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A Comparison Between how Growing Up is dealt with in The Go Between and Jane Eyre

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A Comparison Between how Growing Up is dealt with in The Go Between and Jane Eyre Both 'The Go Between' and 'Jane Eyre' deal with growing up. Throughout the two books, the main characters experience new feelings and challenges which though they are dealt with differently, we can draw some comparison. Leo Colston looks back over his life before describing his momentous visit to Brandham Hall. Jane Eyre is set out in the stages of the title character's life - from childhood to old age. Both books deal with the changes that are necessary to endure in order to grow, and though each person deals with them differently, I will explore the similarities between Leo and Jane throughout their lives. Published in 1847, Jane Eyre was a bestseller amongst early Victorian society. Women during this time held a far inferior status to men, which allowed Bronte to stress her theme of female independence. Jane is the eponymous heroine of the novel, experiencing severe hardships and tests throughout her life, so that her eventual happiness can be deserved and just. The novel itself begins at childhood in Gateshead Hall. We immediately become aware of her unhappiness that becomes apparent when she hides behind the thick, red curtains in the deserted room. This image portrays Jane as lonely and isolated. However, from the way in which she deals with constant cruelty, it is evident that she has a strong personality and at an early age, she refuses to be dominated by her elder, male cousin and stands up to his bullying. ...read more.


Even though she loved him and he genuinely, I feel, loved her, Jane's strong moral principals, perhaps a characteristic Helen Burn's instilled in her childhood self would never allow her to become his mistress. This is a direct example of Bronte's female equality stance within then novel - Jane does not allow Rochester to make her his mistress - a sexist term in itself, and she in effect, calls the shots. 'I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unstained I am, the more I will respect myself.' Her fundamental creed is resolutely established, 'do as I do: trust in God and yourself'. At this stage in Leo's awakening, he delights in Marion's attention, he feels a valued member of the family. The anxiety and inferiority he felt are dispelled by Marion's interest. After mass when he realises who Trimingham is and what status he holds, he begins, unwittingly to act as a go between - the main thrust of the novel. Trimingham asks Leo to run in ahead with a message for Marian. Meanwhile the doctor has declared Marcus infectious and Leo has been moved out of their shared bedroom. He now has a room to himself - Leo is now alone, as Jane is, in a strange environment. In the next chapters, Leo's role as a go between is compounded. ...read more.


To conclude The Go Between, Leo returns to Brandham Hall, a place where he too left a broken heart of sorts. He meets with Marion - a lonely woman and she pretends to have been happy and popular though at this point Leo realises that, like Jane, since his last visit he has risen in stature and is no longer inferior, in fact he has led a far happier, fruitful life than any of the Maudsleys and is the dominant figure for the first time. We also see that Marion, like Rochester for Jane, holds a special place in Leo's heart after all these years as he prepares to act as a go between once more for her grandson. Growing up is the most important theme in both books. We see Leo grow irrevocably during a short space of time and he becomes conscious of himself for the first time. In Jane Eyre we see her whole life as she grows from child to woman. In both books there is a continual search for parental figures as each child looks for stability and some sense of self. Both characters, Leo and Jane, start at the end of childhood - na�ve, alone and fast becoming the main focus of many people's lives. By the end they have both found happiness through hardship and although not wealthy unlike some people encountered along the way, Marion and Blanche for example, both are happier, more contented and richer in character than those women could ever hope to be. By Sarah Heatley Word Count: 2,420 ...read more.

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