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What Impression are we given of Jane Eyre and her Situation in the first Four Chapters of the Novel?

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Introduction

What Impression are we given of Jane Eyre and her Situation in the first Four Chapters of the Novel? The very beginning of the novel tells us something about Jane and her situation, the first few lines are very general and give us no indication of any maltreatment of Jane however as the paragraph progresses we see that Jane is depressed because of her situation, her 'heart saddened by the chidings of Bessie, the nurse.' Then we are also given the impression that Jane is so often told that she is inferior to the Reed children that she is now beginning to believe it as she says she is 'humbled by the consciousness of her physical inferiority to Eliza, John and Georgiana Reed.' The following paragraph creates an image to the reader of a warm and loving household for everyone but Jane. As Mrs Reed lay about by the fireside with her 'darlings about her', however Jane is not allowed to join the group. We then get the first conversation between Jane and Mrs Reed, as Jane asks 'What does Bessie say I have done?' The question is completely justified and was probably not intended and indeed does not sound rude but we can see from Mrs Reed's response that Jane is treated completely unreasonably as she replies '....until you can speak pleasantly, remain silent.' ...read more.

Middle

The first thing we see is Jane's imagination surfacing again as she begins to see phantoms in the room, but then Jane begins to think about how unfairly she is treated she thinks how she can never please but then lists the faults of all of the Reed children, the longest list beginning to John who twists the necks of pigeons, calls his mother 'old girl' and reviled her for her dark skin yet he was 'her own darling'. The reader then gains more of an insight into Jane's situation as we are told that it was in fact the now deceased Mr Reed, who died in the red room, who had taken Jane in and treated her well. However with his passing came Mrs Reeds reign of terror. Soon after the reader is told this Jane's overactive imagination finally gets the better of her as she begins to think about Mr Reed's spirit appearing before her as she sits in the red room, she screams and rushes to the door where Bessie unlocks the door and takes Jane's hand showing her compassionate side, Abbot however still thinks of Jane as the devious child she is portrayed as by the Reed's. ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion from the first four chapters of Jane Eyre we are given a very good impression of Jane's character and her surroundings. The most prominent thing is the constant bullying from John Reed and the unreasonable nature of the whole Reed family who completely disregard everything Jane says. She is treated more like an animal than a human being and the only person compassionate towards her is Bessie. Who, despite being nice to Jane can be mean if she does not wish to offend her masters. Jane herself seems to have been mentally crushed by all the physical bullying, her self esteem is very low she considers herself inferior to the Reed family. The fact that she is cut off from the family leads her to indulge in books and causes her imagination to become overactive, seen particularly while Jane is in the red room, and as Jane has grown up she has realised that the light she saw was probably a lantern outside her window rather than a spirit. Although Jane's situation may be bad there are times during the book when Jane shows that perhaps she has no better alternative. On page 18 while Jane is talking to the physician and he asks her why she does not leave, she explains that all her relatives are poor and she 'should not like to belong to poor people'. ...read more.

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