What is the red-room?

The red-room is the abandoned chamber in Gateshead Hall where Mr. Reed, Jane’s uncle, died nine years prior to the start of the novel. The red-room has a foreboding, frightening atmosphere that terrifies Jane when Mrs. Reed locks her inside as punishment. In addition to its connection with death and garish red decor, the room is cold and silent, heightening Jane’s terror. Her terror climaxes when she imagines Uncle Reed’s ghost in the room, and she fears that he has appeared to take revenge on Mrs. Reed for her poor treatment of Jane.

How does Lowood change?

After a typhus outbreak kills many Lowood students, members of the public demand an inquiry into how the infection spread so rapidly. This investigation brings the school’s deplorable conditions to light. Wealthy benefactors find a new group of overseers to replace Mr. Brocklehurst and run the school. Although Mr. Brocklehurst remains treasurer of the school because of his wealth and connections, he no longer has the power to dictate the conditions of Lowood, and the school transforms into an upright institution.

Why did Mr. Rochester marry Bertha Mason?

Mr. Rochester married Bertha Mason in order to gain possession of her family’s wealth and rise in socioeconomic status. As the younger brother in his family, he would not inherit his own family’s estate and therefore had to marry a woman with a fortune of her own. His father knew the Masons to be a notable merchant family in the West Indies, and, enamored by Bertha’s beauty and thirty-thousand-pound inheritance, Mr. Rochester quickly agreed to marry her. Only after their marriage, as he claims in his explanation to Jane, did he come to discover the history of madness that ran in the Mason women and the fact that his father and brother knew this secret all along.

What is Adèle’s connection to Mr. Rochester?

Adèle is Mr. Rochester’s ward and the daughter of Céline Varens. Céline was Rochester’s mistress during his time in France, but Rochester cut her off after discovering Céline cheating with another man. Céline claims Adèle is his daughter, but the truth of his paternity remains ambiguous. Rochester doesn’t believe Adèle is his, and Jane emphasizes that Adèle bears no resemblance to Rochester. Nevertheless, Rochester agrees to take responsibility for the girl regardless of her parentage.

How does Helen influence Jane’s understanding of religion?

During their time together at Lowood, Helen shows Jane a completely different version of Christianity than what she had previously been exposed to. Helen’s faith is far more forgiving, both in regards to the self and to others, and allows her to navigate her difficult life with understanding and empathy. She explains to Jane in Chapter 6, for example, that “life appears to [her] too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs” when it comes to the meanness that Mrs. Reed has inflicted on her. Helen’s belief that all spirits become good and pure after their corruptible bodies die also allows her to find forgiveness for those who wrong her. These outlooks give Jane the opportunity to view her past life with the Reeds in a new way, and they will influence how she continues to view the world moving forward.

Why does Jane fall in love with Rochester?

Jane falls in love with Rochester because he provides her with a space in which she can openly share her opinions and engage in dialogue, an opportunity that rarely existed for her during her youth. From the beginning of her time at Thornfield, he treats her less like a household servant and more like a companion with whom he can have meaningful conversations. Rochester, albeit somewhat drunk, even admits that he forgot Jane was earning a salary during one of their first extended conversations. As Rochester continues to confide in Jane, the allure of being valued, both for her physical presence and her intellect, causes her to fall in love with him despite his flaws.

Why does Rochester dress up as a fortune teller?

In Chapters 18 and 19, Mr. Rochester dresses up as a fortune teller in order to learn more about Jane’s feelings regarding her life at Thornfield Hall and, more importantly, himself. He interviews the evening’s guests, including Blanche Ingram, before calling upon Jane for an interview. Buried underneath a cloak and a large hat, Rochester asks probing questions about what she dreams about as she works at Thornfield, how she feels about the men at the house, and what she thinks about marriage. He even goes so far as to tell Jane that Rochester and Blanche Ingram are going to be married in order to get a reaction from her. The ruse comes to an end, however, when Jane spots ring on the fortune teller’s finger that she knows is Rochester’s.

Why is Bertha Mason locked in the attic at Thornfield Hall?

Rochester explains to Jane that he locked Bertha in the guarded attic to hide the secret of their marriage as he returned to England from the West Indies and to prevent her from harming others. After a miserable four years of living with whom he perceived to be a madwoman, Rochester’s desire for independence drove him to pull Bertha out of the only home she’s ever known. He emphasizes in Chapter 27 that he desired to keep her “in safety and comfort” by providing her with her own space and an attendant, Grace Poole, dedicated to her keeping. Despite these seemingly good intentions, Rochester’s continual demonization of Bertha suggests that, in reality, he wanted to make her disappear.

Why does Jane leave Thornfield Hall?

Jane leaves Thornfield Hall so she can avoid the temptation of becoming Rochester’s mistress. Throughout her conversation with Rochester after their aborted wedding, Jane struggles with the fact that she still loves Rochester. When she avoids Rochester’s kiss, Jane admits that it is because he has a wife, Bertha Mason, and Jane feels guilty about loving a married man. After the conversation, Jane has a vision of her mother encouraging her to flee temptation, so she follows her moral conscience and sneaks out.

Why does the novel’s title page introduce the work as “An Autobiography”?

Although Jane Eyre is not literally an autobiography, Charlotte Brontë’s choice to label the novel as such emphasizes the prominence of retrospective narration, or reflective storytelling, throughout. The reader discovers Jane’s character along with her as she grows up over the course of the novel, but she also reflects on and contextualizes certain moments as a way of asserting her power over the way in which her story is told. Bronte limits her presence as the author, both by using a pseudonym, Currer Bell, and listing herself as a mere editor of the work. This strategy gives Jane a more authentic voice and supports her identity as an independent woman who embraces her agency. 

Why does Jane decline St. John River’s marriage proposal?

Jane declines St. John’s offer to go to India as his wife because she does not want to marry him. Although she fears the possibility of dying in India as a missionary, her greater fear is the loveless life guaranteed by marriage to St. John. Jane notes that his exacting and overly practical nature would suffocate her, and the reality that they do not love each other makes the thought of marriage intolerable.

How does Jane respond to learning about her inheritance?

Rather than viewing her newly-acquired inheritance as an opportunity to change her life, Jane responds in a very pragmatic manner. She acknowledges the significance of her fortune in Chapter 33 but downplays her emotional response, telling readers that “there are other chances in life far more thrilling and rapture-giving.” In other words, she believes that there are moments in life more meaningful than her acquisition of twenty thousand pounds. Jane lets this principle guide her as she insists that the fortune be divided up evenly among her cousins, her goal being to offer them the same kind of independence that she aspires to. To her, giving the gift of agency and possibility to others is worth more than a fortune.

How does Mr. Rochester go blind?

Near the end of the novel, Jane learns from an innkeeper that Mr. Rochester has gone blind due to a fire at Thornfield Hall. He explains that Bertha had set the house ablaze, jumping off the roof in a final act of rebellion as Mr. Rochester tried to guide everyone else out of the house. He sustained injuries to his face as Thornfield Hall fell to pieces around him, causing him to lose one eye altogether and lose vision in the other.

Is Jane Eyre considered a feminist novel?

Jane Eyre is considered a feminist novel primarily for the ways in which Jane’s character challenges the norms of Victorian society. As a young girl, she struggles to fit in with the other children in her household, and as she grows up, she continues to yearn for independence from traditional ideas of Victorian womanhood. Jane provides reflective commentary on gender roles throughout the novel, arguing that women, who experience the same range of feelings as men, are forced to lead unfairly restrictive lives. She refuses to accept this fate, however, by continually asserting her freedom, emphasizing her value as an individual, and choosing to walk away from marrying Rochester. Although Jane does marry Rochester in the end, the fact that marriage is not her ultimate goal and that she returns to him on her own terms gives Jane Eyre a distinctly feminist quality.

What events in the novel highlight England’s legacy of colonialism?

England’s legacy of colonialism appears in a number of ways throughout the course of the novel and emphasizes the theme of exploitation. The Mason family’s plantation in the West Indies is a prime example of economic exploitation, the land’s resources, and likely the country’s people, being used to earn a profit. Jane’s inheritance is the result of a similar, economically-driven act of colonialism. Her uncle was a merchant living in Madeira, an island off the coast of Africa known for its wine, and presumably earned his fortune from taking advantage of the land. St. John River’s desire to travel to India, however, involves a more culturally-oriented form of imperialism. As he discusses his plans with Jane in Chapter 34, he makes it clear that he feels called to India by his faith as “the servant of an infallible Master.” This desire to spread Christianity, or really, to force it onto others, represents another hallmark of England’s colonial ideologies.