Jane Eyre - Understanding the Text
How much do you know about Jane Eyre?

Jane Eyre - Understanding the Text

This GCSE English Literature quiz is about understanding the text in Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. It is important to ensure that you understand a text as well as possible before you begin to analyse and write about it. Comprehending a text is not always as straightforward as it might seem. After all, if authors had only simple messages to convey, would they really require hundreds of pages and thousands of words to do so? Extra effort is needed when you read a text written in a previous century, or in another country, or with characters given a strong dialect. Jane Eyre was written in the nineteenth century, using a vocabulary and style rather different to that of a modern novel. These factors can make the novel more of a challenge to understand

Authors have a variety of methods at their disposal in order to convey meaning. While it is always possible to state what they mean directly, they will also communicate with their readers through the various aspects of fiction: character, setting, plot, theme and dialogue, for example. Analysing each of these elements separately will help you to develop your understanding of the text. It is always a good idea to re-read the text; only reading a book once can lead you to miss important details. So, whenever you find that you need to re-read sections of text, don’t worry! If you have to make some extra effort to understand a part of the text which you find tricky, it just shows that you’ve been paying close attention to its subtleties!

Spend some time considering how the context, setting and events of the text are related. Making a timeline of events is a useful method of revision, one which will help develop your understanding of the text. Remember that events in a novel are not always related chronologically, so the timeline will need to account for flashbacks or for earlier events only revealed in later chapters. How might Jane Eyre change, for example, if Mr Rochester had not had his terrible secret hidden away in the attic, but had been honest from the beginning?

Analyse the relationship between characters’ actions and motivations. Examine the clues which explain the interactions of different characters. Consider whether words can be taken at face value, or if subtext reveals otherwise. Remember to think about the narrator, too. What is the narrator’s role? As you consider these elements of the text, remember to ask yourself how you could justify your views through evidence.

Always spend some time analysing the beginnings and endings in the text. Consider possible reasons why the text begins as it does. What do you learn at the very beginning of the novel about the setting and the characters? Do you see any evidence of the foreshadowing of future events? This type of analysis also works well with the beginnings and ends of chapters. You can significantly improve your knowledge and understanding of the text by careful and detailed analysis of this sort.

Read the questions below on Jane Eyre and test your knowledge and understanding of the text.

The regime at Lowood School is cruel and harsh on the children. Which occurrence brings a drastic change in circumstances at the school?
The best teachers resign in protest at the conditions
Children starve through only being given burnt porridge to eat
Jane objects to her unfair punishment
An epidemic of typhus fever spreads through the school
The devastating disease draws public attention to Lowood; afterwards wealthy individuals improve conditions at the school and provide some oversight of Mr Brocklehurst
Where is Jane sent by her aunt, Mrs Reed?
Thornfield Hall
Lowood School
Moor House
Mrs Reed sends Jane to Lowood School not long after the incident in which Jane is locked into the Red Room. The apothecary who attends Jane suggests that a "change of air and scene" might be good for her, although Mrs Reed seems more intent on ridding herself of her responsibility towards Jane
What does Jane learn from her visit to Gateshead as an adult?
She learns the reason for her aunt's hatred of her as a child
She learns to be compassionate and forgiving towards her aunt despite the past
She learns that her cousins have become even unhappier than she had been as a child
All of the above
Jane is the only practical presence in the house and stays at her aunt's bedside out of duty while her cousins bicker
Why is Mr Rochester responsible for Adèle?
Her mother died, leaving Rochester as her guardian
She is his daughter
She is his niece
He takes an interest in all orphaned children
Adèle might be Rochester's daughter, but he never recognises her as such, rejecting the possibility. He does recognse that his relationship with her mother places some responsibility upon him for the child's upbringing. He is alternately cold and indulgent towards his ward
Why is the wedding between Jane and Mr Rochester stopped?
Mr Mason hates Mr Rochester and wishes to ruin his life
Mr Rochester is already married
Jane gives into her fears about marriage
Jealousy prompts Bertha Mason to send her brother to interrupt the wedding
Mr Rochester attempts an illegal bigamous marriage. He is already married and unable to divorce Bertha. He knows that Jane would not agree to be his mistress
Which of the following is NOT a change Jane finds when she finds Mr Rochester at the end of the novel?
Adèle has a new governess
Rochester has been blinded
Bertha Mason is dead
Thornfield Hall has been gutted by fire
The fire started by Bertha destroys Thornfield Hall; Mr Rochester loses his sight and his hand attempting to save everyone from the burning house
Mr Rochester is filled with self-loathing for his past mistakes and the wild behaviours of his youth. What does he say draws him to Jane?
Her strong passions and powerful sense of self
Her kindness towards Adèle
Her skill at art
Her honest and pure character
Mr Rochester believes he can become a better man if Jane loves him, as if her character will rub off on his
Who does Jane believe at first to be responsible for the strange sounds in the attic at Thornfield?
Bertha Mason
Grace Poole
Mrs Fairfax
Even after Bertha attacks her brother Mr Mason, Jane is kept ignorant of her existence
Which of the following is true of Blanche Ingram?
She makes efforts to befriend Jane
She has little care for wealth
She represents everything which Jane is not
She deeply loves Rochester and is devastated when he decides to marry Jane
Not only is Blanche beautiful, wealthy and accomplished, while Jane is poor and humble about her skills and her appearance, but she also represents traits which Jane rejects, for example her belief that she is superior to others by virtue of her wealth, appearance and intelligence
How are Jane and the Rivers siblings related?
They were neighbours as children
Jane is the long-lost sister of the Rivers siblings
Jane's mother married their uncle
They are not actually related, but refer to themselves as "cousins" to express how close they are
Jane is overjoyed to find cousins (the Reeds are also cousins, but the family had disowned her mother and they do not treat Jane as family)
You can find more about this topic by visiting BBC Bitesize - Jane Eyre

Author:  Sheri Smith

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