Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

90478_300Information: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte was published in 2003 by Penguin books. Originally published in 1846. ISBN: 0142437204

Plot Summary: Jane Eyre begins with an orphan who is casted out by her immediate relatives to a boarding school. After years of abuse and neglect, Jane finally moves on to become a governess at the Rochester Estate. Soon Jane is swept off her feet by Mr. Rochester, but as she falls in love with him, mysteries inside the estate begin to unfold and Mr. Rochester’s darkest secret comes forward, preventing them from marrying.Jane must decide if staying with him would be the full life she’s always dreamed of.

Critical Evaluation: Jane Eyre is an eloquent novel, well ahead of its time as Jane dreams of a fulling life, married or not. Jane has inspiring goals of education and art, making her a unique heroine of her time. With strong feminist themes, Jane Eyre is a guide to love, heartbreak, and how to survive completely intact.

Reader’s Annotation: After an entire life of neglect and abuse, Jane has finally found love with Mr. Rochester. But, when his terrible secrets come to light, Jane must decide if he his still the man she wants to marry.

Author’s InformationCharlotte Brontë was born in Thornton, Yorkshire, England, the third of six children, to Patrick Brontë (formerly “Patrick Brunty”), an Irish Anglican clergyman, and his wife, Maria Branwell. In April 1820 the family moved a few miles to Haworth, a remote town on the Yorkshire moors, where Patrick had been appointed Perpetual Curate. This is where the Brontë children would spend most of their lives. Maria Branwell Brontë died from what was thought to be cancer on 15 September 1821, leaving five daughters and a son to the care of her spinster sister Elizabeth Branwell, who moved to Yorkshire to help the family.

In August 1824 Charlotte, along with her sisters Emily, Maria, and Elizabeth, was sent to the Clergy Daughters’ School at Cowan Bridge in Lancashire, a new school for the daughters of poor clergyman (which she would describe as Lowood School in Jane Eyre). The school was a horrific experience for the girls and conditions were appalling. They were regularly deprived of food, beaten by teachers and humiliated for the slightest error. The school was unheated and the pupils slept two to a bed for warmth. Seven pupils died in a typhus epidemic that swept the school and all four of the Brontë girls became very ill – Maria and Elizabeth dying of tuberculosis in 1825. Her experiences at the school deeply affected Brontë – her health never recovered and she immortalised the cruel and brutal treatment in her novel, Jane Eyre. Following the tragedy, their father withdrew his daughters from the school (Goodreads).

Genre: Fiction, Adult Crossover, Classic, Romance

Curriculum Ties: (Florida State Curriculum Standards): Understanding Key Literary Ideas

Book Talk Ideas:

  1. Jane gives descriptions of several of her paintings and drawings. What do they reveal about Jane’s imagination? About her inner self?
  2. Compare and contrast Rochester and St. John Rivers. What are their strengths and weaknesses? Why does Jane choose one over the other?

Reading Level/ Age Interest: Grades 9-12 and Ages 14-18

Challenge Issues: Language, Violence

Challenge Defense File:

Selection Policy

The System will select and maintain a comprehensive collection of print, non-print, audio visual and electronically accessed materials to meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs of the citizens of Sarasota County. The System will strive to offer wide ranging collections that meet the various ages, interests, educational levels, and cultural backgrounds of all members of the community and will provide collections through which an individual may explore all points of view and issues of interest. In making selections, the library staff will do so based upon principle rather than personal opinion, reason rather than prejudice, and judgment rather than censorship. Furthermore, staff will be responsive to public demand for materials of contemporary significance and interest, while balancing this with the need to collect and preserve materials of permanent value. While library staff makes material selections based upon the tenet of one system, one collection, selectors recognize the distinct characteristics and needs of the populace that each library services. Community profiles are used to guide selectors in efforts to develop special collections and to meet the unique patron needs within each library.

The ultimate responsibility for selection materials rests with the General Manager of Libraries and the Management Team, who in turn delegates selection responsibilities to the Collection Development Librarians (Sarasota County Policy).  


Bronte, C. (2003). Jane Eyre. New York, New York: Penguin books. Jane Eyre is part of the collection because it is considered a timeless classic that many literature classes now require.

Other recommendations like this book include: Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery, and Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy.

Active Listening Skills

  • Remain calm
  • Listen thoughtfully and carefully to any arguments for the collection
  • Engage in a discussion that considers every concern, even if you do not agree

Awards: N/A

Reconsideration Form


Selection Tools:

Why I chose this book: I chose Jane Eyre because Jane is an independent heroine who is timeless and promotes living for one’s self and not just for someone else.


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