In a previous post I wrote about the Seven Point Story Structure and in this post I will show you this structure in a case study of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. Case studies, I think, are a great way to learn the structure of stories. So, let’s get down to business.
Warning: There are spoilers below. If you don’t want to know more about this story, you should stop reading this post.
Note: Jane Eyre is a long book and most of the events in the Seven Point Story Structure move over more than one chapter in the novel. That’s why most of my descriptions from the novel will be quite long. You have been warned.
Hook — The character’s starting point. This is the opposite of the Resolution.
In Jane Eyre — Because the first quarter of the book is conceivably unnecessary to the overall story (a part that describes most of Jane’s childhood as an orphan living with her aunt and then at Lowood School for Girls, before she becomes a governess), the story can be argued to begin by the time that Jane arrive at Thornfield Hall to work for Mr. Rochester (who is not present there at the time of her arrival). At this time, because of her past, she believes that she is unworthy of love.
Plot turn 1 — The event that sets the story in motion and moves you from the beginning to the Midpoint. The conflict is introduced and the character’s world changes. This is basically when the character sets out on his/her journey.
In Jane Eyre — When Jane is out walking, she comes across a rider who gets thrown off his horse. She and the man have a loaded conversation and she helps him onto his horse again. After that, he rides off. When she gets back to Thornfield Hall she is told that Mr. Rochester has arrived. To her surprise she realizes that the mysterious rider she encountered earlier is Mr. Rochester. And when she’s introduced to him, as the governess who works for him, they have another loaded conversation. From this moment and on, nothing will be the same.
Pinch point 1 — This is where more pressure is applied. This is often used to introduce the antagonist.
In Jane Eyre — Just as Jane is starting to fall in love with Rochester, he brings with him an array of guests after a lengthy absence from Thornfield Hall. Particularly among his guests is Miss Blanche Ingram, whom Rochester is evidently courting. Just as much as the story is about Jane’s way to finding herself and her spiritual freedom, it is also a story about her relationship with Rochester. Therefore, Rochester’s evident courting of Miss Ingram — whom is a sort of rival to Jane in the struggle for Rochester’s affection — applies pressure to the relationship between Jane and Rochester.
Midpoint — The character moves from reaction to action. He/she determines he/she must do something to stop the antagonist.
In Jane Eyre — Mysterious things start to happen in Thornfield Hall. There is a mysterious fire in Rochester’s room, from which Jane saves him. Then, Mr. Mason, a friend or Rochester, is mysteriously attacked. Here Rochester summons Jane to help with the wound. Obviously, this shows that Rochester relies and trusts Jane and she is forced to make a decision. Someone with her status (as a governess) shouldn’t get involved with a man of Rochester’s superior status. Jane, therefore, chooses to distance herself from him and gladly accepts the invitation to go back to her aunt’s house, Gateshead, after the aunt suffered a stroke and called on Jane to come. This provides Jane with some distance. And this is her way of taking action.
Pinch point 2 — This is where even more pressure is applied. The story takes the ultimate dive. The character is at his/her darkest moment. He/she has lost everything.
In Jane Eyre — After returning to Thornfield Hall and Rochester baits her by saying that he will miss her when he is married to Miss Ingram but that Jane surely will forget about him fast. Jane then opens up her heart in a stirring speech and Rochester, becoming sure that she truly loves him, proposes marriage. After accepting the proposal, Jane ”dreams” of a ghost that enters her bedroom and rips her wedding veil in two. She also has nightmares that seem to be an omen of the doom for her upcoming marriage. These dreams set the tone for the events to come.
Plot turn 2 — Here the story moves from Midpoint to the end, the Resolution. The character gets or realizes he/she has the final piece of information to achieve what he/she set out to do in the Midpoint.
In Jane Eyre — Jane’s wedding to Rochester is interrupted when it is revealed that Rochester, in fact, already is married. He is married to a madwoman who is locked up in the attic. Here, Jane have to choose between staying at Thornfield Hall as Rochester’s mistress — as well as spiritual and emotional slave — or she can leave Thornfield Hall in order to gain spiritual freedom. She chooses to leave and be true to her moral convictions. The events that follow her leave from Thornfield Hall describe Jane’s struggles with the repercussions of her decision and progresses her character growth. One of the events that follow is one in which Jane learns that her uncle (whom she had not long known about) had died and left his entire fortune to her.
Resolution — This is the climax of the story. Everything in the story leads to this moment. Here, the character achieves (or fails to achieve) what he/she set out to do.
In Jane Eyre — The climax of this story is quite long starting when Jane hears Rochester’s voice echo in her head, calling for her. She reacts without hesitation and leaves St. John because he no longer has any power over her (her new inner strength is more powerful). She returns to Thornfield Hall — which is in ruins after a fire the madwoman on the attic started (she also died in the fire) — finds Rochester alive but blind, and professes her love for him. Again, he proposes to her and they get married.
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There you have it. Hopefully it’s helped you to see how the Seven Point Story Structure works.
Do you think case studies of stories are a great way to learn story structure? Would you want me to publish more case studies here on the blog?
Do you want a Scrivener or Microsoft Word template that will help you with your story’s structure?
The Story Structure Template is designed to help you create and develop your story and its structure.
It includes a template for the Three Act Structure, one for the Seven Point Story Structure, and one for The Hero’s Journey structure so that you easily create or develop your story from the structure you like best.