• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare how Charlotte Bronte presents Jane Eyres oppression and her ability to overcome it at Gateshead with that at Lowood

Extracts from this document...


Compare how Charlotte Bronte presents Jane Eyre's oppression and her ability to overcome it at Gateshead with that at Lowood Jane Eyre is a young orphan who lives at Gateshead with her Aunt Reed and her three cousins John, Georgina and Eliza. She is placed in an unusual situation as her Aunt only looks after her because of her late husband's final request which was for her to treat his niece as her own child. Aunt Reed, however, has not kept her word and instead excludes Jane from her family. The first nine chapters of Jane Eyre follow Jane through her childhood as she leaves Gateshead and attends a school named Lowood. In both of these places Jane is made to feel alone and is looked upon as a charity case. At Gateshead Jane's Aunt Reed locks her on her own in the Red Room and similarly, at Lowood Jane is forced to stand on a stool to be humiliated in front of the other girls. These methods of punishment both isolate Jane and put her in a position that she cannot escape. However, at Lowood Jane becomes more mature and learns how to overcome oppression instead of retaliating as she would do at Gateshead. Being able to accept criticism allows Jane to enjoy her time at Lowood whereas she thoroughly disliked her years at Gateshead. One of the reasons Charlotte Bronte wrote Jane Eyre was to question the prejudice views of Victorian society and to fight for women's rights. ...read more.


Jane focuses on a 'storm beat shrub' whilst looking down on the grounds of Gateshead and this symbolises her terrible situation of being beaten by John and her separation in the house. On Jane's journey to Lowood the weather is 'misty' which creates a sense of mystery and uncertainty of what is to come. Jane constantly describes Lowood as being 'bitter cold' and this represents the lack of warmth and love around her. The two main characters responsible for Jane's suffering are Mr Brocklehurst and Aunt Reed who both warp religion in order to make Jane suffer. Aunt Reed isolates Jane from her family and her punishments go as far as locking her in the Red Room where her own husband died, something which she would not dream of doing to her own children. When Jane first says how John beats her she tells the reader how 'Aunt Reed was blind and deaf on the subject' meaning that she thinks of her son John being perfect and seems to have no idea of what he is capable of. She gives Jane no love or care and even spoils the beginning of her time at Lowood through accusing her of being a liar. The motive for Aunt Reed's cruel behaviour towards Jane is that she thinks of her as an intrusion on her 'darling' family. Also, Aunt Reed's believes Jane not to be as pretty as her own daughters and thinks of her as a poor charity case. ...read more.


She does this by comforting her after she has been on the stool and tells her that 'probably not one in the school either despises or dislikes you: many ... pity you much'. This reassures Jane that no one thinks badly of her for being accused of being a liar, but instead they feel sorry for her. This 'calmed' Jane and increases her confidence. Whilst Jane is standing on the stool, another girl smiles at her and Jane tells the reader 'how the feeling bore me up', and she stands with her 'lifted ... head', filled with pride on the stool. I think the time Jane spends standing on the stool matures her because she does not fight back injustice as she would at Gateshead, but instead stands patiently and with confidence. Charlotte Bronte uses pathetic fallacy again to show the contrast in Jane's mood after settling at Lowood. The weather changes as the 'hardships of Lowood lessened'. The quote 'snows melted' symbolises Jane finding warmth and love in a place she belongs. 'Flowers peeped out' and 'placid sunshine' pictures a bright and colourful atmosphere which reflects how Jane is feeling. In conclusion, Jane is oppressed both mentally and physically by many different characters throughout her early childhood. At Gateshead Jane reacts with anger and does not cope well with criticism and the bullying of John. However, at Lowood through the teachings of Helen and Miss Temple she turns from a fiery, passionate girl into a mature young woman with a subdued character. The love she is given at Lowood enables Jane to deal with injustice and oppression in a more effective way. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Charlotte Bronte section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Charlotte Bronte essays


    "Then Mrs. Reed subjoined: 'Take her away to the red-room, and lock her in there'. Four hands were immediately laid upon me, and I was borne upstairs". Jane's Aunt is a selfish woman and despite knowing the fact that Jane has no other relative, she still lacks any sympathetic feeling towards her.

  2. How do Jane's childhood experiences at Gateshead and Lowood help to form her character?

    At Gateshead we see Jane miserable in her social exclusion in the reeds household. She is kept apart from her cousin's pg29 ...... since my illness she had drawn a more marked line of separation between me and her own children".

  1. Jane Eyre. How Does Charlotte Bronte Create Sympathy For Jane?

    What a great nose! And what a mouth! And what large prominent teeth!' This short paragraph Bronte uses when Jane describes Mr Brocklehurst represents how important it was for Charlotte Bronte to use the first person narrative, when the phrase of 'now that it was almost level with mine' reminds the reader how the description is coming from

  2. Jane Eyre - In what ways is Jane different from the other women in ...

    Bertha and Jane are quite similar, as they are both very passionate. It was Bertha's sexual passions that have changed her, but Jane has learnt to restrain her passions. Mr. Rochester was made to marry Bertha, but he was besotted with her because of her beauty and I think that is why that Mr.

  1. Analyse the methods Charlotte Bronte uses to make the reader empathise with Jane Eyre ...

    When they talk about the word cat it again gives an impression to the reader that she is some sort of uncivilised wild animal and should be locked up. The reader may also think of a cat being fiery. Bessie (the servant)

  2. 'But you are passionate Jane, that you must allow'. How does Charlotte Bronte present ...

    The punishment, for the incident mentioned, is to put Jane into the Red Room. In the Red Room Jane starts to imagine things and starts hallucinating. In this chapter Bronte uses some methods such as Jane's inner thoughts and her interactions with other characters to show the reader how Jane's character is presented.

  1. Compare the presentation of Childhood in Charlotte Brontë's 'Jane Eyre' and Laurie Lee's 'Cider ...

    Being spoilt between a family of older sisters, Laurie Lee is always the centre of attention. There are times in the novel in which he calls himself 'King'. Laurie Lee considered himself so important in the village that he thinks he is royalty.

  2. Free essay

    With special reference to the first nine chapters of Jane Eyre (Gateshead and Lowood) ...

    This is one of the aims of the bildungsroman; Jane's dream is to go on a journey. This 'journey' is fulfilled throughout the novel as Jane meets the St. John family (she gains a family when she finds out they are relatives)

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work