eNotes Lesson Plan

Introductory Lecture and Objectives

Jane Eyre eNotes Lesson Plan content

Introductory Lecture

One of the most widely read novels of all time, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre is the story of a passionate and seemingly impossible love set within a mysterious and forbidding Victorian atmosphere. It is a Gothic tale, replete with the mystery, suspense, and horror that define the genre, but it is also a novel that addresses social issues of the day. Through the narrative, Brontë raises questions about the limited education provided in church schools, the expectations and opportunities for women, the value of family connections, and the importance of romantic love when it conflicts with personal principles or the strict rules of Victorian society. Jane Eyre develops characters who seek their identities by challenging society’s status quo.

Set in nineteenth-century England, the novel begins with the story of young Jane, an orphan who lives with an aunt who dislikes her and does not show her any kindness or affection. When she is ten, Jane is sent to Lowood, a charity school; despite the cruelty of its headmaster, Jane develops physical, intellectual, and emotional strength. She leaves Lowood School to become a governess for Adèle, the ward of Edward Rochester of Thornfield Hall. Jane and Rochester fall in love despite the difference in their ages and social positions. Mystery surrounds Rochester, however; strange sounds and occurrences abound in his manor. Jane leaves Rochester after the revelation that he is married and his wife, who is insane, is being held captive in the attic at Thornfield. After much suffering, Jane becomes the mistress of a village school. She later discovers that she has living relatives and inherits a fortune, which enables her to return eventually to Rochester as an independent woman. At the conclusion of the novel, she tells the reader simply and directly, “I married him,” and that she and Rochester live together happily and “equally.”

The novel is a coming-of-age story that focuses on the experiences and emotions that accompany Jane’s development from child to adult. There are five distinct stages in Jane’s evolution, each of which is linked to a particular place: her childhood at Gateshead, her education at the Lowood School, her time as a governess at Thornfield Hall, her life at Marsh End when she is a teacher in Morton, and her reunion with Rochester at Ferndean. Jane’s life unfolds as a dramatic adventure within an atmosphere of psychological dread and constant threat of ruination typical of Gothic novels.

Charlotte Brontë incorporated into the narrative several elements from her own life. After Brontë’s mother died, an aunt assisted in caring for the Brontë sisters (Charlotte, Maria, Elizabeth, and Emily). The sisters were sent to Cowan Bridge, a school for clergymen’s children. The cruel and hypocritical fervor of the headmaster in Jane Eyre is based upon the evangelical minister who ran Cowan Bridge. Jane’s loss of her dearest friend at Lowood School to tuberculosis recalls the deaths of Brontë’s two sisters who died of tuberculosis at Cowan Bridge. Like Charlotte Brontë, Jane becomes a governess, which was often the only professional option for an educated woman at the time. The role of governess provided a good vantage point for Brontë to observe and write about the oppressive social practices of nineteenth-century Victorian society. Reflecting Brontë’s early feminist ideals, Jane is rebellious at a time when women were expected to be docile and obedient. Through Jane Eyre, Brontë challenges Victorian mores by suggesting a woman’s merits demand the same respect as a man’s; 

moreover, she challenges the conventions of Victorian literature by creating a well-developed heroine with a rich inner life.

Even as Jane questions society’s conventions, gender expectations, religious practices, and the importance of love, the novel does not answer questions for the reader. Consistent with the individual’s quest for an independent identity, which is a central tenet of Romanticism, the reader is allowed to contemplate these issues, still relevant today.

By the end of the unit the student will be able to:

1. Identify characters and describe the plot of Jane Eyre. 2. Describe the central conflict. 3. Analyze the characters of Jane Eyre and Rochester. 4. Identify the primary themes and motifs.

5. Identify the various representations of romantic love and filial love presented in the novel, and explain how marriage is affected by social conventions.

6. Define and explain the social and economic roles available for women during the Victorian era. 7. Discuss how children are perceived in general in Victorian society and how they are treated

according to their social class, and identify the different modes of education available to them.

8. Explain how Brontë addresses religion and nature (both the natural world and an individual’s natural disposition).

9. Identify and discuss the novel’s Gothic elements and how they contribute to character and plot development.

10. Explain how Rochester exemplifies the Byronic hero in Romantic literature.

11. Understand what features make Jane Eyre an iconic novel of the British Romantic period.


Instructional Focus: Teaching With an eNotes Lesson Plan

This eNotes lesson plan is designed so that it may be used in numerous ways to accommodate ESL students and to differentiate instruction in the classroom.

Student Lesson Guide

• The Lesson Guide is organized for a chapter-by-chapter study of the novel. Lesson Guide pages may be assigned individually and completed at a student’s own pace.

• Lesson Guide pages may be used as pre-reading activities to preview for students the vocabulary words they will encounter in reading each chapter and to acquaint them generally with its content.

• Before Lesson Guide pages are assigned, questions may be selected from them to use as short quizzes to assess reading comprehension.

• Lesson...

(The entire section is 572 words.)

Essay and Discussion Questions

1. Identify the various Gothic elements in the novel.

2. Why does Brontë structure Jane Eyre on five geographic locations? (Gateshead, Lowood, Thornfield, Marsh End, Ferndean.) How does the novel depict each residence?

3. Explain how each residence in the novel is associated with the development of Jane’s character. What lessons does Jane learn in each?

4. Describe the motifs of ice and fire. How are they included in the novel literally? How are they employed figuratively to describe personalities and physical settings? What are the connotations of ice and fire?

5. What are the conditions in Victorian England,...

(The entire section is 917 words.)

Chapter 1


Bewick’s History of British Birds: a work by Thomas Bewick (1755-1828), a renowned naturalist and illustrator

cavilers: critics

chidings: rebukes, condemnations

desolate: abandoned, bare

diffidence: doubt, hesitation

fervently: busily, actively

impudence: audacity, gall, boldness

intimated: suggested

moreen: a strong woolen fabric frequently used in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries for making curtains and furniture

sallowness: paleness

shrined: made holy, made sacred

sprightly: fun, vivacious

subjoined: attached, added

torpid: lazy, slow

vignettes: sketches, scenarios


(The entire section is 686 words.)

Chapter 2


abhor: regard with contempt, disgust

(the) Abigail: a female servant or attendant

acrid: bitter, sour to taste

artifice: a hoax; a clever act designed to deceive; false or insincere behavior

browbeaten: castigated, nagged

consecration: blessing, dedication

consternation: dismay, distress

divest: to dispossess, to take off

festoons: decorations, adornments

ignominy: deep personal humiliation and disgrace; disgraceful or dishonorable conduct, quality, or action

intelligible: understandable, clear

ire: anger, annoyance

irksome: annoying, aggravating

parley: conversation, negotiation

reviled: scolded,...

(The entire section is 668 words.)

Chapter 3


apothecary: a pharmacist trained by apprenticeship

cadence: rhythm, beat

emulation: imitation

infer: to conclude, to presume

kindred: corresponding, matching

mortified: embarrassed, disgraced

propensities: natural inclinations, leanings

shilling: archaic British monetary unit

Historical References

Guy Fawkes: An English Catholic rebel, Fawkes was part of a failed plot to blow up Westminster’s House of Lords. Since 1605, Guy Fawkes is celebrated each November with an effigy on a bonfire and fireworks in the U.K. Brontë is refering to a rebellious spirit that cannot be subdued.

typhus fever: A bacterial...

(The entire section is 866 words.)

Chapter 4


capricious: given to sudden changes in behavior

chastisement: punishment, reprimand

dearth: insufficiency, scarcity

desist: to stop, to refrain from

execrations: curses, damnations

graven: engraved, carved

homily: a sermon, a lesson

judicious: wise, thoughtful

mandate: an official order issued by one in authority

nimbly: swiftly, rapidly

obliterating: eliminating, destroying

parterre: a level space in a garden

poltroon: a spiritless coward, a weakling

sequestered: isolated, secluded

tarried: delayed, dawdled

Historical Reference

“A usurious rate of interest”: A usurer was...

(The entire section is 1111 words.)

Chapter 5


Babel: Biblical the Tower of Babel, a tower intended to reach from the earth to heaven

benignant: benevolent, kind

foe: opponent, antagonist

inanition: lack of mental or spiritual vigor and enthusiasm; exhaustion caused by lack of nourishment

indefatigable: untiring, determined

mantle: a cloak

protracted: long, drawn out

redolent: suggestive; aromatic

regaled: amused, delighted

riband: a ribbon

trifling: insignificant, worthless

veneration: respect or awe inspired by the dignity, wisdom, dedication, or talent of a person

wrath: extreme anger, fury

Historical Reference


(The entire section is 772 words.)

Chapter 6


animadversions: adverse criticisms, censures

assiduity: diligence, effort

clamour (clamor): loud cry, commotion

commendations: praise, compliments

expostulations: objections, challenges, protests

gloaming: twilight, dusk

impalpable: unsubstantial, indistinct

rove: to wander, to drift

seraph: an angel, an attendant of God

therein: within, inside

truculent: belligerent, hateful

Study Questions

1. What happens to Helen Burns in class that raises Jane’s ire because of its injustice?

During a history class, the girls are stumbling with answers to Miss Scatcherd’s questions....

(The entire section is 420 words.)

Chapter 7


Bethesda: a pool in Biblical Jerusalem believed to have healing powers

Brahma: the creator god in later Hinduism

chilblains: an inflammatory swelling to tissue in hands and feet as a result of exposure

effluence: stream, discharge, outpouring

excrescence: an unattractive or superfluous addition

hebdomadal: weekly

Juggernaut: the Hindu deity Krishna; the Hindu temple car reputed to crush devotees in its path

moiety: one of two approximately equal parts; half

obviating: making unnecessary

penurious: stingy, cheap

perfidious: treacherous, deceitful

repast: a meal, food

stalwart: strong, valiant

tuckers: pieces...

(The entire section is 684 words.)

Chapter 8


approbation: recognition, praise

Barmecide supper: a pretend meal at which no food is actually served; named after a prince in The Arabian Nights who served such a meal to a starving beggar

Cuyp-like groups: as in the landscapes of the Dutch painter Aelbert Cuyp (1620-1691)

eloquence: skillful way with words

fervid: passionate, ardent

imputation: allegation, insinuation

mien: a person’s look or manner

nectar and ambrosia: mythical food of the Gods; meant to bestow immortality

phylactery: an amulet, a talisman

prostrate: flat, horizontal

slattern: an untidy, slovenly woman

Solomon: the King of Israel in the tenth...

(The entire section is 491 words.)

Chapter 9


alleviate: to relieve, to lessen

camphor: a tough, gummy, aromatic compound from the wood and bark of the camphor tree, used topically as a liniment and mild analgesic, as a plasticizer, and as an insect repellent

consumption: once a term for tuberculosis, a wasting disease of the lungs

pestilence: contagion, epidemic

pungent: highly flavored

resurgam: Latin “I will rise again”

smitten: enamored, infatuated

unfathomed: unexplored

verdure: freshness, bloom

Study Questions

1. How is the theme of nature evident in this chapter? How is Jane affected by the arrival of spring?


(The entire section is 512 words.)

Chapter 10


brackish: somewhat salty (of water)

debarrassed: removed what impedes movement, such as a coat or hat

dissipated: used up, wasted

en règle: French “in proper form” or “order”

exultantly: with joy, pleasure

ferret: to find and bring to light by searching

imbibed: ingested, drank

scourge: a cause of wide or great affliction

sidling: moving stealthily with one side forward

soliloquised (soliloquized): talked to oneself

soporific: sleepy; sleep inducing

sublunary: earthly, material

thrice: three times; “once, twice, thrice”

zeal: enthusiasm, fervor


(The entire section is 933 words.)

Chapter 11


beau-ideal: the perfect type

Bluebeard’s castle: a seventeenth-century Hungarian opera based on a French folktale (La Barbe Bleue) about a wife who explores locked rooms in her new husband’s castle, finds blood covering the rooms, and accuses him of having murdered his previous wives

Bohemian: a native or inhabitant of the former Kingdom of Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic; socially unconventional, often engaged in the arts

“boots”: archaic a servant at an inn whose duty is to clean boots

cachinnation: loud, convulsive laughter; guffaws

canzonette: a short light vocal piece, derived from seventeenth-century Italian music


(The entire section is 1147 words.)

Chapter 12


absolved: freed from responsibility or duty

belfry: a bell tower

cant: dishonesty, hypocritical statement

Gytrash: a legendary black dog known in northern England, said to haunt lonely roads awaiting travelers

idolatrous: heathen, characterized by the worshipping of idols

pliability: flexibility

pretercanine: unlike anything one would expect of a dog

raiment: attire, apparel

repined: complained, grumbled

solicitude: attentive care, protectiveness

staid: marked by settled sedateness, prim self-restraint

suffused: spread out, permeated

vapid: flat, dull

Study Questions

1. How...

(The entire section is 686 words.)

Chapter 13


assiduous: hard working

averred: maintained, proclaimed, indicated

caprice: a sudden, unaccountable change of feelings or behavior

choler: a ready disposition to irritation; anger

diademed: crowned

incessantly: steadily, ceaselessly

inditing: writing, composing

pinnacle: the highest point of development or achievement

piquant: flavorful, biting

propitious: full of promise, favorable

quiescence: repose, rest

requisition: demand

thence: for that reason, therefore

Study Questions

1. Describe how Thornfield changes after Rochester’s arrival. How does Jane feel about the changes...

(The entire section is 963 words.)

Chapter 14


bane: a cause of great distress; a source of harm or ruin

bonny: attractive, pretty

eminence: importance, fame

enigmatical: mysterious

expiating: making amends for

“fallen seraph”: an allusion to Satan

gregarious: friendly, affable

hector: to bully, to nag

interlocutrice: a woman who takes part in a conversation

intrinsic: basic, inborn Medes and Persians: members of an Indo-European people in the seventh and sixth centuries BC credited with creating unalterable laws

nonnette: French little nun

palliate: to soothe, to relieve, to ease

pervious: accessible, approachable


(The entire section is 1116 words.)

Chapter 15


anathema: something hated

Apollo Belvidere: a famous statue of the Greek god Apollo, an ideal male form

Beulah: in the Bible and in Pilgrim’s Progress, a place of delight

etiolated: weakened, deprived of natural vigor, made feeble

ewer: a large jug with a wide mouth, used for carrying water for someone to wash in

habergeon: a sleeveless coat of mail shorter than a tunic

heath of Forres: where the three witches gather to meet Shakespeare’s Macbeth

leviathan: Biblical a giant sea monster; a formidable obstacle (in context)

paroxysm: a seizure, a spasm

shuttlecock: the birdie in the game of badminton


(The entire section is 1370 words.)

Chapter 16


confabulation: conversation, dialogue

extrication: deliverance, liberation

ignis fatuus: Latin foolish fire; a phosphorescent light sometimes seen at night over marshy ground; something deceptive or deluding

indelibly: permanently marked; in an unforgettable manner

plebeian: common person

surfeited: overfilled, overindulged

Study Questions

1. From the servants’ conversations Jane overhears, how has Rochester explained the fire in his chamber to his household?

He apparently told them he fell asleep with a candle burning in his room and doused the flames with water from his pitcher.


(The entire section is 626 words.)

Chapter 17


appanage: an endowment, a privilege

con spirito: Italian with spirit, vigor

contumacy: defiance of authority, contempt

Corsairs: privateers working for the King of France attacking the ships of France’s enemies

Dian (Diana): Greek mythology the goddess of fertility and the moon

exonerated: excused, cleared of all blame or responsibility

extirpate: to uproot

fillip: archaic reference to small change in currency

herald: an omen, a messenger

lachrymose: weepy, tearful

sanctum: sanctuary, temple

saturnine: sullen, gloomy aspect

sundered: separated, torn apart


(The entire section is 1391 words.)

Chapter 18


acrimony: bitterness, ill feeling

Bridewell: a prison for “vagrant women” and girls in the sixteenth century; by the nineteenth century, a generic term for an English prison

contumelious: insolent, scornful

Eliezer and Rebecca: Biblical Eliezer was a servant tasked with finding a suitable wife for Isaac, Abraham’s son; a clever test proved that Rebecca was kind and loving, and he chose her to be Isaac’s wife.

hackneyed: clichéd, lacking significance through having been overused

halcyon: calm, peaceful

highwayman: a man, typically on horseback, who held up travelers at gunpoint in order to rob them

Levantine: person from Eastern...

(The entire section is 1108 words.)

Chapter 19


ad infinitum: Latin never ending, perpetually

blackaviced: having a dark complexion

diablerie: black magic, sorcery

lassitude: lethargy, apathy

sibyl: a prophet, a clairvoyant

superlatively: exceedingly, exceptionally

Study Questions

1. What is Jane’s demeanor with the gypsy? What does Jane say that the gypsy finds “impudent” but unsurprising?

Jane is calm and composed; she is not intimidated by the foreign-looking stranger. She says the gypsy may tell her fortune if she wants to; Jane then adds that she has no faith in fortune-telling.

Note: Jane calls the gypsy woman...

(The entire section is 716 words.)

Chapter 20


(the) Andes: the longest continental mountain range in the world located along the western coast of South America

Carthage: a city in Northern Africa; the site of many battles in the history of ancient Greece and Rome

charlatan: a swindler, a fraud

culpable: deserving of condemnation or blame for a wrong or harmful action

eyrie: the lofty nest of a bird of prey

inertness: powerlessness to move; sluggishness

inextricable: incapable of being disentangled or untied

protracted: long, continued

rent: torn, split

spue (spew): to gush, to pour out

twain: half, two

Study Questions

1. Describe the...

(The entire section is 816 words.)

Chapter 21


apoplectic: overcome with anger; extremely indignant

ascetic: stern, austere, Spartan

deglutition: the act or process of swallowing

despotic: dictatorial, oppressive

indolence: sloth, laziness

livid: extremely angry

niggard: miser

pecuniary: of or relating to money

peremptory: authoritative, insisting on immediate obedience

presentiment: anticipation, expectation

ruth: compassion

tempestuously: without restraint; violently; in a stormy manner

Study Questions

1. What is Jane dreaming of each night at the beginning of the chapter? What does Jane believe the dreams portend?


(The entire section is 1099 words.)

Chapter 22


acumen: discernment, keenness and depth of perception and understanding

aperture: an opening or open space; a hole, a breach, a chasm

cynosure: one that serves to direct or guide

philter: a magical potion

Study Questions

1. What do Georgiana and Eliza plan to do after Mrs. Reed dies? What becomes of them?

Georgiana plans to travel to London to stay with her uncle and his family. Eliza plans to travel to the Continent to live and study in a Catholic convent in France and “probably take the veil.” Jane tells the reader that Georgiana eventually married “a wealthy, worn-out man of fashion,” and Eliza is the mother superior at...

(The entire section is 547 words.)

Chapter 23


Albion: England was often referred to as Albion in ancient times

automaton: a machine without emotions or feelings

Channel: an arm of the Atlantic that separates southern England and France, often extremely rough and windy

facile: easily mastered

forthwith: immediately

hither: to this place, toward

vehemence: intensity, fierceness

whence: from what or which place

whit: a very tiny bit

Study Questions

1. How is the physical setting reflective of Jane’s love for Rochester?

Everything is beautiful and alive. The skies are “pure” and the sun is “radiant.” The fields surrounding Thornfield...

(The entire section is 636 words.)

Chapter 24


colloquy: conversation, debate

consorting: being friendly and familiar with

coquetry: flirtation, dalliance

Danae: Greek mythology a princess who was imprisoned in an underground chamber by her father

enmity: hatred, animosity

entreated: pleaded with

fagged: tired

gossamer: a gauzy, thin material

houri forms: in Islamic tradition, the forms of women in paradise

King Ahasuerus: Biblical the King of Persia who banished his wife Vashti and made the Jewish girl Esther his queen; Esther succeeded in persuading the King to spare the Jews

nettled: provoked, upset

pinion: to bind fast, to restrain or...

(The entire section is 1061 words.)

Chapter 25


inclement: bitter, nasty (weather)

indissolubly: permanently, bindingly

lurid: shocking, gruesome

portmanteau: a large leather suitcase that opens into two hinged compartments

puerile: childish, immature

Study Questions

1. Where has Rochester gone and when does Jane expect him back? What kind of night is it?

Rochester has left Thornfield to attend to business on a small estate thirty miles away. Jane expects his return at any moment, even checking that the fire is lit for him because it is a “gloomy evening” with a very strong wind.

2. Why does Jane leave the house?

She leaves the...

(The entire section is 599 words.)

Chapter 26


corpulent: fat

Creole: a person of European descent born in the West Indies

embruted (imbruted): degraded to the level of a brute; made bestial

Funchal: the capital of Madeira

resolute: determined, strong willed

surplice: a loose white linen vestment varying from hip-length to calf-length

Study Questions

1. At Jane and Rochester’s wedding, two men appear at the church. Who are they? Why do they interrupt the wedding ceremony?

Mr. Briggs, a solicitor from London, and Mr. Mason come to the church to stop the wedding because Rochester is already married. Briggs declares that Rochester’s wife, Bertha Mason, is still...

(The entire section is 924 words.)

Chapter 27


inanition: emptiness, void; lack of mental or spiritual vigor and enthusiasm

pygmy: something very small of its kind

repudiated: rejected

solecism: an error or blunder that is in breach of good manners

syncope: the physiological action of fainting

upas-tree: a poisonous tree of tropical Asia and Africa

will-o’-the-wisp: atmospheric ghost lights seen by travelers at night, especially over bogs, swamps, marshes; said to draw travelers from a safe path

Study Questions

1. How do Jane and Rochester respond to each other when they meet the day after the truth was revealed about Bertha Mason?

Rochester had expected...

(The entire section is 1056 words.)

Chapter 28


acceded: agreed, consented

allude: to suggest or call attention to indirectly

benign: kindly, amiable

bombazeen (bombazine): a twilled fabric, formerly worn dyed black for mourning

chimera: an unrealizable dream, a fantasy

countenance: appearance, usually of the face

filial: of, relating to, or befitting a son or daughter

fortnight: two weeks

hamlet: a small village

lexicon: a dictionary

omnipresence: at all places at all times

repulse: to reject

stupor: daze, unconsciousness

woe: suffering, anguish

Study Questions

1. How does Jane leave Thornfield? What does she bring...

(The entire section is 752 words.)

Chapter 29


bemired: muddy, dirty

delineation: a drawing or painting

injudiciously: unwisely, without due consideration

remuneration: payment, reimbursement

satiety: fullness, at or beyond gratification

threaped: argued, quarreled

Study Questions

1. How does St. John Rivers assess Jane’s situation?

He says that Jane is “some young lady who has had a misunderstanding with her friends, and has probably injudiciously left them.”

2. What does Jane state about the prejudices people practice? What prompts her to consider the nature of prejudice?

Jane observes that prejudice is a result of...

(The entire section is 541 words.)

Chapter 30


consecration: dedication to a sacred purpose

coruscating: beaming, radiating

Elysium: Greek mythology the paradise where heroes made immortal by the gods are sent after death

expostulate: to reason with earnestly in order to convince

turbid: cloudy, obscure

Study Questions

1. Describe Jane’s friendship with Mary and Diana Rivers.

Jane has met kindred spirits in Mary and Diana. It is the first time in her life when she feels entirely equal and matched in interests and perspective with anyone else: “Thought fitted thought; opinion met opinion: we coincided, in short, perfectly.”

2. How...

(The entire section is 849 words.)

Chapter 31


commodious: ample, spacious

delusive: deceptive

galling: markedly irritating

scions: descendants of a notable family

vacillating: alternating or wavering between decisions

Study Questions

1. How is the theme of social class distinctions evident in Jane at her new school?

Jane feels disheartened at first by her new position because the pupils are poor local villagers, which is reminiscent of the upper classes’ view of the working class and the poor. She writes, “I felt degraded. I doubted I had taken a step which sank instead of raising me in the scale of social existence. I was weakly dismayed at the ignorance, the...

(The entire section is 590 words.)

Chapter 32


affable: friendly, approachable

cui bono: Latin “To whose benefit?”

deistic: godlike, perfect

inundation: a deluge, a flood

lusus naturae: Latin freak of nature

pagan: heathen, agnostic

sullied: soiled, stained

Study Questions

1. How does Jane feel about her job at the village school after a while?

Jane enjoys teaching at the school. Despite her initial misgivings about the ignorance and poverty of the pupils, she discovers many of the children are bright. She makes much progress with them, and their parents are generous and friendly. She enjoys spending her...

(The entire section is 691 words.)

Chapter 33


allaying: diminishing or relieving something, such as pain, fear, worry, etc.

Cheviot’s mountains: a range of rolling hills straddling the English-Scottish border

indigence: poverty, destitution

Marmion: nineteenth-century epic poem, popularly successful but critically panned because of its depiction of a flawed hero

Medusa: Greek mythology a monster who could turn those who directly looked at her into stone

solicitude: worry, anxiety

vestige: a sign, a indication

Study Questions

1. What does St. John tell Jane one snowy evening at her cottage?

St. John informs Jane that he knows what...

(The entire section is 739 words.)

Chapter 34


bauerinnen: German countrywomen

bulwark: a fortification, a support

coadjutor: an assistant or associate

ebullition: a sudden happening

eschew: to have nothing to do with

garrulous: talkative, babbling

hicrophant: an official expounder of sacred mysteries or religious ceremonies, especially in ancient Greece

neophyte: a beginner, an amateur

oblation: something offered in worship or devotion

paysannes: French people who work the land, farmers

Rock of Ages: an eighteenth-century Christian hymn; in context, an allusion to God

tenaciously: with determination


(The entire section is 1133 words.)

Chapter 35


boon: a benefit, a favor

conciliate: to placate, to appease, to pacify

propitiate: to satisfy, to soothe

venerated: revered, admired, esteemed

Study Questions

1. Why is St. John being mean to Jane?

St. John alienates Jane and lets her know that she is not in favor with him because she refuses to marry him. He upbraids her for her concern for Rochester because she is not focusing on useful endeavors, sincerely fearing she will consequently go to hell. Jane tells him she will travel to India with him but will not be his wife because it would kill her. She believes that to have yielded to Rochester would have been “an error of...

(The entire section is 725 words.)

Chapter 36


cumbrous: awkward, bulky

Paul and Silas: two missionaries said to have prayed to God repeatedly while in prison until God released them

scourging: beating, punishing

“tideless sea of the south”: the Mediterranean Sea

timorous: timid, meek, afraid

Study Questions

1. As Jane prepares for her trip to Thornfield, she receives a note from St. John. Describe how Jane’s reaction to the note shows that she is going to see Rochester for the same reasons she once left him.

St. John’s note admonishes Jane to consider her spirit over her flesh. Jane believes that her spirit “is willing to do what is right; and my flesh, I hope,...

(The entire section is 934 words.)

Chapter 37


cicatrised: blemished, flawed

lameter: cripple

Nebuchadnessar (Nebuchadnezzar): king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire (605-562 BC) who con-quered Judah and Jerusalem and sent the Jews into exile; also credited with creating the Hanging Gardens of Babylon

sylvan: forest-like, rustic

Vulcan: Roman mythology god of fire, son of Jupiter and Juno (king and queen of the gods); deformed and ugly, but extremely strong

Historical Reference

“. . . if Saul could have had his David”: Saul was the first king of the Kingdom of Israel (1079-1007 BC). When an evil spirit troubles Saul, David plays the harp and sings songs in order to soothe him.


(The entire section is 516 words.)

Chapter 38 (Conclusion)


Apollyon: a hideous monster defeated by a hero in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, published in two parts in 1674 and 1678

caste: social class

creed: beliefs, principles

oculist: an eye doctor

Study Questions

1. Why is the first line of this chapter significant? How much time has elapsed since the previous chapter?

Jane opens the last chapter of the novel, which occurs ten years after her reunion with Rochester, with the words “Reader, I married him.” By stating it thus, she is again drawing the reader into an intimate sharing of her story, and she is indicating that she was able and willing to make the choice to...

(The entire section is 941 words.)

Multiple-Choice Test and Answer Key

1. What traumatic event for Jane is the catalyst for her being sent to the Lowood School?

A. She is locked in the red-room.

B. She is locked in the blue-room.

C. She is locked in her bedroom.

D. She is locked outside.

E. She is locked up in the barn.

2. Who is kind to Jane at Gateshead?

A. John Reed

B. Bessie

C. Hannah

D. Miss Temple

E. Mrs. Fairfax

3. Which of these is NOT a theme or motif in Jane Eyre?

A. gender roles

B. music


(The entire section is 1118 words.)

Essay Exam Questions With Answers

1. What does Jane learn about herself and religion from Brocklehurst, Helen Burns, and her cousins St. John and Eliza? Support your discussion with examples from the novel.

When Brontë wrote Jane Eyre, Victorian society advocated God as sovereign, as well as the idea that humans are fundamentally depraved sinners and faith is the key to salvation. Jane rejects this view of religion, as represented in the novel through the characters of Brocklehurst, Helen Burns, St. John, and Eliza. Instead, she has a view of religion that is a mixture of Christian and pagan ideals. For Jane, God is evident in Nature and is compassionate, bounteous, and merciful. Christianity of the day appears to her to lack reason in lieu of...

(The entire section is 3482 words.)