The Basics: Jane Eyre
The word "episode" above is a clue to the larger problem. Jane Eyre is a novel built on episodes, loosely tied together by their common, likable and eponymous protagonist. Jane Eyre is an orphan in the care of her brutal relatives, who despise her due to her outspoken character combined with her low social station. They eventually foist her off on the grim boarding school of Lowood.
Jane's attempt to chide herself into abandoning her interest in her brooding employer, Edward Rochester, takes the form of a contest between two mental pictures, and the inevitable attempt by Rochester to coax out Jane's feelings involves an elaborate and well-detailed ruse involving disguises and a gypsy fortuneteller. The book, and its narrator, both definitely have charm: we like Jane, we like what she says, and we want to see what she will say next.
Where we like Jane the most is in the book's principal episode, which involves Jane working as a governess for a young charge of dark, Byronic Rochester amidst the mysteries of his dark, Byronic estate Thornfield--all revealed, of course, after many dark, Byronic outbursts of extreme sentiments that Charlotte Bronte probably enjoyed writing very much. And, Rochester is actually enjoyable: a match for Jane in terms of wit, impressive in his authority, and sympathetic in his vulnerability. He's likable enough, in fact, that once Jane begins to speculate on the possibility of becoming closer still to her employer, we realize that we like the idea of these two becoming a pair. Suddenly, the story floods with tension. We're no longer reading just because we happen to like Jane, but because we're invested in a likable outcome.
And the conclusion, when it finally hits, is worth the wait--not only raising the level of tension and rhetoric, but also the thematic level of the book as well. The Rochester episode is the story that everyone remembers from Jane Eyre, and the one part of the book that deserves to be called truly great.