Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte Short Summary & Explanation in English

Jane Eyre as an Orphan

Jane Eyre, the daughter of a clergyman becomes an orphan at a young age and is adopted by her maternal uncle who dies as well leaving Jane at the mercy of his cruel wife who becomes extremely harsh towards her. Jane’s cousins as well as the maids of that house torture her and beat her as well. She is often reminded that she is dependent on them.

Being fed up with her, Mrs. Reeds sends her to a charitable School called Lowood School where she meets the same fate as the director of that school namely Mr. Brocklehurst is cruel as well as a miser. However, a teacher namely Miss. Temple shows sympathy towards her.

Jane makes friends with Helen Burns whose religious devotion, simplicity, and piousness attract her. Once Jane is accused of being a liar as well as a deceitful person by the director and thus becomes depressed. However, later on, she cleared off all the charges by Miss. Temple. At Lowood School, Typhus breaks out resulting in the death of a number of schoolgirls including Helen Burns who though dies of Consumption instead. Jane remains a student for eight years and then teaches in the same school for two years. After that, she decides to change her job.

Bessie, the maid of Reed’s family visits her and tells her that John Reeds (cousin of Jane) has become a big disappointment for Mrs. Reeds. Her cousin Georgiana tried to elope with her lover. However, her plan was discovered by her sister Eliza who prevented her elopement.

At Thornfield Hall

Jane Eyre gets the job of governess to a young French girl namely Adele at Thornfield Hall. There she feels quite comfortable and often goes to the roof and gazes at the sky. She often hears unusual laughing in the top story of Thornfield House that troubles her. Once while she is out for a walk, a man falls off a horse and Jane helps him get up. Jane returns back and finds the same person there. Thus she is introduced to Mr. Rochester, a man of 38, who is the owner of Thornfield Hall.

After a course of time, Jane and Rochester become good friends. Jane tells him about her past life and so does Rochester. One night Rochester’s bed is set to fire by some unknown person. However, Jane saves him. She suspects that Grace Pool, a maid at Thornfield Hall, might have done that.

Jane secretly falls in love with Rochester. She is told by Mrs. Fairfax (the one in charge of the mansion) that Rochester might marry a beautiful and rich girl namely Miss. Blanche Ingram. This information tortures Jane and she decides to leave the job to avoid the grief of losing her love.

Rochester, who has gone out without telling anybody returns back after some days with a group of his friends who stay there for a fortnight. One day a man namely Mason visits Thornfield Hall and in the night he is attacked by a lady who is unknown to Jane. He gets severe wounds from her fatal attacks and thus a surgeon is called for his treatment.

Jane tries to know about the mysterious lady living on the 3rd floor of the same house but Rochester puts her off. Jane visits Mrs Reeds who is on her deathbed. She tells Jane that her uncle, John Eyre desired to meet Jane, however, she did not like that he might meet her.

Mrs. Reeds die without having any regret for her past deeds. Jane returns back to Thornfield House and Rochester, who has also fallen in love with Jane proposes to her for marriage. Jane readily accepts it. At the time of marriage, a person namely Mr. Briggs arrives at the Church and discloses that Rochester is already married to his sister Bertha.

Rochester then tells Jane and all others how his family married him off to Bertha, a mad woman. She is the mysterious woman living on the top story. Jane’s trust in Rochester shatters and in spite of his pleas, she leaves without having any destiny in mind.

Reconciliation with her Cousins

After roaming for a day and being extremely hungry, she falls at the door of a farmhouse that belonged to a clergyman namely St. John Rivers. He lived there along with his sisters Diana and Marry. They allow Jane to live with them.

Jane starts working as a teacher at a girls’ school and also gets a lodge to live in. She comes to know that a beautiful lady namely Rosamond is in love with John Rivers, however, the latter does not want to marry her because he wants to go to India as a missionary and considers Rosamond unsuitable for the journey.

John’s Proposal for Marriage

John starts proposing to Jane for marriage but gets rejected every time. While she is there, good news comes to her that makes her quite happy. First, she comes to know that her uncle John Eyre has died and has left twenty thousand pounds for her. Second Rivers turn out to be her cousins. She divides her fortune equally among the four and thus each of them gets five thousand pounds. John Rivers does not stop proposing to her and Jane, at last, prepares to accept him. However, one night she hears as if Rochester has called him, “Jane! Jane! Jane!” 

The very next day, she leaves for Thornfield Hall, and reaching there she finds it in ruins. She comes to know that Bertha, the wife of Rochester put the house on fire and killed herself. Rochester tried to save her and became blind as well as a cripple. Jane Eyre goes to Manor House in the forest where Rochester lives now. Both get married. Rochester recovers partially and also gets sight in one of his eyes. Both live happily after that and also have children. Read about Feminism in Jane Eyre.