Monday, April 21, 2014

Literature : Charlotte Brontë : Teachers & students : resources

Charlotte Brontë by Charlotte (1816-1854) 
by George Richmond, 1850

On April 21, 1816, English novelist and poet Charlotte Brontë, the eldest of the three Brontë sisters was born, whose novels are English literature standards. 

Jane Eyre An Autobiography
Charlotte Brontë/ Currer Bell

Most notably she wrote Jane Eyre under the pen name Currer Bell.

Google Doodle:

Google doodle Charlotte Brontë's 198th Birthday (1816)

Google celebrates today, April 21, Charlotte Brontë, the 186th anniversary with a doodle Charlotte Brontë, the English novelist, poet and the eldest of the three Brontë sisters who lived into adulthood, depicting her most famous novel, Jane Eyre, one of the most famous novels in the English language.

Brontë was born on 21 April 1816 in Thornton, Yorkshire, the third of six children. Her younger sister, Emily Brontë, wrote Wuthering Heights.

Her brief life was overshadowed by enormous tragedy, which inspired her greatest works. Writing became Charlotte's refuge and salvation and she produced a further two novels. She wrote not one but two masterpieces. Most readers know Jane Eyre. Even non-readers feel they know it, because they have seen a film version, or just because it is a part of our common culture.

In 1854, Brontë married but died the next year during her first pregnancy. She was 38 years-old.

Charlotte Brontë
Portrait JH Thompson


My usual readers know what I think about Google Doodles. Doodles can be a wonderful introduction to any curriculum: poetry, science, arts, music, zoology, even sport.

So to writing about Charlotte Brontë's Doodle in Literature or Languages lessons will be a pleasure. It can be a lovely motivation on reading activities, for example.

Jane Eyre
Charlotte Brontë

"I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will."

Charlotte BrontëJane Eyre

Her famous novel Jane Eyre is a classic in all school curriculum in Literature.

Jane Eyre/ And Autobiography
Charlotte Brontë/ Currer Bell

Some information:

Originally published as Jane Eyre: An Autobiography in 1847, under the pen name "Currer Bell", the book is the story of the titular character Jane, a willful young orphan raised by Mrs. Reed, her cruel, wealthy aunt.

It tells the story of Jane, who falls in love with her employer, Mr Rochester. The couple marry after Mrs Rochester dies in a house fire.

The book follows Jane through school life to adulthood where she meets a dark, impassioned man named Rochester, with whom Jane finds herself falling in love.

Jane Eyre
Charlotte Brontë
The two are about to marry when it is revealed that the mysterious Rochester already has a wife, the insane Bertha Mason. Jane flees but the two are both later reunited after Rochester's wife sets fire to the house and commits suicide.

Rochester, who was injured in the house fire, fears that Jane will be repulsed by him. "Am I hideous, Jane?", he asks. “Very, sir: you always were, you know” she replies. The two eventually marry.

Jane Eyre, film
Cary Fukunaga, 2011

Books & Movies:

The novel has had a wide influence and has been adapted on a number of ocasions for television, theatre, and movies.

The last version, a movie adaptation by Carv Fukunaga (2011) featured by Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender.

Jane Eyre, film

Cary Fukunaga, 2011

Also drawing a number of reinterpretations and rewritings, including novels such as Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea.

Charlotte Brontë
 credits: Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy

Literature: Analysis

Type: Jane Eyre is a novel.

Genre : A hybrid of three genres: 
  • the Gothic novel (utilizes the mysterious, the supernatural, the horrific, the romantic); 
  • the romance novel (emphasizes love and passion, represents the notion of lovers destined for each other); 
  • the Bildungsroman (narrates the story of a character’s internal development as he or she undergoes a succession of encounters with the external world)

Jane Eyre, film
Cary Fukunaga, 2011


Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work.
  • Love vs autonomy
  • Religion
  • Social Classes
  • Gender Relations

Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, and literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text’s major themes.
  • Fire & Ice
  • Substitute Mothers

Symbols are objects, characters, figures, and colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.
  • Bertha Mason
  • The Red Bedroom

Teachers will adapt the analysis to the level they are teaching and will preparing some activities. See other resources below


  • Reading: Before or after the movie;
  • Writing: Let your students explore Jane Eyre websites (English, French, Spanish, Italian) on their tablets, iPhones, Smartphones to prepare an  essay about the author;
  • Drawing: Students could create a comic strip about the the novel;
  • Web: Explore the possibility of asking your students to build a web blog in an exchange project with a English school (if you they are not born English natives;
  • Web 2.0: Find school partners on Facebook or Twitter;
  • Multimedia: 

Other activities:

1) Cartoonize Charlotte Brontë - the biographical essay done by students, or the novel that  you read in the classroom, could be cartonized with Convert to Cartoon, an easy way to create cartonized versions of images and drawings (students and teacher)

2) Create a video with Animoto (students and cross.curricula teachers)

Charlotte Brontë’s tiny manuscripts 
A book written by Charlotte Bronte at the age of 14 will return home after being bought by the Brontë Society at auction in Paris.
The miniature work, called "The Young Men's Magazine", will go to the Parsonage Museum in the Brontës' old home in Haworth, West Yorkshire.
It was bought for €600,000 (£512,970) after a fundraising campaign by the Brontë Society, which runs the museum.
The museum lost out on the book when it last went under the hammer in 2011.
The work is one of six "little books" written by Charlotte, the eldest of the three sisters, in 1830. 
Five are known to survive, and the Bronte Parsonage Museum already holds the other four. Read more here

Other Resources:

Charlotte Brontë: An Overview - The Victorian Web 

The Brontë Society/ Brontë Parsonage Museum

Judi Dench appeals for public help to bring rare Brontë book to UK as auction looms

The Guardian/ Books

 Charlotte Brontë, author of Jane Eyre
credits: Stock Montage/Getty Images

Some thoughts:

So as you see, even now we are talking about formal learning as a captivating method! That will depend on you as a creative teacher including into your lessons educational digital resources.

Well, there are a lot of interesting and engaging activities about the narrative text that you can create yourself as teacher and share with your students in formal and non formal teaching and learning. Online learning, why not?!

Believe me! You will have a motivated class that will learn literature, fiction, vocabulary, grammar enthusiastically.

You, don't forget, "the attitude" of changing methods, as a creative mind to facilitate different pedagogical activities to your students!



update 18.11.2019
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