Jayne Eyre is a world-renowned novel by British writer Charlotte Bronte. Not so well known or indeed remembered is that it was packaged originally as Jayne Eyre, an autobiography with Curre bell shown as the name beneath it on the cover page. Indeed the book is written in the first-person style, the words spoken by Jayne Eyre. The book is split into five parts, detecting her life.
According to notes, the first section deals with her troubled upbringing in Gates’s head and the abuse she got from the family she lived with. Next time comes to her education, her time as a governess at thorn field manor and then her time at thorn field manor. The story finishes detailing her marriage to the love of her life, who appears earlier in the book.
The book is normally formatted as four hundred pages divided into 38 chapters. Some tomes are slightly different due to print size and book size. The first version came out in 3 volumes though it soon became available in one volume.
Jayne Eyre, the person
According to notes, Jane Eyre is a person who struggles through a hard early life before managing to rise above her early problems. She is orphaned at an early age, and this is where we find her, she has recently been adopted by her uncle’s family when we first meet her.
The uncle dies early in the piece, and her care is taken over by her uncle’s widow and their three offspring. She is bullied and abused by all when she finally fights back against John reed, the youngest child; she gets the blame for starting the violence. In fact, she is locked in a room for a long period as a punishment for her fight with the master reed, even though the room is where her late uncle died.
School life is a slight improvement, although she has a barely more enjoyable existence at first. Over time the school environment improves, and Jayne makes a friend or two.
Following on from school, there is an eight-year gap before we find Jayne end a two-year teaching tenure to become a governess. She is employed at the thorn field, where she attempts to educate a young and precocious French girl called Adele.
After a chance meeting with her employer mister Rochester a relationship slowly blossoms, eventually this leads to marriage despite many events in the meantime, things which could have put her off. She finds at the ceremony she should have paid heed to warnings as she finds Rochester is, in fact, married. Refusing to run away with him, she leaves the house and the employment.
She reaches a moor house where she is cared for after time spent sleeping rough. After a period at the house and time spent with the occupants, her head back to find Rochester, eventually they marry, and so the book ends.
The book contains certain themes that reoccur at various stages. When she is blamed for a violent outburst towards her younger brother, she is locked up in the “red room.” It’s the room her uncle died in, the room she was locked in, and it becomes a constant memory and source of the pain throughout her life. It reminds her of unhappy times, of being unloved and of being separated from others.
When anything happens to remind her of her troubled past, she thinks of the red room; any thing that goes against her moral value means a red room, and so does almost anything else that upsets her. Red means upset and bad memories for Jayne.
The room reminds her of being imprisoned and restricted; every time she is held back, or every time she thinks she may be restricted in any way, the red room is where her mind goes every time. Red is, therefore, bad color and links to bad memories for her, a color linked with blood and death (Philips, 2009)
Philips (2009), “No severe or prolonged bodily illness followed this incident of the red-room: it only gave my nerves a shock, of which I feel the reverberation to this day. Of course, Ms. Reed, to you I owe some apprehensive pangs of psychological distress. But I have to excuse you, for you knew not what you did: while rending my heart-strings, you thought you were only uprooting my bad propensities.” Chapter 3, pg. 18
Black and White
According to Jacobsen and Mary E. (2009), her world is filled with moments of darkness and light; this is also shown through the illustrations. The pictures of the darker times are shown in shadow, showing Jayne’s mood at the time, one of worry and self-pity for her life.
The book references Jayne’s views on the different branches of religion that were followed by the main char she interacts with; it also shows her feelings on the position that women hold in society. Over the course of the book, she sees things from all sides, at first abused then imprisoned and then freed to become a teacher and then a governess.
Although free in body, her mind was often troubled by at first Rochester’s secret wife and then by his offer to run away, something that repelled her due to her religious beliefs. The mood she feels is followed by the colors and shades of her illustrations; the worse the mood, the more the greyness and darkness that reflects her mood.
According to Jacobsen and Mary E. (2009), Jayne Eyre is more than a simple novel; it’s a story with social commentary and religious views encompassed within. It’s a commentary on how women are perceived in the society that Jayne finds herself in during the stages of her life and the environments she lives in.
The red room and the color red reflect upset and resentment; the white is her happier times and even the color seen during her wedding. The black reflects her when she is unhappy or is questioning those around her.the combinations of black and white gives illustration to her mood when she is shown living a highly mixes and often traumatic life.
Charlotte Bronte produced a long-standing classic book in its truest form, a book of history and opinion, a book that can be taken as a story or even as a point of reference.
“Jane Eyre: Introduction.” Novels for Students. Ed. Marie Rose Napierkowski. Vol. 4. Detroit: Gale, 1998. eNotes.com. January 2006.
Jacobsen, Karin, and Mary Ellen Snodgrass. CliffsNotes on Jane Eyre. 2009
Phillips, Brian. SparkNote on Jane Eyre. 2009