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Choose three episodes in the novel "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte, spanning her childhood and adulthood, and explain how these episodes are important to the novel as a whole.

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Introduction

Choose three episodes in the novel "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte, spanning her childhood and adulthood, and explain how these episodes are important to the novel as a whole. (What does each episode reveal about Jane's character? How does the episode further the plot? What (if anything) is charlotte Bronte criticising about Victorian society? What imagery is used in the extract) "Jane Eyre", by Charlotte Bronte was written in the 1840's and published in 1847. This book follows Jane's life story from childhood to adulthood. In part it is an autobiography of Charlotte Bronte because her sister died at a school similar to Lowood. Charlotte Bronte uses this long, complicated novel in order to criticise several aspects of Victorian society. In the Red Room episode we learn much about the character of Jane Eyre. This episode is added to give the reader a better comprehension of the severity of Mrs Reed's treatment of Jane. It furthers the novel by making Jane's life at Gateshead to be intolerable for Jane. The book is written in first person narrative so Jane's feeling and emotion are easily noticed. Also because Charlotte Bronte uses pathetic fallacy Jane's feelings are revealed in the weather. Jane has an exceptionally strong character and is not afraid to stand up for herself. In Victorian times children were meant to be "seen and not heard" but this doesn't seem to matter to Jane. She is fiercely independent and does not get intimidated. Jane is incredibly intelligent and imaginative, her reading of "Bewick's History of British Birds" shows this. Whilst reading it her mind drifts into her visualization of the book. Her Aunt is unfairly harsh to Jane yet soft on the other children, she treats Jane as "the scapegoat of the nursery". Later on in her life Jane tries to understand her Aunt severity: "...interloper not of her race, and unconnected with her" This shows great empathy of a person she hated all her life, the same person who did not want Jane as a "responsibility" Mrs Reed's treatment of Jane excludes Jane from the family. ...read more.

Middle

Mrs Reed condemns Jane instead of supporting her, as a person would expect a mother like figure to do. In Victorian times there was a set of catechism questions to which children were expected to know the answers. Jane though shows her rebellious side by reframing from using the orthodox answers. Mr Brocklehurst tells the truth about how children die daily. These comments are insensitive, design to frighten and are reminiscent of bully tactics. Jane's intellect is again exposed by her knowledge at age ten of precise books of the Bible. Mr Brocklehurst is not particularly clever. His son younger than Jane even out wits him having the knowledge he will receive double the reward if he deceives his father. There is an irony when Mr Brocklehurst accuses Jane of having a heart of stone, as he is the one who possesses the heart of stone. Jane is labelled as having "a tendency to deceit" ironic as she is completely truthful. Mrs Reed wanted to cull any hope Jane had in the next era in her life. She sought to make life difficult for Jane in Lowood as a form of selfish retribution for whatever crime she believed Jane to have committed. Jane is repeatedly reminded of her prospects many times by Mrs Reed to try and haunt her aspirations. Mr Brocklehurst is a hypocrite because he says, "humility is a Christian grace" but brings he own daughters to the charity school dressed in finely made clothes. Finally Mrs Reed admits openly she no longer wants Jane: "I feel anxious to be relieved of a responsibility" Mrs Reed sends Jane to a charity school despite the riches she possesses. This is the final step she takes to breaking her promise to Jane's father. Jane, though, is far from submissive and after a time of contemplation she rebels against her "hard-hearted" aunt. Here Jane emotions and innermost hatred of Mrs Reed is revealed. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is powerful and emotive making Mrs Rochester seem to be like a vampire. Mr Rochester has an "expression of disgust, horror, hatred" towards his wife. He is anxious to keep the secret he has held hitherto and desires to keep it for longer: "I have striven long to avoid exposure, and I should not like it to come at last." Mr Mason despite his injury wants Mrs Rochester to be treated well. Mr Rochester then to Jane calls his own house a dungeon. It imprisons him. The reader is becoming aware why he spends as little time as possible here. The portrayal of spring symbolises hope of rebirth for Mr Rochester. Mr Rochester then entitles Jane as his "pet lamb". It seems he is becoming less and less able to hide his emotions. Jane seems worried about Mr Rochester's life but not her own. Mr Rochester describes his life with a metaphor: "crater-crust which may crack and spew fire any day" Finally this episode ends with Mr Rochester making Jane breakfast. This symbolises them as a couple. This episode reveals little more about Mr Rochester's secret instead it builds up anticipation for the reader who must read on to discover more. Jane and Mr Rochester show their trust for each other numerous times and this trust is further in this episode. Also Mr Rochester and Jane are drawn closer by the secrets Jane is aware of and could tell others. Their trust is great and Mr Rochester does not question Jane's ability to withhold her information and not alert the rest of the household. This novel is a classic Gothic romance. Gothic is a genre that uses ingredients such as supernatural events, strange creatures, dark castles and a gloomy atmosphere. Rochester's dark secret and the unexplained events are typical of Gothic style writing. The description of the strange old furniture, mysterious laughter and accidents like the fire in Rochester's bedroom all add the interest of the novel. For me it is a novel of passion, anger, defiance and of overwhelming desire. Gareth Knott Jane Eyre 8 May 2007 ...read more.

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