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Discuss the Theme of Isolation in the Gateshead section of Jane Eyre.

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Introduction

Discuss the Theme of Isolation in the Gateshead section of Jane Eyre Jane Eyre is the eponymous heroine and involved narrator of this novel. She is a small, dejected girl who lives with her middle-class aunt and cousins, as her parents died when she was young. Although she may not be suffering physically from hunger or disease, she is suffering emotionally. Jane is depressed, unloved, and constantly isolated from the family group who clearly resent her presence. It is this theme of isolation within the Reed family that I will endeavour to discuss below. This mood is immediately established in the opening paragraphs when you see at once that Mrs Reed does not like Jane - 'she really must exclude me from privileges intended only for contented, happy, little children.' A technique that is used convincingly to convey Jane's isolation is pathetic fallacy. This is frequently used with great effect throughout the book. In the opening paragraphs, it is employed to set the mood and reflect the theme of isolation that prevails throughout the Gateshead section. This is cleverly accomplished in the description of the weather in the opening of the book - 'the cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so sombre, and a rain so penetrating,' which also tells us about Jane's feelings at the time. ...read more.

Middle

and heightens her feeling of being unloved and excluded - 'such an ill-conditioned child, who always looked as if she were watching everybody, and scheming plots under hand.' The only reason why Jane does not feel 'total' isolation is due to the affection shown to her by Bessie, particularly when she supports Jane in the red-room incidence. Moreover, when Jane is recovering from her fit, Bessie attempts to cheer her up, by bringing her her favourite plate (a brightly decorated one with detailed and beautiful pictures of exotic birds on) and a little tart as a treat. At the beginning of the book, Bessie seems very sharp with Jane, and seems similar to the rest of the family, - 'my heart saddened by the chidings of Bessie.' However, these actions along with those in later parts of the novel show that Bessie does care for Jane although she is probably the only one who does. As that one gesture with the plate shows that, she does not want Jane to feel miserable and secluded unlike the other members of the family. ...read more.

Conclusion

Furthermore, Bessie is not the only thing that she shows a liking to, Jane owns a doll and she explains how she found great pleasure in imagining that the shabby little image had feelings and that it could love her in return. She, like many little children nowadays, believed that when she was fairly happy, lay warm and safe in her bed the doll was also happy - 'I contrived to find pleasure in loving and cherishing a faded graven image, shabby as a miniature scarecrow.' In conclusion, the theme of isolation and loneliness in this novel is on going, however, after the red room incident things seem to gradually become worse for Jane and she is slowly but surely being completely cut-off from the rest of the family, seeing only Bessie. Jane's personality has been moulded on this lifestyle of loneliness and she has had to grow up very quickly, as she is subject to constant insults and being told that she is not loved. I think that this has made Jane a very cold person who is depressed and as she is not loved herself, she is unable to love anyone in return, which will slowly increase her isolation within society. Katie Leach ...read more.

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