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How does Charlotte Bronte create sympathy for Jane in the first two chapters of the novel?

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Introduction

How does Charlotte Bronte create sympathy for Jane in the first two chapters of the novel? Charlotte Bronte's novel Jane Eyre (1848) is a story is about a ten year old orphan girl called Jane Eyre. Her circumstances are as follows; when both of her parents died within a year of her birth, leaving her into the care of her Aunt, Mrs Reed. Mrs Reed is a widow of Jane's uncle, who broke her promise to late husband by mistreating Jane cruelly. Then Jane is also bullied by here three cousins, especially 14-year-old John. She is also regarded as "less then a servant" (chapter 2). Bronte creates sympathy for Jane in the first two chapters of the novel in various ways. These include, the settings she creates, the language she uses to describe Jane, the way the chapters are structured and understanding of the social context of the time. In 'Jane Eyre' Charlotte Bronte bases her plot on the Gothic Genre making the novel dark and mysterious with hints of supernatural elements. Charlotte Bronte first makes you sympathise with Jane through the settings she creates. The novel opens with striking contrast between the bleakness and chill of the winter world outside and the cosy intimacy of a family, sitting comfortably around a fire in the drawing room of Gateshead. In the opening sentence, the writer makes us feel the sympathy for Jane by saying, " There was no possibility of taking a walk that day". ...read more.

Middle

To Jane, it seems unearthly, "like one of the tiny phantoms, half fairy, half imp". She becomes convinced that the room is haunted and screams for help. Charlotte Bronte interpretation of the 'Red Room' relates to the colour associations with anger. The Readers are drawn into sympathy for Jane character who at the age of ten is meted out such a harsh punishment and being locked in the Red Room and the servants are sympathetic towards Jane. Then once again upon Mrs Reed's orders Jane is bodily thrust into the room and door locked behind her. Charlotte Bronte creates sympathy for Jane through the language she uses to describe Jane herself. Jane is continually abused by her aunt, cousins John, Georgina and Eliza and servants. Her relationship with them is abusive one. Her aunt is very rude to her as ask her to go away "Be seated somewhere" as she does not want her to go near them. This also shows us that her aunt does not want her to be in the family circle because she does not like her behaviour or personality. Jane is also abused by her cousins John, both physically and verbally. We can see how he bullies her and calls her names such as "you rat!" . John than throws a book at her and she falls cutting her head open, " the volume was flung...hit me... ...read more.

Conclusion

Then came the children who were looked after by their nannies followed by the servants, who were the lowest in the Victorian household. However, in this household the father of the Reed family (Mr Reed - Jane's Uncle) is deceased, therefore Mrs Reed (Jane's Aunt) becomes the head of the household. The 'typical' family structure is disturbed as the father is removed, and Mrs Reed becomes the head of the household. As Jane is an orphan, she is not part of the family and is treated 'less than a servant' (chapter 2). We feel sympathy for Jane, as she is being treated 'less than a servant', who were the lowest in the Victorian household. Moreover Mrs Reed abuses Jane as she is outspoken and plain as opposed to her own children who she regards as her "precious little darlings", whom she believes are well behaved and pretty. We feel empathy for Jane here, as we know that she is bullied by her cousins, particularly John Reed who describes her as "You rat!" (chapter 2). Mrs Reed also shows no sympathy for Jane when she screams of terror in the red room, and orders that Jane "should be left in the red room till further notice" (chapter 2). The whole two chapters are very sympathetic towards Jane Eyre and the reader cannot help, show commiseration for Jane, who is badly mistreated by the Reed household. Overall, Charlotte Bronte creates sympathy for Jane Eyre through the settings she creates, the language used to describe Jane ad a young orphan girl, how the chapters are structured and through social context of the time. ...read more.

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