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Explore Bronte's approach to the theme of suffering in Jane Eyre (Chapters 1-10). How is this theme influenced by the social/historical context?

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Introduction

Explore Bronte's approach to the theme of suffering in Jane Eyre (Chapters 1-10). How is this theme influenced by the social/historical context? Jane Eyre is a book written by Charlotte Bronte in 1847. The author was, undoubtedly, influenced by the social and historical context of that time. In this essay, I will be exploring the theme of suffering in the first chapters of the novel and will explore how Bronte approaches this theme. Suffering occurs several times throughout the novel and Bronte clearly uses these occurrences to influence our emotions. The first sign of suffering we see is in the very first chapter when Jane is attacked by John Reed. Jane appears from behind the curtain where John attacks her verbally and physically. Before the attack actually happens, Bronte builds up tension and fear through Jane's narration: 'He bullied and punished me...every nerve I had feared him...my care was how to endure the blow which would ...read more.

Middle

When John attacks Jane, Mrs. Reed doesn't scold John or do anything at all. Instead, she locks Jane up. Nowadays, if this happened, the offender would be brought to justice. This shows us the hardships endured by orphans and the attitude to physical punishment. '...And I fell, striking my head against the door and cutting it. The cut bled, the pain was sharp...' Bronte used the idea of physical pain to achieve the purpose of evoking sympathy. 'the cut bled' and 'the pain was sharp' are two quotations that support this idea. Bled gives us the idea of gore and pain, this makes us sympathetic towards Jane whilst it makes us hate John. The word 'sharp' is particularly effective as it gives us an idea of how painful the pain was. The red room is the scene of the next occurrence of suffering but in a much more extreme way. ...read more.

Conclusion

Yes, but we are not to conform to nature; I wish these girls to be the children of Grace; and why the abundance? ..." (Pg 62) The hypocrisy of his attitude is underlined by the luxury and extravagance displayed in the dress and style of his wife and daughters who accompany him. The majority of Victorian reader may not treat children differently just because of this novel because they would not care and would not be bothered by it. Some may reconsider but only a minority. In addition, there were not a lot or any groups such as RSPCC to defend the children that are in need. Life being very different means that the Victorian people were very different as well. They thought differently and maybe did not think that they were mistreating the children in any way. Furthermore, this is one author's opinion and may be exaggerated or due to her own experience so that maybe is another factor in not affecting readers. ...read more.

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