What are the autobiographical elements in Jane Eyre?

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Charlotte Brontë published Jane Eyre in 1847, having failed to interest the publishers in a novel called The Professor, which featured a male protagonist and drew on her recent experiences in Belgium. Jane Eyre is subtitled "An Autobiography" and clearly draws on many of the author's own experiences, particularly in early life. Jane Eyre, like Charlotte Brontë, is left motherless at an early age and sent away to a school she hates. The harsh discipline and religious hypocrisy of Lowood School in the novel are based on Cowan Bridge School for Clergy Daughters, which Brontë attended, and where two of her sisters died. The headmaster, William Carus Wilson is generally regarded as the model for the sanctimonious Reverend Brocklehurst in Jane Eyre. Brontë's depiction of the school has sometimes been regarded as an exaggeration, but the author insisted that, if anything, she underplayed the squalor and the savagery of Cowan Bridge.

After school, Jane Eyre's early career follows Charlotte Brontë's, working as a governess and a teacher and even planning to open her own school. Despite the fact that they suffered similar privations and disappointments, the author was able to travel to Europe and live in Brussels for two years, something her heroine could only dream of doing. However, Jane's passionate longing for travel and adventure show that, even when their experiences begins to diverge, Jane Eyre closely resembles Charlotte Brontë in her ambitions and her approach to life.

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What are the autobiographical elements in Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre?

Jane Eyre is subtitled "An Autobiography," and there are clear parallels between the life of the author and that of the heroine. Like Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë lost her mother when she was young and was sent away to school. She detested The Clergy Daughters' School at Cowan Bridge and blamed the conditions there for the deaths of her two sisters, Maria and Elizabeth. The stifling atmosphere of religious hypocrisy and the squalid conditions, even down to specific details such as the burned porridge and frozen water, clearly served as Brontë's model for Lowood School. When the reader at her publisher, Smith, Elder & Co., congratulated Bronte on composing such a vivid description of an appalling school, she insisted that it was all true and that she had even left out the worst elements of Cowan Bridge to make her description credible.

Brontë, like Jane Eyre, went on to become a governess and a teacher. Unlike her heroine, she was able to travel, spending two years in Brussels. At this point, the details of Charlotte Brontë's own life clearly diverged from those in which she placed Jane. Jane, however, is constantly restless and clearly longs for the opportunities to travel which her creator actually enjoyed. Even when Jane's circumstances are no longer the same as Brontë's, they remain similar in temperament and outlook.

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