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Comparing the relationship between Jane Eyre and her cousin John Reed.

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In this essay I am going to be comparing the relationship between Jane Eyre and her cousin John Reed. The story is written before 1900 and is a fictional autobiography. Charlotte Bronte uses the fictional character of Jane Eyre to portray herself in parts of the story, especially the similarities between the fictional Lowood and Cowen Bridge school, i.e. the conditions, characters and the fact that Jane teaches at Lowood after finishing there as a pupil, and Charlotte Bronte taught at Cowen Bridge school after finishing her education there. Charlotte Bronte tells the first ten chapters through the eyes of a ten year old Jane, who is brought up by her uncles' wife, Mrs Reed at Gateshead. Jane's relationship with John Reed is not a good one. This is established from the first page of the novel, where Jane talks about her relationship with John Reed and his sisters Georgiana and Eliza as, 'humbled by the consciousness of my physical inferiority to Eliza, John and Georgiana Reed' - page one From this quotation, I can pick out three main words - humbled and physical inferiority. ...read more.


large and stout, with a dingy and unwholesome skin ... heavy limbs and large extremities.' - page 4 This would help John to be able to physically abuse Jane as not only is he four years older than her, he is a much larger build and much stronger and heavier. I think John reed feels threatened by Jane because although she is a lot weaker in strength she is much cleverer and stronger willed. 'She's an underhand little thing: I never saw a girl of her age with so much cover' - page 7 Jane disagrees with John ruling over her and she makes this known: 'Master! How is he my master? Am I a servant? No; you are less than a servant, for you do nothing for your keep' - page 7 Mrs Reed treats Jane as an extra nuisance whereas she spoils John. This from another reason why Jane dislikes John so much. We know that his mother treats Jane and John so differently by taking two quotations from the book: 'He (John) should have been at school but his mama had taken him home for a month or two...Mr Miles...affirmed that he would do very well if he had fewer cakes ...read more.


- page 104 This shows that even though, as a child, John was the much stronger and richer one of the two of them, Jane has come to lead a happier, more successful life, which shows that no matter how much John bullied and tormented her, it didn't pay off. Perhaps John saw this as a child and this is another reason that Jane threatened him. When Jane hears that John is dead - page 264, Jane, understandably does not seem very upset, she just immediately asks 'how does his mother bear it?' - page 264 This indicates that perhaps Jane did care for Mrs Reed just a little, but, seemingly more than John Reed. I conclude that Jane and John did not have a good relationship and that he subjected her to constant torment, if not physically then mentally. He was able to get away with this because his mother or 'mama' as she was referred to in the book turned a blind eye on the subject of any of John's wrong doing. - 1 - Describe Jane's relationship with John Reed at Gateshead. Why do you think he treats her so badly? Hannah Jones. ...read more.

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