Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
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Jane Eyre is an orphan raised by her cold-hearted Aunt Reed (Judy Cornwell) and abused by her cousin John. One day Jane stands up to John; when he hits her, she hits back, letting out a flood of long-suppressed emotions. For that Jane is sent away to Lowood, a boarding school poor and orphaned girls. Jane spends 8 years at Lowood, surviving harsh conditions, typhus epidemic, and the loss of a dear friend. She gets good education and eventually becomes one of the teachers. However, she wants to explore the world she has seen so little of. She advertises in a newspaper seeking a position of a private tutor. Her ad is answered. Mrs. Fairfax of Thornfield Hall offers her to be the governess for a young girl.
Jane arrives to Thornfield and gets to know her student, Adelle, who happens to be French. It turns out that Mrs. Fairfax (Jean Harvey) does not own Thornfield, she is only the housekeeper. The owner is Mr. Rochester, a wealthy gentleman who spends most of his time abroad and only shows up in Thornfield once in a while. Adelle is Mr. Rochester’s. Jane is very curious to meet Mr. Rochester, and when she does, her curiosity is stirred even more. A man of a very strong character, closed up and reserved most of the time, he seems to be in some constant inner turmoil. Mr. Rochester notices Jane as well; he questions her about her past and finds her honest and thoughtful answers unusual. The two are drawn to each other, but Jane guards her heart and does not get her hopes up since it is very unlikely that Mr. Rochester would marry his governess. He is courting Ms. Ingram (Mary Tamm), a proud beauty from a rich family, and things seem to be quickly progressing towards marriage.
When Mr. Rochester suddenly announces that he has no intention of marrying Ms. Ingram and proposes to Jane, she at first refuses to believe it. However, she sees that Mr. Rochester is in earnest, and she accepts his proposal. But on the day of their wedding a stranger walks into the church and declares that the ceremony cannot go on because Mr. Rochester is already married. This shocking announcement turns out to be true. Mr. Rochester had gotten married at a very young age, to a mentally ill woman, whose illness was concealed from him by her family. Her condition had later on worsened to complete madness. Unable to get a divorce, Mr. Rochester had secretly brought his wife to Thornfield and for many years kept her locked in a room upstairs, with a servant attending to her. He explains to Jane how it all came about and asks to forgive him for deceiving her. Jane is devastated. She still loves Mr. Rochester, but she will not be a mistress to a married man. She flees from Thornfield and starts a new life under a new name. However, when she hears that Mr. Rochester was injured in a fire trying to save his mad wife, who is now dead, Jane rushes back to him, and they are reunited.