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How does Charlotte Bronte make the reader feel sympathy for Jane Eyre in chapters one and two?

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Introduction

Jane Eyre is the main character from Charlotte Bronte's popular novel, "Jane Eyre." In the novel Jane Eyre, although she is poor and of plain appearance, she possesses an indomitable spirit, a sharp wit and great courage; and because of these characteristics she is a very likeable character. Like all good novels, the author tries to get the reader to like the main character and Charlotte Bronte's way of making the reader fond of Jane Eyre is by making the reader feel sympathy for her. The main part that Bronte makes the reader feel sympathy for Jane is in chapters one and two, when Jane is under the control of Mrs Reed, Jane's cruel auntie. So how does Bronte make the reader feel such sympathy for Jane? Firstly the novel explains on the opening page that Eliza, John ad Georgiana Reed were 'now clustered round their mama in the drawing-room: she lay reclined on a sofa by the fireside, and with her darlings about her looked perfectly happy.' ...read more.

Middle

In my view I feel this is probably the part in the novel when the reader feels most sympathetic for Jane. This is because John has explained all the bad things that she is or has happened to her in her life, and by doing this has made her feel that she is practically nothing and shouldn't really be living. The reader probably feels sympathy because they have found out she is heavily dependant on the Reeds' due to her having no money and no father, therefore being an orphan. Not only does the reader feel great sympathy for Jane here, but also probably great hatred for John Reed, due to him bullying her. The reader's hatred for John also probably grew when he hurled a book at her head, and Jane explained 'and I fell, striking my head against the door and cutting it.' Moreover this would have strengthened the reader's sympathy for Jane, that they already had and additionally, in response to John's violent conduct against her, she exclaimed 'Wicked and cruel boy! ...read more.

Conclusion

Again this makes sympathy grow from the reader for Jane and once again proves that the Reed family sees Jane as unequal. Additionally, Bronte increases the sympathy from the reader for Jane by asking the rhetorical questions 'Why was I always suffering, always browbeaten, always accused, forever condemned? Why could I never please? Why was it useless to try to win any one's favour?' These brought sympathy because it shows that Jane was very depressed about the way she was unfairly treated and seems to be blaming herself. In conclusion, Bronte brought sympathy from the reader for Jane in "Jane Eyre" in many different ways. She was seen as an outsider and unequal to the Reed family, she was bullied and treated unfairly. Also not forgetting the use of rhetorical questions used by Jane as she questioned herself about why so many awful things were happening to her. I found this technique very effective but overall I feel that Charlotte Bronte was also very successful in bringing sympathy from the reader for Jane Eyre. ...read more.

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