Jane Eyre lives the first 10 years of her life as an oppressed, misunderstood orphan
housed by her aunt against her will. Jane's relationship with the Reeds, her guardian family, is
nothing short of abusive, both physically and emotionally. But after a frightening encounter with
night terrors, Jane goes off to Lowood Orphan Asylum, a charity school, where she makes her
first friend and experiences her first loss when that friend dies of tuberculosis. After six years as
a student, she becomes a teacher and teaches at Lowood for two years. She starts to learn how to
be self-sufficient when she pursues other employment on her own.
She accepts a job as a governess at Thornfield to a little French girl, Adèle. She doesn't meet
her master, Mr. Edward Rochester, for the first two weeks of her employment. Despite their
difference in social class, Jane and Mr. Rochester soon fall in love and make plans to wed.
However, the wedding is stopped when it is revealed that Mr. Rochester already has a wife,
stowed away in the Thornfield mansion because of a type of insanity that runs in her family.
After discovering his current marital status, Jane takes off, not wanting to remain Mr.
On her journey, Jane becomes a schoolmistress in the town of Morton and later inherits
20,000 pounds from her father's brother. When she learns her friends, the Rivers, are actually her
cousins, she shares the inheritance and resides in their house. After Jane rejects a marriage
proposal from St. John Rivers, she returns to Thornfield to find out if Mr. Rochester is well.
Thornfield, however, is no more, burned to the ground by Bertha Mason, Mr. Rochester's wife,
who died in the fire. Jane finally learns that Mr. Rochester, crippled and blinded trying to save
his servants from the fire, has retired to another estate, Ferndean, and she goes there. Once Mr.
Rochester believes it is, indeed, Jane and not a figment of his imagination, they finally marry.