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In England of the mid-eighteenth century, young Jane Eyre is forced to defend herself against the cruel pranks of her foster parents' children, John and Georgiana Reed, and consequently is sent to an orphanage. There, Jane is befriended by Miss Temple, an instructor, but suffers from the stern treatment of Mr. Brocklehurst, the headmaster. After years of loneliness and hardship, Jane earns a position as an instructor at the orphanage. Brocklehurst's continued cruelty, however, finally drives Jane to accept a job as governess to the daughter of Edward Rochester, a wealthy English gentleman. Jane soon ingratiates herself with Edward and his niece Adele, as well as with Sam Poole, the coachman, and housekeeper Mrs. Fairfax. Jane's newfound happiness, however, is disturbed by the unexplained screams that she hears during the night and by the fact that Edward has prohibited her from entering a certain wing of the house. Unknown to Jane, the screams are those of Bertha, Edward's insane wife, who has been cloistered in the forbidden wing for years. While lawyer Charles Craig works quietly to get Edward a divorce, Edward plans a lavish ball to which he invites his fiancée, Blanche Ingram, and her parents, Lord and Lady Ingram. After the ball, Bertha sneaks into Edward's room and sets his bed curtains on fire. Alerted by the smell of smoke, Jane rushes to put out the flames and saves Edward's life. Shortly after a two-week trip to London, Edward confesses to Jane that he loves her and convinces her to marry him. During the wedding ceremony, however, Bertha breaks out of her rooms and raves about being Edward's wife. In spite of Edward's pleas, a heartbroken Jane runs away and eventually takes a position with Dr. John Rivers, a clergyman and charity worker. Later, Bertha sets Edward's house on fire, and Edward is blinded while trying to save her life. After Edward moves into his caretaker's cottage, Jane, unaware of his plight, makes plans to marry Dr. Rivers and move to India with him. Just before she is to leave, however, Sam Poole wanders into Dr. Rivers' mission and relates Edward's sad situation. Jane returns to her blind lover and forces him to accept her love.