How is Charlotte Bronte's life reflected through Jane Eyre? How are they similar and how are they different?

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amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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There are actually quite a few similarities.  Jane was an orphan, and like her, Charlotte grew up without a mother (she died when Charlotte was five).  Both Jane and Charlotte were sent away to boarding schools where the conditions and staff were not always pleasant.  In both lives, an epidemic of typhus broke out.  In Charlotte's case, the epidemic claimed the lives of two of her sisters.  She was brought home immediately after.

Jane marries Mr. Rochester after his first and very crazy wife has set fire to the house and left him blinded and crippled.  She ends up caring for him as an invalid rather than as a wife.

Charlotte loses all her sisters to illnesses, is left to care for her father until his death, and then accepts a proposal from one of her father's friends who served as the headmaster at the school where she attended.  She contracts a fever and dies at the age of thirty-nine, pregnant with her first child.

Quite lives are full of bittersweet events and tragic stories.

dymatsuoka's profile pic

dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

There are many similarities between events in Charlotte Bronte's life and Jane Eyre.  Charlotte grew up on the desolate moors of Yorkshire which provide the setting for the book.  Like Jane, she lost her mother at a young age, was raised by an aunt, and sent with her sisters to a religious school where harsh, unsanitary conditions spawned a typhoid epidemic which she escaped but in which her two sisters died.  Unlike Jane, Charlotte did still have a loving, albeit poor, father and siblings to sustain her during her formative years, and her aunt was not cruel like the aunt in the story.  Later in life, Charlotte, like Jane, worked for a time as a governess, and fell in love with the married headmaster at a school in which she was enrolled.  The headmaster did not have a complicated, tragic past like Jane's Mr. Rochester, and nothing ever came of Charlotte's feelings toward him.  

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