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Examine the way in which childhood perspectives are created in Jane Eyre and Hideous Kinky

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Introduction

Examine the way in which childhood perspectives are created in Jane Eyre and Hideous Kinky. Charlotte Bronte was born in 1816 in Hamworth in Yorkshire. Her father was the vicar of the village she lived in. Her mother died when she was very young. With her two sisters, Maria and Elizabeth she was sent to a very strict boarding school where she was very unhappy. Both her sisters died of tuberculosis, which made her very upset. Jane Eyre was based on Charlotte Bronte's own experience and is a fictional autobiography. Esther Freud was born in London in 1963 almost 150 years after Charlotte Bronte. She spent most of her childhood in Sussex, she was taken to Morocco when she was very young but says she can't remember. Hideous Kinky was published in 1992, although it's not an autobiography its base on her childhood experiences in Morocco. Jane Eyre is set in the middle of the Victorian period where children had no rights and social class was everything. As the book goes on we see Jane grow from a rebellious and boisterous young girl to a sensible and determined woman. We see Jane move from place to place meeting and losing people. Although we do see Jane growing into a young woman we are only concentrating on the first 10 chapters in which we follow her childhood. ...read more.

Middle

Jane is clearly unhappy and rebellious and angry. I think this is a direct result of the treatment she received when living with the Reeds. Although she seems to be very unhappy living with the Reeds, she has the servant Bessie who always shows kindness and sympathy towards Jane. Bessie is also the only real figure of ordinary, unrefined human kindness that Jane meets. Even though Bessie shows kindness and is gentle towards her, Jane is still very unhappy. Just before Jane leaves Gateshead Mrs Reed introduces Jane to the proprietor of Lowood School, Mr Brocklehurst. She thinks that Lowood School will be much better than the treatment she endures from the Reeds and is eager to go. A different side of her character is revealed at Lowood School, when we see the tender and trusting nature in her dealings with Miss Temple and Helen Burns. It is obvious that she has a great desire to be shown love, and when this given, she is perfectly happy to return it in kind. There is still, however, anger and resentment. To Jane's horror she finds that she faces the same treatment as she received at Gateshead, but on a larger scale and in a religious community. For the first couple of weeks Jane settles in well and is making friends and getting on well with the teachers. ...read more.

Conclusion

Helen Burns is the saint like child who teaches Jane the philosophy of submission and endurance. Jane rejects this at the time, but is impressed by it. She does not live her life in the idealised way that Helen does, but she influences her when she needs to flee temptation. Helen tries to teach Jane the value of self-control. One day when Jane is participating in a sewing class she sees Helen in her history lesson. It appears that the teacher, Miss Scatcherd, is picking on Helen even though she is very good at the subject. At one point Helen is flogged, but takes it stoically. In the evening, Jane speaks to Helen, she asks her why she puts up with Miss Scatchared's bullying and she explains the principles of endurance, duty and self-sacrifice to Jane, as based on the New Testament Gospels. A lot of the first few chapters when Jane starts Lowood consist of the converse between Helen and Jane. Though this dialogue covers some complex theological ground, it is nonetheless quite naturalistic and provides us with a deep insight into Helen's character. Helen offers one solution to Jane's problem - the need to quell her passionate nature and Jane does learn from her, as we begin to see in the following chapters. But Helen's faith is also essentially inward - looking, as indicated by her tendency to slip into reverie, and potentially death - willing; she looks forward to death as an elevation, 'I live in calm, looking to the end'. ...read more.

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