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Jane Eyre: Novel vs. Movie (2011)

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Emily Boylan

on 23 November 2016

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Transcript of Jane Eyre: Novel vs. Movie (2011)

Jane Eyre
Plot Structure

Jane Eyre
The novel is written from the first person point of view, Jane's perspective. It is more difficult to infer and understand Jane's inner thoughts in the movie adaptation. The reader understands that Jane is thinking and analyzing during her moments of silence in the novel, but these moments present her as more obstinate to talk in the movie. Because the movie does not spend so much time showing events that occured in Jane's youth, the viewer does not know why Jane is so hesitant and distrusting in adulthood.

Mr. Rochester
In both the movie and the novel Mr. Rochester is portrayed as mysterious, abrupt, and somewhat rude. He does not reveal his past to Jane until they are at the altar and unable to marry because he has already been married. Rochester is a round character in that he becomes caring and more open as he falls in love with Jane.

"'...you feel it when he speaks to you; you cannot be always sure whether he is jest or earnest, whether he is pleased or the contrary; you don't thoroughly understand him'" (124).
St. John
The movie begins toward the end of the book with Jane Eyre walking alone in the rain, and she appears to be running away from something. Penniless and with no place to go, St. John Rivers and his sisters take Jane in. From here, we flash back to the beginning of the story which continues chronologically throughout the rest of the movie.
The director, Cary Fukanaga, had to try and fit so much information and detail into a movie, it is only likely that some scenes would need to be cut.
Jane Eyre
begins at the Reed family home, Gateshead. Here Jane is continually mistreated and tortured by the Reed family. She begins asking questions such as "Why was I always suffering, always browbeaten, always accused, forever condemned? Why could I never please? Why was it useless to try to win anyone's favor?" (10).
Religion is very prominent throughout the novel, which includes many religous references and influences. However, in the movie, religion is not as prevalent, but included in a more subtle manner. Religous ideals and motives are quickly mentioned and casually thrown in, but not overbearing and excessive as in the novel.
However, this quote from the book is depicted in the movie.
"Do you know where the wicked go after death? [...] "They go to hell [...] a pit full of fire" (Bronte 31).
Supernatural Elements
In the novel, Jane is very superstitious. Often, mostly when alone or frightened, she imagines that she sees ghosts or fears a ghostly myth "coming for her." In the movie, supernatural elements are far less stressed, even mentioned jokingly at one point. At one point in the beginning of the movie, Jane's childhood ghost-sighting is omitted and just replaced with her being startled from a natural noise within a house, not a "ghost."
"At this moment a light gleamed on the wall. Was it, I asked myself, a ray from the moon penetrating some aperture in the blind? No [...] Oh! I saw a light and thought a ghost would come" (Bronte 13).
At another point in the novel, she is in the woods and becomes fearful of an old folktale she was once told: a "north of New England spirit, called a "Gytrash"; which in the form of horse, mule, or large dog, haunted solitary ways, and sometimes came upon belated travellers, as this horse was now coming upon me"
Gender Roles
Gender roles exist as the most prominent motif in the movie, unlike the novel. The movie utlilizes characters such as Mr. Rochester, Blanche Ingram, and Bertha Mason to emphasize this topic.
Blanche Ingram is depicted as what every woman of Jane's time "should" be: rich, beautiful, and possessing the sole purpose of becoming someone's wife.
Bertha Ingram represents the "trapped" woman in a marriage. When first presented, she appears almost animalistic, and Mr. Rochester domesticates her.
Mr. Rochster, though caring towards Jane, is deoicted as quite condescending through his language, and assertive nature over women in the movie.
This is better presented into the movie with the help of theatrical elements one can see rather than just read.
Book to Movie Comparison (2011)
Helen Burns
Helen acts as foil to Jane in the novel in that she tries to understand and forgive people that mistreat her at the Lowood Institute. Helen is more submissive while Jane struggles to control her emotions and retain faith. Helen does not play such a major role in the movie adaptation as she does in the novel.

"I could not comprehend this doctrine of endurance; and still less could I understand or sympathize with the forebearance she expressed for her chastiser" (68).
Bertha Mason is Rochester's wife that suffers from congenital insanity; therefore, Rochester locks her away so no one can see her. Bertha impedes Jane's happiness and foreshadows that her marriage will not work with Rochester when she destroys her wedding veil in the novel. This event is not included in the movie and therefore does not add to the plot. When Bertha dies, Jane and Rochester are finally happy and able to marry.
Jane Eyre
takes place in England during the early nineteenth century. Her specific location changes thoughout the novel as she follows her journey. She travels to Gateshead Hall, Lowood, Thornfield Manor, Moor House, and Ferndean. Each place represents a significant time in Jane's life.
The Effect
The director may have intended to add a degree of mysteriousness or suspense to the movie. He wanted to draw the viewer in. However, it mainly leads to confusion especially if the viewer has not read the book.
In the book, two motifs that
are stressed greatly are supernatural
elements and religion. However,
the movie tends to downplay these
topics, stressing gender roles instead.
Moor House
Written by Charlotte Bronte,
Jane Eyre
is a Gothic romance novel that tells the story of a young orphaned girl named Jane Eyre that lives with her aunt. She is soon sent away to school where she receives an education at the Lowood Insitute. From there she leaves to pursue a governess job for Mr. Rochester. Mr. Rochester is a dark and mysterious man that Jane eventually falls in love with. However, a deep secret scares Jane away and she ends up with the Rivers family who welcome her in as one of their own. As Jane gains strength and independence she finds herself drawn back to Mr. Rochester, despite his secret.
Eventually, Mrs. Reed has had enough of Jane and sends her to away to school. Many of the girls are treated poorly due to the strictness of Mr. Brocklehurst. In the following clip, Jane is singled out and isolated in an attempt to disrupt the beating of her friend Helen.
The same incident occurs in the book. Jane's thoughts are "There I was, then, mounted aloft; I who said I could not bear the shame of standing on my natural feet in the middle of the room, was now exposed to general view on a pedestal of infamy" (72). The movie highlights the degree of punishment that Jane endures.
A majority of Jane's development takes place here as she encounters many joys and difficulties. We are introduced to the owner of Thornfield, Mr. Rochester. Most of her time here Jane is treated like a servant, thus when she falls in love with Mr. Rochester she knows she cannot pursue it because he is of higher class than her.
The book highlights the differences in social class with the arrival of Rochester's guests, especially when they discuss the job of governesses. One guest in particular believes she has "suffered a martyrdom from their incompetency and caprice; I thank Heaven I have now done with them!" (203). The movie leaves out most of the scenes concerning the guests, tending to focus on Jane and Rochester instead.

Jane travels from Thornfield to the Moor House because she has found out about Bertha. This is where the movie begins, Jane is found on the Rivers' front step. Jane gains a newfound independence because St. John gives Jane a home at a school where she begins teaching.
Book vs. Movie
In both the movie and the book Jane receives a letter letting her know that a relative of hers has passed away and has left his fortune of £20,000 to her.
Jane also learns that the Rivers are her cousins.
The Rivers family decides to adopt Jane into the family
Part of the appeal of the story is that Jane thinks she is utterly alone in the world and then turns out not to be. In the book it is a "glorious discovery to a lonely wretch! This was wealth indeed! -wealth to the heart!" (447).
With Jane's newly gained independence and wealth she finds herself drawn back to Thornfield. She finds "a blackened ruin" upon arrival, which is the result of Bertha's craziness (494). She reunites with Rochester where they have a new kind of love. The burning of Thornfield symbolizes the end of Rochester's forceful attitude and Ferndean fosters a new relationship. Jane's complete development comes from the line "Reader, I married him" (522).
This manor came to represent the dominate and controlling Rochester. Though he proposed "equal - as we are", he still treated Jane with inferiority and tried to command her. Jane does not seem to be bothered by his demeanor and would have stayed with him if was not for the revealing of his wife, Bertha.
In the novel, while Mr. Rochester is looking over Jane's drawings she describes them and her interest in artwork for three paragraphs.
Miss Temple
In the book she contrasted Mr. Brocklehurst by caring and loving the girls. After Mr. Brocklehurst places Jane on the pedestal of infamy, Miss Temple seeks her to find out the truth. She tells Jane "'You have been charged with falsehood; defend yourself to me'" (77). The movie never mentions Miss Temple who was vital in developing Jane's future.
St. John gives Jane food and shelter when she runs away from Thornfield. St. John asks Jane to marry him so that they can travel to India as missionaries. The feelings Jane has for St. John juxtapose her feelings for Rochester as she often associates him with ice. Jane is repulsed by the idea of marrying someone that she does not love and that is not Rochester.
Emily Boylan, Becky Degeneres, and Taylor Mutavdzic
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