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Jane Eyre was published in 1847 by Charlotte Bronte, under the pen name Currer Bell.

Synopsis[]

Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre follows the life of the orphaned Jane Eyre from her troubled childhood to her intriguing adulthood. Jane is a poor, plain orphan with no true family or friends. Her sense of propriety and duty guide her through a difficult life. Despite being poor, Jane manages to transcend her station in life by gaining an education at Lowood Institution and later becoming a governess for the mysterious Mr. Rochester. For all of Jane's poise and self-possession, Rochester is nearly her opposite. He is a passionate, brooding man surrounded by mystery. He has little concern with social niceties and appropriate manners, but is an overall sympathetic character. This is due to his dark and difficult past with the mysterious Bertha. Despite their differences, Jane and Rochester share a bond that surpasses the numerous difficulties they encounter. Jane Eyre is a story about transcending all obstacles in life to find happiness and, ultimately, love.

Themes[]

There are several underlying themes in Jane Eyre that work to enrich the narrative. Some of the most important of these are education, family, appearances, home, and the Supernatural.

Education[]

Education is a crucial theme in this novel because it is, ultimately, the only thing that offers any type of social mobility. Jane was a poor, orphaned girl with no hopes or prospects of a future until she was sent to Lowood. There she not only gained an education that would allow her to provide for herself in the future, but she also began creating a new life for herself. Through education, Jane was able to transcend the poverty and oppressive low class that she had been born into. Education offered her a way to change her station in life. The fact that the first third of the novel is devoted to Jane's time as a student shows how important this theme is.

Family[]

Family is another key aspect of the novel. As an orphan, Jane never had a true family. While she was being raised by her deceased uncle's wife, she was never treated with love or compassion. Mrs Reed, her aunt, never accepted Jane as family. Because of this deprivation, family became highly important to Jane. When she is at Thornfield, she finds a bond very similar to family with Adele, Rochester, and even Mrs. Fairfax. This type of created family shows another way that Jane manages to improve her desperate nature at the beginning of the story. Furthermore, in the third part of the novel, Jane is overjoyed to discover she has cousins. It is evident that this is something she had been hoping for her entire life. By the end of the story, Jane and Rochester have created a little family of their own, and she is finally happy and loved.

Appearance[]

Appearances play a large role in this narrative. Physical appearance is closely tied to character and personality. The characters in the novel that focus more on their outward appearance, like the Ingrams, are often morally lacking or unlikable. Those that are plain and content with their appearance, like Jane, care more about personality and character. There is also an aspect of concealment when it comes to appearance in the novel. For example, when Jane abruptly meets Mr. Rochester, he doesn't tell her who he is. While this isn't directly related to appearance, he is concealing his identity and character. Furthermore, when Rochester dresses up like a gypsy to trick Jane into giving him information, he conceals his identity. This shows that appearances can't always be trusted and should be looked past to what's on the inside.

Home[]

The idea of "home" is complex in this narrative. While it physically is where a character lives, it is also something more complicated than that. Jane lived at Gatehead as a child, but it was never a true home for her because she was not welcomed or treated with love. It was not a safe, welcoming place. Later in her life, Thornfield basically becomes her first real home because she is treated with welcoming kindness and respect. It offers her a place of warmth and security. However, upon discovering Rochester's secret, her "home" is shattered because the safety and trust it had been built upon were taken away. This leads to Jane becoming homeless both physically and emotionally, until she is at last reunited with Rochester.

The Supernatural[]

While the Supernatural's role in this narrative isn't overwhelming, its impact is. The novel has a lingering sense of eeriness and disquiet that can't quite be explained. Jane's experience in the Red Room strengthens the connection to the supernatural because it is never entirely explained. It leaves the question open of whether or not she actually encountered Mr. Reed's ghost. There are other unexplained supernatural aspects of this story. For example, in the third part of the novel, Jane hears Rochester's voice calling her name despite being nowhere near him. While she accepts that this was due to some unknown supernatural power, we never get an adequate explanation of what that might be. The supernatural mysteries surrounding Jane add to the intrigue and suspense of the novel.

Adaptations []

Film[]

  • Jane Eyre (1910, Italy- Thanhouser Film Corporation), Screenplay: Theodore Marston; Director: Theodore Marston
  • Jane Eyre (1914, USA- Whitman Features Company), Screenplay: Martin Faust; Director: Martin Faust
  • Jane Eyre (1914, USA- Independent Moving Pictures Co. of America), Director: Frank Crane
  • Jane Eyre (1915, USA- Biograph Company), Screenplay: Travers Vale; Director: Travers Vale
  • The Castle of Thornfield (1915, Italy- Savoia Film)
  • Woman and Wife (1918, USA- Select Pictures Corporation), Screenplay: Paul West; Director: Edward Jose
  • Jane Eyre (1921, USA- Hugo Ballin Productions), Screenplay: Hugo Ballin; Director: Hugo Ballin
  • Die Waise von Lowood (1926, Germany- Sternheim Film), Screenplay: Curer Bell, Henry Koster; Director: Curtis Bernhardt
  • Jane Eyre (1934, USA- Monogram Pictures), Screenplay: Adele Comandini; Director: Christy Cabanne
  • Jane Eyre(1944, USA- Twentieth Century Fox), Screenplay: Aldous Huxley, Robert Stevenson, John Houseman; Director: Robert Stevenson
  • Sangdil (1952, India- Talwar Films), Screenplay: Ramanand Sagari; Director: R.C. Talwar
  • The Orphan Girl (1956, Hong Kong- Shaw Brothers), Director: Chun Yen
  • Jane Eyre (1970, UK- Omnibus Productions), Screenplay: Jack Pulman; Director: Delbert Mann
  • Jane Eyre(1996, USA- Miramax Films), Screenplay: Hugh Whitemore, Franco Zeffirelli; Director: Franco Zeffirelli
  • Jane Eyre (1997, USA- A&E Television Networks), Screenplay: Richard Hawley, Kay Mellor, Peter Wight; Director: Robert Young
  • Jane Eyre (2011, UK- BBC Films), Screenplay: Moira Buffini; Director: Cary Fukunaga

Television[]

  • Jane Eyre (1939, US- NBC Television) Director: Edward Sobol
  • Studio One in Hollywood, "Jane Eyre" (1949, USA: Season 2, Episode 14) Series Creator: Fletcher Markle; Writer: Sumner Locke Elliott; Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
  • Studio One in Hollywood, "Jane Eyre" (1952, USA: Season 4, Episode 45) Series Creator: Fletcher Markle; Writer: James P. Cavanagh; Director: Jack Gage
  • Jane Eyre (1956, UK- British Broadcasting Corporation) Screenplay: Constance Cox, Ian Dallas; Director: Campbell Logan
  • Matinee Theatre, "Jane Eyre" (1957, USA: Season 2, Episode 180) Writer: Robert Esson; Director: Lamont Johnson
  • Jane Eyre (1961, USA- CBS) Screenplay: Michael Dyne; Director: Marc Daniels
  • Jane Eyre (1963, UK- British Broadcasting Corporation) Screenplay: Constance Cox; Director: Rex Tucker
  • Jana Eyrova (1972, Czechoslavakia- Czechoslavakian Television) Screenplay: Josef Boucek; Director: Vera Jordanova
  • Jane Eyre (1973, UK- British Broadcasting Corporation) Screenplay: Robin Chapman; Director: Joan Craft
  • Ardiente Secreto (1978, Mexico- Televisa S.A. de C.V) Screenplay: Carlos Olmos; Director: Julian Pastor
  • Jane Eyre (1983, UK- British Broadcasting Corporation) Screenplay: Alexander Baron; Director: Julian Amyes
  • Jane Eyre (1997, UK- London Weekend Television) Screenplay: Richard Hawley, Kay Mellor, Peter Wight; Director: Robert Young
  • Jane Eyre (2006, UK- British Broadcasting Corporation) Screenplay: Sandy Welch; Director: Susanna White

Theater[]

  • Jane Eyre, Die Waise Von Lowood (1854, Austria: Hoffburgtheater), Dramatist: Charlotte Birch Pfeiffer
  • Jane Eyre (1874, USA: Union Square Theater), Dramatist: Unknown
  • Jane Eyre (1882, England: Globe Theater), Dramatist: William Gorman Wills
  • Jane Eyre (1887, USA: Forepaugh's Theater), Dramatist: Charlotte Thompson
  • Jane Eyre (1900, USA: Our Lady of Good Counsel), Dramatist: Mrs. Walter Lewis
  • Jane Eyre (1936, England: Aldwych), Dramatist: Helen Jerome
  • Jane Eyre (1944, England: New Theater), Dramatist: Dorthy Brandon
  • Jane Eyre (1956, England: Her Majesty's Theater), Dramatist: Constance Cox
  • Jane Eyre (1988, USA: Gerald Schoenfeld Theater), Dramatist: Fay Weldon
  • Jane Eyre (1992, England: Crucible Theater), Dramatist: Willis Hall
  • Jane Eyre (1995, USA: Centre Theater), Dramatist: Paul Gordon
  • Jane Eyre (1997, England: Wimbledon Theater), Dramatist: Julia Gomelskaya
  • Jane Eyre (2000, USA: Brooks Atkinson Theater), Dramatist: Michael Berkeley
  • Jane Eyre (2010, England: Bristol Old Vic Theater), Dramatist: Lucy Pitman Wallace
  • Jane Eyre (2014, USA: Lifeline Theater), Dramatist: Christina Calvit

Comics, Graphic Novels, and Illustrated Books[]

  • Jane Eyre: The Graphic Novel (2008, England) Text by Charlotte Brontë; Adapted by Amy Corzine; Corzine; Illustrated by John Burns and Terry Wiley.

Sequels and Parodies[]

  • Second City Television Network, "Jane Eyrehead" (1982, Canada: Season 2, Episode 6) Writer: John Candy; Director: John Blanchard
  • Mrs. Rochester: A Sequel to Jane Eyre (1997, USA), Author: Hilary Bailey
  • Jane Rochester (2000, USA), Author: Kimberly A. Bennett
  • The Eyre Affair (2001, UK), Author: Jasper Forde
  • Jane Eyre: The Graphic Novel (2003, England), Writer: Amy Corzine, Illustrator: John M. Burns
  • Thornfield Hall: Jane Eyre's Hidden Story (2007, USA), Author: Emma Tennant
  • Jane Eyre's Daughter (2008, USA), Author: Elizabeth Newark
  • Becoming Jane Eyre (2009, USA), Author: Shiela Kohler
  • Jane Airhead (2009, USA), Author: Kay Woodward
  • I am Jane Eyre: The Untold Story (2010, UK), Author: Teana Rowland
  • Jane Slayre (2010, USA), Author: Sherri Browning Erwin
  • All Hallows at Eyre Hall (2014, USA), Author: Luccia Gray

Appropriations []

  • Adele: Jane Eyre's Hidden Story (2002, UK) Author: Emma Tennant
  • Adele, Grace, and Celine: The Other Women of Jane Eyre (2009, USA) Author: Claire Mosie
  • Rochester: A Novel Inspired by Jane Eyre (2010) Author: J.L. Niemann
  • Jane Eyre's Husband- The Life of Edward Rochester (2011) Author: Tara Bradley
  • Jane Eyre's Rival: The Real Mrs. Rochester (2011) Author: Clair Holland
  • Jane, the Fox, and Me (2012, France) Writer: Fanny Britt; Illustrator: Isabelle Arsenault
  • Jane Eyre Laid Bare (2012, USA) Author: Eve Sinclair
  • Jane Eyrotica (2012, USA) Author: Karena Rosa
  • A Breath of Eyre (2012, USA) Author: Eve Marie Mont

Cameos and Other Appearances in Popular Culture[]

Television[]

  • Saturday Night Live (2004, USA: Season 30, Episdoe 3) Series Creator: Lorne Michaels; Director: Beth McCarthy-Miller
  • The Autobiography of Jane Eyre: The Webseries (2013) Series Creator: Nessa Aref, Alysson Hall.

Literature[]

  • How to Become Ridiculously Well-Read in One Evening (1985), Author: Tim Hopkins

Resources[]

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