CliffsNotes on Jane Eyre

CliffsNotes on Jane Eyre

CliffsNotes on Jane Eyre

CliffsNotes on Jane Eyre

Synopsis

The original CliffsNotes study guides offer expert commentary on major themes, plots, characters, literary devices, and historical background. The latest generation of titles in this series also feature glossaries and visual elements that complement the classic, familiar format.

Question Victorian - and present-day - society as you study Charlotte Bronte's popular novel with CliffsNotes on Jane Eyre. What is women's position in society? What is the relationship of dreams and fantasy to reality? What is the basis of an effective marriage? Bronte tackles all these questions and more through the story of her heroine Jane Eyre.

CliffsNotes provides detailed plot summaries, critical commentaries, and a helpful character map to help you uncover all the insight this novel has to offer. Make your study of this timeless novel a success with CliffsNotes on Jane Eyre. Other features that help you study include

  • Character analyses of major players
  • Critical essays
  • A review section that tests your knowledge
  • Background on the author, including career highlights

Classic literature or modern modern-day treasure - you'll understand it all with expert information and insight from CliffsNotes study guides.

Excerpt

At age twenty, Charlotte Brontë sent a sample of her poetry to England’s Poet Laureate, Robert Southey. His comments urged her to abandon all literary pursuits: “Literature cannot be the business of a woman’s life, and it ought not to be. The more she is engaged in her proper duties, the less leisure will she have for it, even as an accomplishment and a recreation.” His response indicates the political difficulties women faced as they tried to enter the literary arena in Victorian England; domestic responsibilities were expected to require all their energy, leaving no time for creative pursuits. Despite a lack of support from the outside world, Charlotte Brontë found sufficient internal motivation and enthusiasm from her sisters to become a successful writer and balance her familial and creative needs.

Born at Thornton, Yorkshire on April 21, 1816, Charlotte was the third child of Patrick Brontë and Maria Branwell. In 1820, her father received a curate post in Haworth, a remote town on the Yorkshire moors, where Charlotte spent most of her life. In 1821, Mrs. Brontë died from what was thought to be cancer. Charlotte and her four sisters, Maria, Elizabeth, Emily and Anne, and their brother, Branwell, were raised primarily by their unpleasant, maiden aunt, Elizabeth Branwell, who provided them with little supervision. Not only were the children free to roam the moors, but their father allowed them to read whatever interested them: Shakespeare, The Arabian Nights, Pilgrim’s Progress, and the poems of Byron were some of their favorites.

When a school for the daughters of poor clergymen opened at Cowan Bridge in 1824, Mr. Brontë decided to send his oldest four daughters there to receive a formal education. Most biographers argue that Charlotte’s description of Lowood School in Jane Eyre accurately reflects the dismal conditions at this school. Charlotte’s two oldest sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, died in 1824 of tuberculosis they contracted due to the poor management of the school. Following this tragedy, Patrick Brontë withdrew Charlotte and Emily from Cowan Bridge.

Grieving over their sisters’ deaths and searching for a way to alleviate their loneliness, the remaining four siblings began writing a series of stories, The Glass-Town, stimulated by a set of toy soldiers their father had given them. In these early writings, the children collaboratively created a complete imaginary world, a fictional West African empire they called Angria. Charlotte explained their interest in writing this way: “We were wholly dependent on ourselves and each other, on books and . . .

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