To what extent is the novel Jane Eyre an autobiography of its author?How is Jane a reflection of the author?

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jane Eyre was originally published as Jane Eyre: An Autobiographyunder Charlotte Bronte's pen name, Currer Bell.  Several aspects of Jane Eyre are extremely similar to events from Bronte's real life experiences.

1. Tuberculosis-- Jane's friend Helen dies from tuberculosis, as did Bronte's two sisters. 

2. Poor living conditions-- The Bronte sisters attended a religious school with poor health conditions.

3. Over-bearing minister figure--Mr. Brocklehurst.  The Bronte sisters' school was run by an evangelical minister. 

4. Boarding School.  Jane attends Lowood, and Bronte attended Clergy Daughters' School in Lancashire.  

5. Alcoholism-- John Reed's alcoholism was probably inspired by Charlotte's brother Branwell, who was addicted to opium and alchohol.

6.  Being a governess--Bronte acted as a governess.

7.  Thornfield-- Inspired by a real place that Bronte visited in 1845, North Lees Hall. 

8.  Insanity-- Bronte learns on her visit to North Lees Hall in 1845 that the first owner was reportedly insane and kept in a padded room.

9.  Jane's reactions in the novel reflect Bronte's own personal experiences; Bronte lived through these trials and let them inspire Jane's handling of each situation. 

10. Moreover, the emotional and social expectations placed on Jane throughout the novel certainly mirror what Bronte experienced in her own life as a woman trying to make her own way.