Reading Points for Jane Eyre
Because Jane Eyre is such a long novel and we are working through it in only 2 days, here are some points to focus your reading.  For our first day of discussion, read the Author's Preface and Chapters 1-17.  We will discuss general themes, but you should pick out a few quotes to interject into the discussion.

General Points

  1. Brontė populates the novel with many female characters roughly the same age as Jane—Georgiana and Eliza Reed, Helen Burns, Blanche Ingram, Mary and Diana Rivers, and Rosamund Oliver. How do comparisons with these characters shape the reader's understanding of Jane's character?
  2. What is the role of physical beauty in Jane Eyre? What does the author suggest about its importance to individual happiness?
  3. Jane certainly deviates from some of the social standards of her time about what roles women should play; we know, also, that Charlotte Brontė , like her character, chafed against the restrictions she faced because she was a woman. Is Jane Eyre, then, a "feminist" novel?
  4. What is Brontė saying in this novel about the role of women in her society?
  5. Colonialism, national pride and the British Empire surface very subtly in this novel (more in the second half).  Where do you see representations of these? In the characters, the landscape/setting, the physical structures, the insistence on proper and moral behavior?

Chapter Discussion Points

These questions may form the basis for class discussion, homework, or quizzes. However, you should familiarize yourself with these questions even if they are not assigned--they may help you sort out difficulties with the text. You should try to answer the questions in a figurative sense, not just in a literal sense. In other words, look for the deeper meaning behind each question by asking yourself if there is any symbolism involved.
Preface Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20 Chapter 21 Chapter 2 Chapter 23 Chapter 24 Chapter 25 Chapter 26 Chapter 27 Chapter 28 Chapter 29 Chapter 30 Chapter 31 Chapter 32 Chapter 33 Chapter 34 Chapter 35 Chapter 36 Chapter 37 Chapter 38