Quicklet on Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

by Maureen Lee Lenker

What's in the book?

Quicklets: Your reading sidekick!

    • About the Book
    • About the Author
    • Synopsis
    • Chapter-By-Chapter Commentary & Summary
    • Key Character List
    • Key Terms and Definitions
    • Major Themes and Symbols
    • Interesting Related Facts
    • Additional Reading



Jane Eyre, first published in London in 1847 under Charlotte Bronte’s pen name Currer Bell, is a classic three-volume novel that exemplifies the tenets of both Gothic and Romantic fiction. Though popular on both high school and college required reading lists, it has also been a book well-beloved by readers for generations.

Female readers make up the novel’s most ardent devotees, no doubt aided by the presence of a strong female protagonist and the undeniably alluring Byronic hero, Mr. Rochester. A novel indicative of the Victorian era from which it was produced, Jane Eyre holds readers enrapt with a classic Gothic mystery at its core and a heady romance between the two main characters.


Maureen Lee Lenker recently graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Southern California with a BA in history and cinematic arts, as well as a minor in theatre. She is currently a program assistant at the USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study. In the fall, she will continue her education as an MPhil student in history at the University of Oxford. Her concentration will be material culture in Renaissance England.

In addition to her academic writing, she has written movie reviews and television recaps for the entertainment blog, The Popsicle. She is a classic film buff, a pop culture junkie, and a history enthusiast, and she is happiest when her life allows her to combine these three interests. She loves USC football (being a former member of the Trojan Marching Band), Disney, Impressionist Art, Broadway musicals, Shakespeare, and Jane Austen. A life-long lover of the theatre, she enjoys attending, acting in, and producing plays.

In her free time, she enjoys relaxing with a good book and a cup of tea or watching old movies on TCM. Or if she’s feeling more adventurous, playing pub trivia at a bar with friends and a Pimm’s Cup in hand. She’s a die-hard Trojan, a hapless fan-girl, and a cockeyed optimist.

Follow her on twitter at @maureenlee89


Bertha, the infamous “madwoman in the attic,” stands in stark contrast to Jane’s control. She is the embodiment of unchecked passion, and Rochester even describes her promiscuous behavior and delight in vices as symptoms of her lunacy. Her scraggly hair and loose nightgown are physical manifestations of Bertha’s lack of containment. Bertha’s own inability to control and master her passions forces Rochester to physically confine and contain her within Thornfield. When she escapes her prison, her passionate nature pushes her to commit heinous acts of violence.

Jane Eyre has long held a hallowed place in pop culture and public consciousness. In addition to the Wide Sargasso Sea, the novel has inspired countless spin-offs and sequels, such as Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair. In addition, it has been retold in over 10 film and mini-series adaptations and even a stage musical. The most recent film adaptation debuted in March 2011, and it starred Mia Wasikowska as Jane and Michael Fassbender as Mr. Rochester.

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