TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Examine the behavior of Georgiana Reed, Blanche Ingram, and Rosamond Oliver to determine their ultimate goals. What are they? Do you think these goals are worthwhile?
2. Contrast Georgiana Reed, Blanche Ingram, and Rosamond Oliver with Maria Temple, Helen Burns, Bessie Lee, and the Rivers sisters. What qualities distinguish the latter women?
3. In what ways are Edward Rochester and John Reed different as sons? As men of the world? How do the causes of their erratic lives differ?
4. Compare Gateshead, Thornfield, and Moor House. What factors make these places either warm and welcoming or cold and foreboding? Is one more neutral than the others?
5. In what ways does Bronte’s characterization of St. John Rivers restore dignity to ministry after her portrayal of Mr. Brocklehurst? In what ways is Rivers flawed in his religious vocation, particularly as it concerns Jane?
6. Summarize Jane Eyre’s philosophy of life and standard of values. How would she fit in today’s society?
7. Choose any three characters in Jane Eyre and examine them as “victims.” Are their victimizations real or imagined? Can they change them? What must others do to help?
IDEAS FOR REPORTS AND PAPERS
1. How are Jane, Edward, and Bertha all imprisoned in different ways by different circumstances? What liberates them? How do these different processes indicate individual responsibilities in pursuing freedom?
2. Make a comparative survey of the idea of beauty in William Makepeace Thackeray’s Becky Sharp, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and Jane Eyre. How important was beauty then? Now? What has changed, if anything, about the value of beauty versus brains?
3. How have ideas about child behavior changed from Jane’s time to the present day? Do children have the same status today as then? If there is “extended childhood” today, what factors have brought it about? What effects does the phenomenon of “extended childhood” have on society? The economy? Character?
4. Compare the views of God as presented in this book by Jane, Helen Burns, St. John Rivers, and Rochester.
5. Describe at least three inversions, or turnarounds, of plot, character, or setting in which apparent good turns bad or vice versa. What do these inversions contribute to the story?