Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is a complex novel which embodies the characteristics of many types of novels, and of course it is still read today because it has something important to say.
While it is not an actual autobiography, it is certainly autobiographical. The protagonist, Jane Eyre, spends most of her life as an orphan at Lowood, a very strict girls’ boarding school. While there she develops a friendship with a gentle friend, Helen Burns, who soon dies of tuberculosis. Jane becomes a teacher at Lowood and then becomes a governess. Jane’s cousin John Reed becomes an alcoholic.
These elements of the story are remarkably similar to Charlotte’s own upbringing. Her mother died when she was young, and Charlotte and her three sisters were sent away to a boarding school where she was miserable. Two of her sisters die of tuberculosis while there, and Charlotte becomes both a teacher and a governess. Her brother, Branwell, also suffers from chronic substance abuse (opium). The...
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