Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

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Jane Eyre, one of the Victorian Era’s most popular novels, has continued to engage readers since its 1847 publication. It has spawned an incredible amount of adaptations, such as multiple motion pictures, a couple of musicals, a play, sequels, prequels, a web-series, and a ballet. However, it is truly the novel’s amazing success that makes the titular character, Jane Eyre, an instantly recognizable figure.
Charlotte Brontë originally published Jane Eyre: An Autobiography. The manuscript claimed that Currer Bell was the editor of the title character’s life story. Jane’s story is told, as the original title suggests, from Jane’s perspective. Charlotte Bronte’s use of the protagonist as a narrator is especially important to the telling of the story. Although Jane presents herself as a trustworthy, grounded narrator and provides explicit details and feelings that allow the reader to understand her character, Jane is not at all times reliable in the retelling of her own story, and she sometimes affects the perception the reader has of certain characters and situations.
Jane is incredibly literate, with a strong love for books that is evident from the first chapter of the novel. Jane is told to “be seated somewhere; and until you can speak pleasantly, remain silent” (5), upon which she goes and finds herself a book, Bewick’s History of British Birds, and begins to read it. In spite of the fact that this book is chosen by her due to it being “stored with pictures” (5), Jane is an obviously curious child who seeks to nourish her intellectual needs. As she grows older she continues to pursue academic expansion, and this fuels her impressive command of the Queen’s English. As a result, Jane “measures human relationships by a yar...

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Bennett, Ashly. "Shameful Signification: Narrative and Feeling in Jane Eyre." Narrative 18.3 (2010): 300-323. Rpt. in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Ed. Lawrence J. Trudeau. Vol. 280. Detroit: Gale, 2014. Literature Resource Center. Web.

Beattie, Valerie. "The Mystery at Thornfield: Representations of Madness in Jane Eyre." Studies in the Novel 28.4 (Winter 1996): 493-505. Rpt. in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Ed. Kathy D. Darrow. Vol. 228. Detroit: Gale, 2010. Literature Resource Center. Web.


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