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Free Study Guide-Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte-Free Booknotes Summary
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Chapter 10

Summary

The typhus epidemic draws public attention to the poor conditions of Lowood and improvements are made. Eventually, Lowood School becomes a noble institution. Jane spends six years as a pupil and two as a teacher there.

Miss Temple remains a "mother," "governess" and "companion" to Jane. Then she marries a Reverend Nasmyth and leaves Lowood. Jane becomes restless again and advertises her services as a governess in the Herald. The only reply she receives is from a Mrs. Fairfax of Thornfield. Mrs. Fairfax wants Jane to serve as a governess to a ten-year-old girl, at a salary of &pound;30 a year. Bessie visits Jane the day before she leaves Lowood. Bessie is now married to Robert Leaven, the coachman at Gateshead, and has two children. She is not greatly pleased by Jane's outward appearance. However, she finds her education superior to that of the Reed sisters. Bessie also tells her that seven years ago, a Mr. Eyre had come to Gateshead with a desire to see her. He could not come to the school to meet her as he was taking a ship to Madeira the next day.

Notes

At Lowood Jane becomes a more disciplined person. Her feelings become "better regulated" and her thoughts "more harmonious." But all these changes are due to Miss Temple's inspiration and encouragement. Significantly, it is not Helen, but Miss Temple, who is the major influence on Jane at Lowood.


However, Jane's tranquillity leaves her when Miss Temple marries. Jane gets from Miss Temple "something of her nature and much of her habits." She realizes that principles may spring from a divine order, but they have meaning primarily within a human context. Jane also realizes that the outside world is huge, and that "a varied field of hopes and fears, of sensations and excitements, awaited those who had the courage to go forth into its expanse to seek real knowledge of life amidst its perils." In this context, Lowood, like Gateshead, suddenly seems a place of detention. Jane longs to surmount the peaks on the horizon of Lowood: she is looking forward to the fast- paced industrialized life of Millcote. She wants liberty and prays for at least "a new servitude."

However, her stay at Lowood has served a purpose. It has registered Jane's growth as a person. It has also taught her the necessary restraint of passion. Her proficiency in painting and her piano playing are indicative of her progress as a student. She can now "compete" with young ladies of a higher social class.

An important episode in this chapter is Bessie's visit to Lowood. She brings news of the Reeds and is happy to see that Jane has become "quite a lady." The eighteen-year-old Jane, as seen through the eyes of Bessie, is neither tall nor well built. In this novel, the reader learns about Jane's appearance only from the comments of others.

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