Set in early 19th-century England, "Jane Eyre" follows the coming of age and entry into adulthood of Jane Eyre. Jane is an orphan who finds herself at the mercy of an era when social class, a woman's marital status, prejudices and superstition played major roles in determining the lives of people as they struggled to find a means to survive.
Jane is a bright child and a ready learner, although not a beauty. The few options for a young woman of her time would be marriage or serving as a governess for a family of better means. The novel traces Jane's time as a ward in the home of an unwelcoming, even cruel family as well as her time spent at the Lowood Charity School, whose conditions are far from wholesome. Jane endures and eventually becomes a governess at Thornfield for the darkly mysterious bachelor, Mr. Edward Rochester, who has a ward of his own, Adele, who captures Jane's heart.
Jane is an excellent governess, but she is also a woman. It doesn't take long for her to realize she is romantically drawn to the dark, brooding Rochester. A love affair and marriage is not to be, for forces totally beyond her control continue to get in the way, preventing her from any possibility of a relationship deemed far above her in every way.
Author Charlotte Bronte is one of three sisters who wrote novels during the Victorian period. The character of Jane Eyre is partially autobiographical, drawing elements from the early life of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë as they grew up near Keighley, in Yorkshire. All three women wrote poetry and novels, and published under the pseudonyms Acton, Ellis and Currer Bell. Charlotte published "Jane Eyre" under the pseudonym Currer Bell in 1847.
"Jane Eyre" was one of the early books that dealt with the issues of women's rights and was ahead of its time. It attracted some criticism as a literary work, but its popularity, both then and now, has far outweighed any such criticism. It remains one of the best-selling novels of all time.
Jane Eyre follows the emotions and experiences of eponymous Jane Eyre, her growth to adulthood, and her love for Mr. Rochester, the byronic master of Thornfield Hall. The novel contains elements of social criticism, with a strong sense of morality at its core, but is nonetheless a novel many consider ahead of its time given the individualistic character of Jane and the novel's exploration of sexuality, religion, and proto-feminism. Download and start listening now!