Charlotte Brontë’s (1816–1855) iconic novel of 1847 is subtitled ‘An Autobiography’. It is an example of a Bildungsroman: a work that traces the education and development of its heroine, and follows her journey through life. The text combines realism with fairy tale and Gothic motifs. Jane is a bullied, but rebellious, orphan, whose suffering continues when she is sent to Lowood School. She eventually becomes a governess at Thornfield Hall, where she is proposed to by her employer, Edward Rochester. A Byronic figure, Rochester holds a dark secret: he is already married, to an insane woman incarcerated in the attic. Some contemporary reviewers voiced concerns, accusing the author of coarseness and anti-Christian sentiments.
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