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Jane Eyre Chapter 10 Summary

Instructor: Lauren Boivin

Lauren has taught English at the university level and has a master's degree in literature.

While the previous nine chapters of ''Jane Eyre'' covered only a small space of time, the tenth chapter makes quick work of the eight years following the typhus outbreak. During this time, Jane sets a course for change in her life.

A Quick Eight Years

In a tone of succinct summary, Jane highlights the major events of the past eight years. These events include an outbreak of typhus, an infectious disease, reaching such an extent that it makes Lowood noticeable to the world outside. The result of this attention is 'mortifying to Mr. Brocklehurst, but beneficial to the institution.' Aghast at the living conditions to which Mr. Brocklehurst has subjected these girls, many of the wealthy members of the community set out to improve things. Mr. Brocklehurst is relegated to much less significant roles in the school's administration. A new building is erected, the girls are provided adequate food and clothes, and the discipline of the school made more compassionate and humane.

By the time these benevolent individuals complete their overhaul, Lowood Institute is actually quite a good place to be. Jane continues there as a student, becoming the first girl of the first class. She excels in all things and is eventually made a teacher. Through it all, Miss Temple is her friend, companion, and mentor. Jane tells us Miss Temple is her 'continual solace.' At the end of this eight year period, however, Miss Temple marries and moves away from the school, which leaves Jane wanting a change.

Jane's Next Adventure

As Miss Temple was such a large part of Lowood for Jane, it is understandable she feels a loss at her leaving. 'From the day she left I was no longer the same,' Jane tells us, 'with her was gone every settled feeling, every association that had made Lowood in some degree a home to me.' Jane didn't leave the school once in the eight years since her arrival there, and suddenly she 'remembered that the real world was wide, and that a varied field of hopes and fears, of sensations and excitements, awaited those who had courage to go forth into its expanse, to seek real knowledge of life amidst its perils.'

Initially, Jane yearns for 'liberty'--to be free and on her own. However, accustomed to a life of penury and self deprecation, she emends this desire first to 'change, stimulus...' and finally to 'at least a new servitude!' After some consideration, she decides that her 'new servitude' should be to work as a governess in some wealthy family's home. She places an advertisement in the local newspaper and receives a response from a Mrs. Fairfax of Thornfield Hall, which is near Millcote. The new position would double Jane's salary and provide her the opportunity for change she was seeking.

Bessie's Goodbye

Before Jane leaves for Thornfield, both the reader and Jane enjoy a farewell visit from Bessie, Jane's governess while she was at Gateshead with the Reeds. Despite a sometimes truculent relationship, Jane and Bessie parted on good terms when Jane left for Lowood. Having received no communication from anyone in all her eight years there, Jane is glad to see a friendly face from her past.

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