Jane Eyre is an orphan girl growing up in the house of her aunt where her presence is resented. Her cousins make her life miserable and, ultimately, her aunt sends her off to a charity school where Jane’s tribulations continue. After surviving the misery of the school as a student, Jane becomes a teacher there. As a teacher, Jane cannot cope with the oppressive conditions at the school and resigns after two years. Later, she becomes a governess at Thornfield Hall where she develops feelings for Mr. Rochester, her employer, who is morally not as upright as Jane. By developing the story of Jane Eyre this way, Charlotte Brontë has given a female character the authority to judge the stature of individuals usually deemed superior by society. The publication of Jane Eyre was a revolutionary event in the world of belles lettres in nineteenth-century England. At that time, women occupied an inferior position in the society and the idea of a woman writing a novel was too scandalous an affair. Charlotte Brontë had to use a male pen name (Currer Bell) to publish this novel. The novel is a timeless classic for its poignancy and radically honest portrayal of a woman’s struggle to live a dignified life.
About the Author
The eldest in the famous literary trio of Brontë sisters, Charlotte Brontë was born on 21 April 1816 in Thornton, England. Having unsuccessfully tried her luck along with her sisters at running a school, Charlotte turned to writing and gave English literature such fictional masterpieces as Jane Eyre, Shirley and Villette. She also composed poetry like her sisters. They published their poetry as Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, their pseudonyms, in 1846. Charlotte married in 1854. She was pregnant when she died probably of hyperemesis gravidarum on 31 March 1855.
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