WHEN introducing young people to those classic novels which have been discussed, adored and adapted countless times, it’s vital to look for that which relates it to those readers.

Whether studying it for school, or reading for pleasure, the story of Jane Eyre maintains in every publication and every reading, an ability to earnestly connect to the emotions and turmoil of growing up even while her exact experiences are more distant.

Its brilliant and passionate responses to the twists of life and descriptions of the greatest highs and lows of emotion are what make it relevant to young adults in the past, present and future.

The novel is written from the perspective of Jane Eyre and follows her throughout childhood, with much of the story taking place in the few years after she leaves school and enters a complex and tumultuous adult life.

While the character’s famous first love occurs in this time, when she is 19, the first half of the story is equally engaging and important.

Beginning in young childhood, we learn that Jane has been taken on by the widow of her kind uncle, but while the home she lives in is extravagant those around her fashion it into a sort of prison.

The cruelty and taunting of her aunt and cousins leads Jane to develop a temper and in the years spent at a corrective boarding school this nature develops and matures as she does.

The story speaks eloquently to the great impacts of the influences we have in childhood, how truly bullying and injustice can stay with a person and create within them a desire for escape. That need for movement sticks with Jane and almost seems to flow from her words into the heart of the reader.

Part of what is so relatable about the young Jane Eyre through her vivid thoughts and recollections of it are the fully formed desires she is given. For young women her feeling of restlessness, desperation for freedom and excitement will come as no surprise.

It is this desire that leads her to Thornfield Hall to take up the position of governess to a bright and eccentric young girl. Here she becomes entangled with the mysterious and brooding master of the house, Mr Rochester and once again the reader is caught up and captivated by the conflict between the maturity and practicality she has been forced to take on by a harsh childhood and the hope possessing her soul she first experiences love.

This internal conflict however is not all, Thornfield Hall and its residents, particularly Mr Rochester, seem to have an abundance of secrets that make her feelings for him, and her position in the house dangerous.

There is so much which stands out in reading this classic. When recommending it to young adults though, I would especially recommend it for the great sympathy with which it handles childhood, the impact of being let down by adults in power, and of course the great intensity and variation of emotions it covers.