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Teaching Guide

Teaching Jane Eyre

We'll meet you in the attic.


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.

What's Inside Shmoop's Literature Teaching Guides

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Inside each guide you'll find quizzes, activity ideas, discussion questions, and more—all written by experts and designed to save you time. Here are the deets on what you get with your teaching guide:

  • 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.
  • A note from Shmoop's teachers to you, telling you what to expect from teaching the text and how you can overcome the hurdles.

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Instructions for You

Objective: Students will be able to analyze different forms of cover art for the novel in order to write an essay on the relationship between the cover and the story.

Teachers should expect to spend one class period on the activity, with the remainder to be completed as homework.

Materials Needed:

  • Chart paper & markers
  • Tape (optional)
  • Samples of different cover art for the novel (see this website for a wide variety of Jane Eyre book covers)
  • Suggested: a handout with the images of the different covers (for homework assignment)

Step 1: Introduce the objective and the plan for the day.

Step 2: Split the class into small groups (possibly four or five, depending on class size). Assign each group to a station with a Jane Eyre book cover different from the other stations.

Step 3: Give each group about 5 minutes to discuss the cover and jot down free associations about how the cover art relates to the novel. The notes should be written on chart paper and then posted with the picture of the book cover on a wall.

Step 4: Have each group rotate to a neighboring station.

Step 5: 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 be written on chart paper. Allot 10-15 minutes for this part of the activity.

Step 6: Once each group has completed its creative assignment, each group shares its "found poem"/word sketch to the class and explains why the poem/word sketch represents the relationship between cover and novel. Give each group 3-5 minutes to present.

Step 7: Assign for homework a short essay that analyzes the relationship between one of the book covers and the novel. Students can choose which cover they want to analyze. Emphasize that the paper must include specific textual support for the analysis.

Suggested: Make a handout that includes the image for each book cover used in the class activity so that the students can have easy reference to the images while they write their paper, or, on a handout, include the web link that leads to cover art: http://janeeyreillustrated.com/Jane_Eyre_bookcoversintro.htm.

(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. Because of how old the novel is, publishing companies constantly change how the book looks. There's a pretty huge range of cover art out there, some of which you'll analyze in this assignment. Just to add a twist, you'll get to create a "found poem" to interpret a cover.

Step 1: As preparation for the in-class activity, take a look at some Jane Eyre book covers here.

Step 2: After discussing the book covers in class, for homework, choose one of the covers and write a short essay that analyzes the relationship between the artwork and the novel.


Check out all the different parts of our corresponding learning guide.

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