Jane Eyre, an orphan, is first raised in the household of her Aunt Mrs Reed. She is then sent to Lowood school, where she remains until she is 19. She is then appointed governess at Thornfield Hall by the absent owner Edward Rochester. One day she is out walking when she has a narrow miss with a horse, which throws its rider. She later discovers that he was her employer. Thornfield Hall has a secret and it seems that Grace Poole, the laundrywoman has a constant eye on Jane. One night disturbed by a strange laugh, Jane follows a noise to Mr Rochester's room. Here she finds his bed drapes in flames, and him in grave danger.
Jane braves the flames and wakes Rochester. He runs off to the North Tower, leaving Jane watching. They embrace on his return. In the morning Rochester has disappeared. Finally he returns, but with a houseful of guests, including the beautiful Blanche and her mother, Lady Ingram. The servants are sure that Rochester is to marry Blanche. Jane is visibly hurt by this news, and Rochester seems to be rubbing it in by insisting that she joins them for their evening soirees. Once again Jane hears disturbing noises and this time Rochester asks for her help looking after Mason, who has been violently attacked. Rochester is also injured, and leaves Jane whilst he calls for the doctor. The noises behind the door to the North Tower are most frightening.
Mrs Reed, Jane's aunt requests Jane to return to see her as she is dying. Once there Jane discovers that an unknown uncle had offered to look after her, but she forgives her aunt. After the funeral she returns to Thornfield Hall. There staff still expect the wedding to take place between Blanche and Rochester. Rochester and Jane go for a walk and finally she admits that she cares for him. He also loves her and proposes marriage. Two days before the wedding, Jane has a terrible nightmare and is sure that someone has been in her room. Rochester says it was a dream, but her veil had been torn in two. At the wedding itself a lawyer arrives to declare that Rochester is already married. Her name is Bertha, and it is she who resides in the North Tower.
Jane leaves Thornfield Hall, heartbroken and penniless. She lays down on the moors to await her fate, no longer wishing to live. She is found by St John Rivers, a local clergyman. He and his two sisters care for Jane and she sets to work as the parish teacher. She also works hard at repressing her feelings for Rochester. St John does some research into her background and finds that she has an inheritance. He also discovers her relationship with Rochester. He proposes that they get married and become missionaries. But Jane feels Rochester calling her, and has to return to Thornfield. There everything has changed, and she finds her future.