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

Dicuss why Jane's early life at Lowood should be so important in shaping her character.

Extracts from this document...


Dicuss why Jane's early life at Lowood should be so important in shaping her character. When Charlotte Bront� set out to write "Jane Eyre", she boldly promised her sisters: "a heroine as plain and as small as myself, who shall be as interesting as any of yours." As promised, Jane appears decidedly plain, "so little, so pale", with "features so irregular and so marked", "sensible but not at all handsome", "queer" and "a little toad". The novel opens at Gateshead with Jane moving from childhood to puberty. Even at ten years of age, Jane feels that "I can never get away from Gateshead till I am a woman" and tells this to Mr Lloyd. She actually leaves by the end of Chapter 4. Her becoming an adult is marked by her revolt against the Reeds, which at this early age shows a self-assertiveness, but one which gets her severely punished and ostracised, but also wins her her freedom from the Reeds, first to the red room and then on to Lowood School. Lowood School represents repression and prolonged discipline. Here the girls are "starved" - (in Yorkshire dialect this means frozen as well as hungry) and deprived of all sensory awareness. They are all uniformly dressed in stiff brown dresses which "gave an air of oddity even to the prettiest" and shorn of their hair, the last sign of their femininity. ...read more.


Helen presents her with an alternative Christian view in that we should bear any amount of suffering in this world in order to benefit in the afterlife, and "love your enemies". Jane on the other hand, does not accept things merely as they are and wishes to explore and understand them, demonstrating her independence of mind. Jane's own sense of self allows her to think for herself and not slavishly adhere to the opinions of others. One of the aspects of Helen Burns' saintliness is that she seems to have accepted this idea without resentment. She accepts punishment from Miss Scatcherd in a way that amazes Jane. Jane cannot sympathise with it, although she says she knows Helen may be right and she herself may be wrong. She does not ponder on the matter. Jane wants to take time to reflect on, and gain inspiration from, her friend's humility. Helen's tolerance taught Jane to endure the same criticism from Blanche when she attempted to humiliate her in front of Rochester. Jane does not respond which would have satisfied Ingram's intention to provoke and leave herself more open to ridicule. This problem between what is natural and what is dutiful, recurs throughout the novel. When Jane knows that Rochester loves her, she is in a state of sublime happiness. ...read more.


From the day Miss Temple left, Jane was no longer the same. The "settled feeling" had gone, the feeling that had made Lowood "a home". Jane continues, "I was quiet. I believed I was content. To the eyes of others.....I appeared a disciplined and subdued character". That same evening Jane's attitude had changed and she felt that ......."a varied field of hopes and fears, of sensations and excitements, awaited those who had the courage to go forth.......to seek real knowledge of life amidst its perils". Each new setting brings on more challenges and more negative feelings to Jane. As she moves through these bad experiences, she learns how better to deal with them and ultimately, she is satisfied. In her arrival at Ferndean, her salvation, Jane finally breaks away from her restraints and has the freedom she always wanted. Lowood presents Jane with contrasting views of religious experience (those of Brocklehurst and Helen Burns). She gained more of a religious understanding from Helen than she did from Brocklehurst as she could not put her faith in a hypocrite. However she could never quite shake his persuasions e.g. her wedding attire. The novel ends happily. Jane has proven her independence and has been able to marry the man she loves. She has earned her happiness without violating her integrity or her conscience and both her longing for love and her self-fulfilment have been realised. ...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

  1. How has the character changed throughout the novel?

    By experiencing everything from poverty to wealth, and meeting people ranging from the terribly devout St John Rivers, to the arrogant noble ladies who so looked down on governesses, and indeed, nearly everyone who was not noble. She has had many diverse experiences in life, and they have shaped her


    The audiences are able to speculate at many elements that Jane Eyre does not yet know of. One of the main examples of this is the way in which Charlotte Bronte steers her readers so that they are made aware of and prepared for Helen's death.

  1. Jane Eyre Coursework - How do Jane's experiences at Lowood contribute to her development?

    Then Jane meets Helen Burns, her first true friend. When introduced, Helen is reading "Rasselas", a serious book that suggests that the best way to endure life is through patience and acceptance of one's fate. This is particularly fitting as it is like Helen's character; Helen has consumption, a fate which the reader feels she has long accepted.

  2. Describe the changes that took place in Jane Eyre's life when she moved from ...

    a girl slightly older than Jane herself, sitting on a bench in the institutions gardens reading a book, and as Jane liked to read she thought it would be the ideal opportunity to strike up a conversation, "what are you reading?"

  1. What is your opinion of Mr. Brocklehurst?

    Jane learns restraint at the hands of Helen. When Jane is later ostracised by Brocklehurst, Helen smiles at her, a small but profound gesture "like a reflection from the aspect of an angel." Miss Temple is fair and listens to Jane while she talks about the treatment she received at

  2. Discuss the importance of paranormal experiences in Jane Eyre

    More to the point, the paranormal experience Jane Eyre believes she witnesses in the red-room, that of seeing a streak of light gleaming on the wall and that she believes to be Mr Reed's spirit, plays an extremely important role in the novel.

  1. Compare how Charlotte Bronte presents Jane Eyres oppression and her ability to overcome it ...

    When Jane describes Lowood she tells the reader of the poor facilities and how there is 'one basin to six girls' and that two girls share a single bed. On her first morning at Lowood the lack of food is shown when 'breakfast is over, and none had breakfasted' demonstrates how undernourished the girls are whilst under Mr Brocklehurst's care.

  2. 'The L-shaped Room' by Lynne Reid Banks'The narrator's views of social prejudice are conveyed ...

    admits the truth because she realises she is in the situation and she is not generally stating something that will have no affect on her. I think the dash reveals extra feelings, of how she now feels after admitting the truth but in addition to this the sentence before and after the dash is a vivid contrast.

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