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In this essay I want to show how Charlotte Bront conveys the experience of childhood and school in the first ten chapters of Jane Eyre.

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Introduction

In this essay I want to show how Charlotte Bront� conveys the experience of childhood and school in the first ten chapters of Jane Eyre. I will make valuable points and use quotes to back them up. At the beginning of Jane Eyre, Jane is at Gateshead. Gateshead creates a lonely, desolate contrast from the busy Victorian cities like London, and is also situated in the middle of nowhere. This means that there is no way of escape from Gateshead and because of this, Jane is forced to stay with her relatives, who treat her in a cruel and disrespectful way, due to the fact that she owns nothing. Charlotte Bront� portrays the Reed children as well dressed, well fed, happy and overall spoilt by Mrs Reed. "The said Eliza, John, and Georgina were now clustered around their Mama in the drawing Room." This portrays how the upper class children are loved and well treated, yet they still retain their selfishness and aloofness over Jane because she is not accepted by Mrs Reed, unlike her own children. This shows how in Victorian times people were labelled depending on the way they acted and the amount of possessions or money they owned, where the upper classes ruled over the lower working classes. Mrs Reed is intolerant, strict and imposing. ...read more.

Middle

The family isolated her at home so that she had nobody to turn to, to gain strength from so she became very vulnerable and they took advantage of that by bossing her around and intimidating her with their superiority and strength so that any normal child wouldn't dare to talk back. Jane, however, although she was very aware of her status stood up for what was right because she had strong views of what was wrong and right and what was fair and unfair. Lowood, the cheap boarding school Jane is sent to is more of a stricter, intolerant setting but in a united, and disciplined way. It also has a cold and spacious contrast, along with a cruel mood. Charlotte Bront� portrays the school and teaching methods to show hardship, and not just for Jane, but also other pupils, by showing the obedient, unjust manner in which children were educated, within boarding schools, and these were those who were fortunate enough to be educated. The school and teaching methods are shown, as very harsh and intolerant with little room for mistakes in such a cruel place. For example it says "for some error of pronunciation or some inattention to stops, she was suddenly sent to the very bottom." Although the methods used for even more undisciplined actions, were corporal punishment where the pupils were physically punished, as the text says, "the teacher instantly and sharply inflicted on her neck a dozen strokes with the bunch of twigs." ...read more.

Conclusion

After all the bad experiences of Lowood, it would all change in chapter ten when everybody finds out what the school is really like and improve it to make it a better experience for the pupils that go there. This makes Jane happy and she stays there for eight years, six as a student and two as a teacher. The fact that Jane chose to stay there for two more years as a teacher shows that she liked the school and agreed with how it was being run. In conclusion Charlotte Bront� has shown Jane's experience of childhood to be hard and unpleasant because she was poor so she wasn't accepted by her relatives who picked on her and harmed her mentally as well as physically. Charlotte Bront� has portrayed the experience of Lowood School as a harsh environment because of the rules and the discipline for breaking those rules. It also shows that there as a caring environment with some of the teachers such as Miss Temple who care for the children because they know the children have to live in poor conditions. When the school is improved, it makes you like the school more because it has become pleasant, the children are well cared for and they like it at the school. You can see as Jane leaves Lowood to go to another school as a governess that she had grown up from a young vulnerable child to an assertive and confident woman. ...read more.

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