charlotte Bronte's novels are great, but this one is uncomparable to anything else I have ever read. The writing style, authentic female author, and exciting plot make this novel fascinating every time I read it.
7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 30, 2010
This book was the longest and most boring book I have read. It is basically two stories that are thrown together into one. It could have been better if the author, Charlotte Bronte, would have made two separate books instead of one. One of the few things that I found interesting about the book was that it relates to the story of Cinderella. At the beginning Jane lives with her aunt and three cousins who could be the evil stepmother and stepsisters. Eventually she meets Mr. Rochester who, if he were more handsome, could be Prince Charming. Bessie Lee, Maria Temple, or Alice Fairfax could be the fairy godmother.
The plot is interesting and full of surprises. If Charlotte Bronte stopped talking about random things and built up to the major events it would have been better. I would read fifty pages before the next important thing happened. My time was wasted when I read those fifty pages simply because they were spent talking about worthless event and things that did not build up to the important parts of the plot. There were a few strange and disturbing parts. In one of them a mad woman told a man that she was sucking the blood from his heart. While she said this she bit him and tried to suck the blood from his heart. People thought he was stabbed until the doctor found the bite marks. One of the things that made this seem even more disturbing was the descriptive writing that Charlotte Bronte used. She had many long sentences with lots of descriptive words in them. The long sentences seemed to make time go by very slowly. The characters did not have much of a personality. Most of them were stubborn, negative people who spent their time hurting themselves and others. They do not know how to solve their problems. As a result only one problem is solved in the end while there are another ten problem that never got fixed. The characters were boring and annoying.
One of the few things that I enjoyed in this book was the description of the setting. I was able to imagine all the places that Mr. Rochester visited. She described England as being a very green and lush place full of beautiful birds, flowers, and amazing scenery.
This is definitely not a fast read. I would only recommend this book to people who often look forward to a very long and challenging read that has large descriptive words in every sentence.
5 out of 26 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I LOVED this book. Jane Eyre is the respectable, yet fiery lady that I wish I could be. It begins with a stormy and well written childhood, and within a few chapters I couldn't put the book down. I've read classics that I was disappointed in, but this is truly worthy of the title "classic". The love story is so pure, and well worth waiting for. Mr. Rochester seems so unlikable at first, but you just can't help falling inlove with him as the book goes on. I wasn't crazy about St. John. but his purpose was necessary to give you a scare. This book gives great insight to the condition of living for women during this time period. Thank God things have changed. I would've been strung up by my toenails if Reverend Brocklehurst had spoke to me the way he spoke to little Jane. After I read it, I wanted more even though the ending was perfect and filling. Beautifully written characters, and C. Bronte's style of writing is fantastic. I did have to keep a dictionary by my side through most of the book, but I'm not a brilliant kind of gal. The improvement of my vocabulary could only be a plus though. Thank you Miss Charlotte Bronte for this timeless piece of work.
4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 1, 2010
I read this book for the first time at age 30. I was a little reluctant, expecting to be disappointed since it's supposed to be a great "coming of age" story, leading me to think I should've read it when I was much younger. No regrets here...this book is appropriate for any age, and by the end of the book, had leaped right to the top of my all-time favorites list. Highly recommended.
4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 30, 2010
This Charlotte Bronte novel is a wonderful read. I enjoyed everything about this book. It kept me captivated until the very last page. I would recommend Jane Eyre to all readers!
4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 15, 2009
As a young adult my review may seem slightly ignorant and perhaps bias but as an avid reader,the book Jane Erye was a recommended to me as a must read. In my opinion the book is more like a, must leave on the shelf. Decoding Bronte's seventeenth century lingo would be like decoding rocket science if I were unfamiliar with reading.Jane Eyre's rather plain appearance made the novel a tad bit more realistic.The harsh realities she encountered throughout her life are expressed as she unfolds her story of depression to sucession and were less than worth while reading. Bronte's imagery managed to take me to ecstasy as she took me from Britians harshest winter to it's most endearing spring.<BR/>However her excessive wording and excruciatingly complex language really just.. Turned me off. Bronte's fairytale of being rewarded after enduring the worst of life and keeping faith to her religion are few of the many themes within this classic piece. Although the novel is best to be read in your own time,(or on a rainy/snowy day)the very detailed descriptions are not as bad in some areas and the book took me to a place completely different from home. The ending was the peak of me growing irate over such a common and cheesey ideal ending. Bronte often manages to keep readers interested then wanders off topic and begins to bore them, then right before you fall asleep she grabs you back in. Even though I would never dare buy this book as a gift for anyone in their right mind! This is a book I love to hate.
4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 12, 2010
This is a great classical book for high school and college students. It is one of the few classics that has a satisfying ending. The notes found in the Barnes and Noble edition are very helpful.
3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 23, 2001
I love Jane Eyre. If I were rating Jane Eyre I would give it six stars out of five. (No that's not a typo.) However, do not buy this book. Buy Jane Eyre, by all means, just don't buy this version of it. There are about five typos a page and by the time I finished the novel, I was so frustrated with the mis-prints I could have screamed. And the cover does the book no justice. The clothing of the woman on the cover is of a different time period than Eyre. The back summary is also hugely misleading and makes this fantastic classic sound more like a trashy romance novel than the brilliantly beautiful work that it truly is. But, do buy Jane Eyre. I have never been so moved by a work of literature than by this book. I cannot praise this book enough, mere words do it no justice.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 5, 2012
Posted January 4, 2011
The audiobook mentioned was a selling point for me. It isn't a file, but a text internet address on the very last page of the ebook that the nook does not recognize as a hyperlink. Apparently this guy Sam Ngo went and found the free ebook with illustrations and also found a free audiobook file on an archive website somewhere and wrote out the file's internet address on the last page of the book and epub'd it. You would have to look up the file online from your computer, download the audiobook and physically hook up your nook to transfer the file from your computer to your nook. So why pay this guy 1.99? Just go out and find the free files yourself. Probably deleting this. Oh and you have to laugh when the guy says "money back guaranteed... just email us" and then he doesn't give you and email address.
2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 5, 2010
Jane Erye is a romantic piece of literary work that describes the life of a woman. I taught this novel to 12th graders and even the males enjoyed the mystery and intrigue of one of the main characters. A must read!!
2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 20, 2007
I am in 8th grade and I have to read this book for my English class. This book is really slow paced and one chapter seems to go on and on about little unimportant things. It is also too old fashioned for me. Not my type of book.
2 out of 13 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.