Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Table of Contents
Jane Eyre Characters
Before going through this splendid novel by Charlotte Bronte you must be well-acquainted with all the the characters in Jane Eyre and their significant role in this novel:
Jane Eyre is the narrator of the story of the novel, and the novel’s heroine. She is, of course, the main subject of the story: and she occupies a central position in it. Our attention remains focused on her all the time. There are various stages in the narration of her story, and at each stage she has to co through many trying experiences. She is more or less a tragic figure in the novel from the beginning almost till the end when at last she is rewarded with the fulfillment of her most cherished desire and begins to feel blissfully happy.
Edward Fairfax Rochester
He is the most important male character in the novel; and, in point of interest, he shares the honour with Jane Eyre. A married man, with a mad wife whom he is maintaining in a room in the top storey of his country mansion, he falls in love with Jane Eyre who is just twenty years old at the time while he is nearing forty. Jane Eyre herself has secretly fallen in love with him even though he is much older than she, and even though he is by no means a handsome man. His desire to marry Jane Eyre is thwarted by the disclosure of the fact that he is already a married man with a wife who is alive, and whom he is keeping confined in his house. Eventually, however, he is united with Jane Eyre in marriage even though at the time of this union he is blind and almost a cripple. The couple feel most happy in this union; and Mr. Rochester subsequently regains his eyesight to a large extent, and is able to lead an almost normal life with Jane.
Mrs. Sara Reed
She is Jane Eyre’s aunt who had been entrusted by her late husband with the care of Jane Eyre who was at that time only ten years old. Mrs. Reed has been treating Jane Eyre not only with contempt but sternly and almost cruelly She is a most odious woman whom we begin to dislike strongly as soon as we have met her and found her treating Jane Eyre in a manner bordering on brutality.
He is the eldest child of Mrs. Reed. He is fourteen years old when Jane yet is ten. He is a proud, haughty lad who regards Jane Eyre as a creature beneath his contempt. He is an odious son of an odious mother.
She is the eldest daughter of Mrs. Reed; and, although not as arrogant as John Reed, she too thinks Jane Eyre to be a contemptible person; and she spares no effort to make Jane Eyre feel that she (Jane Eyre) is a dependent relative of the family.
She is the second daughter of Mrs. Reed. She is a very beautiful girl with a lot of glamour about her. Georgiana is a couple of years younger than Eliza who is a couple of years younger than John Reed.
She may be called the governess of the Reed family or the head of all the servants in the household. She is quite close to Mrs. Reed, and always carries out Mrs. Reed’s instructions. In accordance with Mrs. Reed’s wishes, she adopts a stern attitude towards Jane Eyre who is an innocent girl but who has a defiant temper. At times Bessie imparts a touch of kindness to her treatment of Jane Eyre. Later in the story, Bessie visits Jane Eyre when the latter has spent a few years as a student at Lowood School and then becomes a teacher there. Bessie gets married to the coachman of the Reed family and, in due course, becomes a mother too.
She is one of the subordinate maidservants in the Reed household.
He is the apothecary who is summoned to treat Jane when she has cruelly been treated by having been confined to the Red Room of the Reed mansion and has fallen ill as a consequence. It is at Mr. Lloyd’s suggestion that Mrs. Reed sends Jane Eyre to Lowood School which is a charitable institution. It is by sending Jane to this school that Mrs. Reed is able to get rid of a girl whom she thinks to be a liability and an encumbrance for her family.
He is a clergyman, and also the chief trustee of Lowood School. He is a big hypocrite who preaches austerity and piety while his own wife and daughters lead a kind of life which is directly opposed to the way of living which he preaches and recommends to everybody else. He is a big bully, and a miser too where the expenditure on the students of Lowood School is concerned. He tries to save every penny on the food which he supplies to the girls of the charity school called Lowood School, of which he is the director He too is an odious person, perhaps even more odious than Mrs. Reed.
She is the superintendent of Lowood School, and she functions directly under Mr. Brocklehurst’s orders. She is basically a kind-hearted lady who however, has to act upon Mr. Brocklehurst’s instructions which require her to show no kindness or favour to the students of Lowood School. In spite of Mr. Brocklehurst’s strict instructions to her, however, she does manage to show some kindness to the girls, including Jane Eyre, who are in distress.
She is a Frenchwoman and a teacher of French at Lowood School.
She is also one of the teachers at Lowood School. She teaches history and grammar, but she is an ill-tempered woman who is particularly and unduly harsh towards a student by the name of Helen Burns.
She is a very devout and religious-minded girl, studying at Lowood School. She is more or less a lonely girl having no friends till Jane Eyre arrives as a new student at Lowood School and becomes acquainted with her. Miss Scatcherd, for some strange reason, develops an antipathy towards Helen Burns and humiliates her in the class-room without any convincing reason; but Helen Burns harbours no grudge against this teacher. Helen has a stoical temper. Unfortunately she develops the disease known as consumption and, after a time, dies of it, almost in the arms of her well-wisher and friend, Jane Eyre. Helen Burns is one of the most pathetic figures in the novel, even though some critics have found fault with her excessive religiosity and excessive humility.
Mrs. Alice Fairfax
She is the house-keeper of Thornfield Hall which belongs to Mr. Rochester to whom she is distantly related. It is Mrs. Fairfax who appoints Jane Eyre to the post of a governess in Thornfield Hall to look after Mr. Rochester’s ward, Miss Adele, Mrs. Fairfax offers this appointment to Jane Eyre in response to the latter’s advertisement in a newspaper offering herself as a candidate for a suitable post. Mrs. Fairfax is the second person, after Miss Temple, to show some kindness to Jane Eyre. However, subsequently she opposes Mr. Rochester’s intention to marry Jane Eyre; but she does so on account of the big disparity between the ages of Jane and Mr. Rochester, and not on account of any hostility to Jane.
She is the little girl to look after and educate whom Jane Eyre is appointed a governess at Thornfield Hall in response to her advertisement in a newspaper. Adele is the illegitimate daughter of Celine Varens who had been a mistress of Mr. Rochester but who had proved unfaithful to him. However, Adele is not Mr. Rochester’s illegitimate daughter. She is the daughter of Celine Varens by some other lover of hers; and Mr. Rochester had taken charge of this hapless and destitute girl on humanitarian grounds and had undertaken to bring her up as his ward. She is barely eight years old when she first arrives at Thornfield Hall and put under the charge of the housekeeper, Mrs. Fairfax, and subsequently under the care of Jane Eyre.
Mrs. Bertha Rochester
She is the mad wife of Mr. Rochester who had been lured into marrying her when he was living in Madeira (in the West Indies). Mr. Rochester had been totally unaware of Bertha’s antecedents, and it was only after getting married to her that he had discovered the streak of insanity which had been running in the family from which she had sprung. However, he had not abandoned her but had brought her to England and lodged her in a room on the top storey of his house, Thornfield Hall, with a maidservant by the name of Grace Poole to look after her. Bertha had been making a nuisance of herself to Mr. Rochester because of her insanity, but he had been adopting a tolerant and somewhat indulgent attitude towards her. Towards the end of the story it is she who sets fire to Thornfield Hall, thus risking her own life in the process.
She is the maidservant who looks after the mad Bertha but, being very fond of drinking gin, she often neglects her duties, with the result that Bertha is able to do a lot of mischief at Thornfield Hall.
He is a West Indian trader and the brother of Bertha. He pays a visit to Thornfield Hall in order to inquire about the welfare of his sister whom he knows to be a mad woman. During his secret interview with Bertha at midnight, she stabs him with a knife and bites him severely on his shoulder, so that Mr. Rochester has to send for his surgeon, Mc Carter, to dress Mason’s Wounds and has then to send the wounded man with Mr. Carter to stay at Mr. Carter’s clinic till his recovery. Mason is the man responsible for interrupting Jane’s marriage to Me Rochester by disclosing through a London solicitor (Mr. Briggs), to the priest performing the ceremony that Mr. Rochester is already a married man with his wife living in his house. Thus Mason, like his sister Bertha, is instrumental in destroying the relationship between Jane and Mr. Rochester till long afterwards, circumstances take a turn, and it becomes possible for Jane to marry Me Rochester.
She is one of the maidservants at Thornfield Hall.
This is the false name assumed by Mr. Rochester when he comes to Thornfield Hall in the disguise of a woman to foretell the future of the ladies who are staying at Thornfield Hall as his guests and also to tell the fortunes of Jane who feels surprised when he sheds his disguise and reveals his true identity to her, and only to her.
She is one of the richest and the most beautiful girls of the region in which Thornfield Hall is situated. It is generally believed that Mr. Rochester would marry this girl because of her beauty and wealth. But, having met Jane and having fallen in love with her even though he is twenty years older than Jane, he gives up all thoughts of marrying Blanche Ingram.
St. John Rivers
He is a clergyman and a missionary. He is a zealous priest of the parish of Morton: and it is he who provides shelter and food to Jane when she arrives at his house in a forlorn condition. He wants to go to India to work as a Christian missionary there, and he wants Jane to marry him and then go with him to assist him in his work. Jane, being still in love with Mr. Rochester, refuses to marry St. John Rivers though she offers to go with him to India as his assistant to help him in his missionary work. St. John Rivers insists upon Jane’s marrying him; but she firmly declines his proposal. St. John Rivers is, on the whole, a good man but he is too austere and too dictatorial so that, while he does win some of our admiration, he yet repels us.
Diana Rivers and Mary Rivers
They are the two sisters of St. John Rivers, and they live with him at Moor House which is the name of their residence. The two sisters take kindly to Jane Eyre, and do not feel the least hesitation in accepting her as a sort of guest of the Rivers family at Moor House.
She is the daughter of a wealthy and indulgent father, Mr. Oliver Rosamond. She is in love with St. John Rivers and would like to get married to him; but St. John Rivers does not reciprocate the sentiment because, as already pointed out above, he is in love with Jane and would like to acquire her as his wife to assist him in his missionary work in India.
He is a rich man living in the West Indies, and he is Jane Eyre’s uncle. He pays a visit to England in order to meet his niece but, when he arrives at Gateshead-hall, he is told that Jane Eyre is no longer living there and has been sent to a school for her studies. John Eyre then goes back to the West Indies and, by his will, he leaves his entire money, about twenty thousand pounds, to Jane Eyre. By this time Jane has discovered that St. John Rivers, Diana Rivers, and Mary Rivers are her own cousins, and she then divides the whole amount of twenty thousand pounds into four shares, generously giving an amount of five thousand pounds to each of her three cousins and keeping an equal amount for herself.
Locations of Jane Eyre
This is the name of the residence of the Reed family. It is here that Jane Eyre spends the early years of her life as a dependant of the Reed family, and it is here that she goes through some of her most painful experiences.
This is the name of a charity-school with about sixty to seventy girls, some of them orphans and the others too poor to be brought up by their own parents. Lowood School has Miss Temple as its superintendent, and Mr. Brocklehurst as its director. The food provided to the girls at this boarding school is meagre, and far from nutritious. It is on account of malnutrition that a number of girls catch typhus when it breaks out in an epidemic form in the region, and that quite a few of these girls die of the disease. If Jane had been miserable at Gateshead-Hall, her fate is not much better at Lowood School though here she does receive some kindness from Miss Temple, and finds some comfort in the company of a student by the name of Helen Burs. Jane also enjoys the natural scenery around Lowood School.
This is the name of the residence of Mr. Rochester. Actually this house had belonged to Mr. Rochester’s elder brother and Mr. Rochester had come into the possession of this house as a consequence of the premature death of that elder brother. Most of the important events of the story of this novel occur at Thornfield Hall. For instance, it is here that Jane Eyre falls in love with Mr. Rochester who too falls in love with her, though there is a difference of twenty years between their ages.
This is the name of the residence of the Rivers family which includes St. John Rivers and his two sisters, Diana and Mary. Moor House is situated very near the village of Morton.
This is the name of a country cottage to which Mr. Rochester withdraws after Thornfield Hall has been burnt down by a fire started by the lunatic woman, Bertha. To this house, Jane goes after learning that Mr. Rochester is living there, now a blind man and almost a cripple. She gets married to Mr. Rochester even though he is now a helpless, blind man; and here she at last achieves that happiness to which she had been aspiring