Jane Eyre - Planning your answer

Before you begin writing your essay, it is important that you plan it properly so your essay is crafted and structured to suit the question. You must also refer to the Assessment Objectives to ensure you've met the criteria.

Below is a structure that you could use for your answer.

  1. Introduction to the topic and question
  2. Point 1: Jane refusing to live with Rochester as his mistress.
  3. Point 2: Jane refusing to marry St John as she does not love him.
  4. Point 3: Jane arriving back to Thornfield as an independent and wealthy woman.
  5. Conclusion

Sample answers

Let's look at the first point in detail - the extract where Jane refuses to live with Rochester as his mistress. Let's have a look at some example answers based around that.

Sample answer 1

In this extract, Jane isn't rude to Rochester but she gets her point across that she doesn't want to live with him as his mistress. She is assertive and independent but equally she is a little cold towards Rochester, as she wants to stick to her principles. For example, she only answers his question of 'You are leaving me?' with a one word answer, 'Yes.' This shows that she knows her own mind and will not allow Rochester to say anything else. For a governess to be this independent and forthright is unusual, as governesses were not usually these things. They usually just did what their masters told them to do.

Feedback - Shows a good understanding but could be improved.

  • The candidate demonstrates a satisfactory understanding of Jane, focusing on how she sticks to her principles. The candidate uses evidence to support their points, explaining how it supports Jane's wish to adhere to her principles.
  • There is no real language analysis here. However, the candidate does comment on how Jane responds to Rochester with a one-word response. There is opportunity for the candidate to develop this further.
  • The candidate discusses the position of the governess and how Jane does not adhere to the stereotype of the governess.
  • A well-written answer, focusing on the rules of spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Sample answer 2

In the extract, Jane decides she will not become Rochester's mistress. She listens to what Rochester has to say and then she leaves him to his grief. This is very difficult for her to do as she loves Rochester. The fact that Jane leaves Rochester illustrates how she is willing to sacrifice her wants and desires so she can stick to her principles and the word of God. 'Only an idiot would have succumbed by now.' This shows that she does not view herself as an idiot and is assertive in her decision to leave Rochester. Brontë has used the verb 'succumbed' to illustrate the passion that Jane feels for Rochester and how she is hiding it, thus being assertive and striving to adhere to her principles. The fact that she is willing to stand up against her boss and Rochester, a man, also highlights how she goes against the stereotype of the Victorian 'lady', as she is independent.

Feedback - much better!

  • This answer shows a good understanding of the characters and how Brontë presents them. Evidence has been used to support points and this has been explained in detail. Personal engagement is evident throughout this answer, showing that the candidate understands the text.
  • The candidate has analysed the use of the verb, focusing on what Brontë has done and why. The candidate could have developed this further by focusing on the use of first person and therefore the form and structure.
  • The candidate has incorporated the role of the governess into the answer, focussing on how Jane doesn't adhere to the stereotype. This is relevant to the point and characterisation of Jane.
  • A well-written answer, focusing on the rules of spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Using the skills you've learnt in this section, write an essay responding to the Jane Eyre essay question. Time yourself and make sure you are meeting the Assessment Objectives.