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Teaching Guide

Teaching Jane Eyre

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Jane Eyre looks dusty and old, but as you know, it's delightfully eerie. First order of business: make sure students don't pronounce it "Jane Eerie." Second order of business: check out our teaching guide.

In this guide you will find

  • a lesson on a phenomenon that was once only second to Jane Austen parodies: Jane Eyre parodies.
  • an activity about book covers (which might actually be dusty and old).
  • pop culture connections like a YA update, a graphic novel, and a moody new movie.

We're not hiding anything in our attic; it's all in the guide.

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  • 13-18 Common Core-aligned activities to complete in class with your students, including detailed instructions for you and your students. 
  • Discussion and essay questions for all levels of students.
  • Reading quizzes for every chapter, act, or part of the text.
  • Resources to help make the book feel more relevant to your 21st-century students.
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Instructions for You

Objective: Jane Eyre was first published in 1847, and in the last 160 or so years nearly 100 different covers have been created for the novel. That's a lot of cover art. 

In this activity, your students will analyze a few of those covers, checking out which aspects of the novel and its characters various illustrators and publishers have deemed worthy of cover representation over the years. Then, working in small groups, they'll create found poems based on the cover art and their peers' interpretations of it. Finally, they'll write individual essays in which they choose another cover to analyze, exploring the relationship between the cover and the story.

Length of Lesson: 1 class period + an essay for homework

Materials Needed:

  • Chart paper & markers
  • Samples of different cover art for the novel and graphic novel. You'll need enough of these so that each small group of 3-5 students will have a different cover to work with. Here are some possibilities:

In a rush? Here are six covers that will offer a variety of perspectives for your class:

Hint: To print these covers, right click (or control + click for some Macs) and choose "Open image in new tab." You can either print the image from this screen or copy and paste it into a Word/Pages document and print from there. 

 Step 1A: In advance of your class, set up 5 or 6 stations around the room (depending on class size). At each station, place an illustration of a different Jane Eyre cover along with markers and chart paper. 

Step 1: Split the class into small groups of 3-5 students and direct each group to a different station. 

Step 2: Give each group about 5 minutes to discuss the cover and jot down free associations (words and phrases) about the cover and how it relates to the novel. Ideally, the notes will be written on chart paper posted at each station.

Step 3: Have the groups rotate to a neighboring station.

Step 4: At the new station, have each group discuss the notes that the prior group has written about the cover. Then have each group use the prior group's words to create a "found poem" or creative word sketch that represents the relationship between the cover art and the novel. This poem/word sketch can also be written on chart paper. Allot 10-15 minutes for this part of the activity.

Step 5: Once each group has completed its creative assignment, let each group share its "found poem"/word sketch with the class and explain why the poem/word sketch represents the relationship between cover and novel. Give each group 3-5 minutes to present.

Step 6: Assign a little bit of homework. Here's a prompt: 

Believe it or not, we've just scratched the surface when it comes to Jane Eyre covers. Take some time to peruse some of the Jane Eyre covers at Jane Eyre Illustrated. They are divided into three categories (paperbacks, hardcovers, and dust jackets), each with multiple pages featuring numerous covers.

If you can't find one you like among these 86, you can check out the fun covers for Jane Eyre graphic novels & comics (there are 14 of them on two pages).

Choose one cover—yep, just one—and write a short essay that analyzes the relationship between that cover and the novel. Here are some things to consider:

  • What aspect of (or scene from) the novel does your cover emphasize?
  • Why do you think the illustrator chose to use this image?
  • How well does this cover represent the novel? 

Be sure to use specific textual support in your analysis. In other words, throw in a couple of quotes from the book to show how well—or how poorly—the cover captures Jane, the novel, or the scene/aspect being depicted.

(California English Language Arts Standards Met: 9th and 10th grade Reading 3.3, 3.7, 3.8, 3.11, 3.12; Writing 2.2; Listening & Speaking 2.4. 11th and 12th grade Reading 3.2, 3.3, 3.8; Writing 2.2; Listening & Speaking 1.1, 1.3, 2.3.)

Instructions for Your Students

One of the cooler things about Jane Eyre is that it's been around for such a long time that nearly 100 different book covers have been generated for the novel at this point. That means there's a pretty huge range of cover art out there, which gives us insight into which aspects of Jane's character and/or the novel different illustrators felt were most worthy of cover representation. 

Today, you'll analyze a few covers in class, and just to add a twist, you'll get to create a "found poem" to interpret a cover.

Step 1: In class, split into small groups of 3-5 and (with your group) settle down at one of the stations your teacher has set up in advance. Each station will have a different Jane Eyre cover for you to work with. Here are six possibilities. Your teacher will let you know which one your group is working with. 

Step 2: Take 5 minutes to discuss the cover and jot down any free associations (words and phrases) that occur to you with regard to the cover and how it relates to the novel. Ideally, your notes will be written on chart paper posted at each station.

Step 3: Time's up. Rotate to a neighboring station.

Step 4: At the new station, you and your group should discuss the notes that the prior group has written about the cover. Then use the prior group's words to create a "found poem" or creative word sketch that represents the relationship between the cover art and the novel. This poem/word sketch should also be written on chart paper. (You'll only have 10-15 minutes for this part of the activity, so get cracking.)

Step 5: Share your group's "found poem"/word sketch with the class and explain how the poem/word sketch represents the relationship between cover and novel.

Step 6: Believe it or not, we've just scratched the surface when it comes to Jane Eyre covers, so you've got a little homework to do.

Take some time to peruse some of the Jane Eyre covers at Jane Eyre Illustrated. They are divided into three categories (paperbacks, hardcovers, and dust jackets), each with multiple pages featuring numerous covers. 

If you can't find one you like among the 86 at the link above, you can check out the fun covers for Jane Eyre graphic novels & comics (there are 14 of them on two pages).

Choose one cover—yep, just one—and write a short essay that analyzes the relationship between that cover and the novel. Here are some things to consider:

  • What aspect of (or scene from) the novel does your cover emphasize?
  • Why do you think the illustrator chose to use this image?
  • How well does this cover represent the novel? 

Be sure to use specific textual support in your analysis. In other words, throw in a couple of quotes from the book to show how well—or how poorly—the cover captures Jane, the novel, or the scene/aspect being depicted.

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Common Core Standards  

The following standards are covered in this course:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.9
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.10
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.7
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.9
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.10
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.7
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.10
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.9
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.10
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.10
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.10

WANT MORE HELP TEACHING JANE EYRE?

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Intro    Summary    Themes    Quotes    Characters    Analysis    Questions    Photos    Quizzes    Flashcards    Best of the Web    Write Essay    
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