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will mainly discuss the way in which Charlotte Bronte portrays Jane Eyre whom the book is based on. I am going to show how Jane was treated and viewed by her companions.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

I aim to discuss how the first ten chapters of Jane Eyre which is written by Charlotte Bronte, my question is how does Charlotte Bronte portray the way in which orphans were seen as during the nineteenth century? I will mainly discuss the way in which Charlotte Bronte portrays Jane Eyre whom the book is based on. I am going to show how Jane was treated and viewed by her companions. Jane is an orphan in the novel fully named Jane Eyre. She was portrayed as the victim of charity rather than a beneficiary of it. In this time the book was written middle and upper classes felt that they were doing a good deed for the less fortunate members of the community by offering them charity but sometimes the giving of charity became acts of cruelty and neglect towards the poorer classes and encouraged feelings of being "holier than thou" and self satisfaction in the upper classes. Charlotte Bronte shows this clearly and constantly early into the novel. Jane is seen by other characters as being nothing compared to them. Bronte states how orphaned children were seen as less than human because they needed charity. The upper classes thought that because they give them supplies such as food and shelter, they did not need more advanced things like love warmth or education. They were treated poorly and often used and sometimes abused. This was shown throughout in the book, e.g. being part of the Reed family but not being good enough to be a family member and looked down on as some piece of dirt at the bottom of their shoe. ...read more.

Middle

you none; you ought to beg, and not to live here with gentlemen's children like us, and eat the same meals we do, and wear clothes at our mama's expense". The constant verbal and physical abuse from the Reeds makes Jane's time at Gateshead, for the most part, intolerable. She is a social outcast in the Reeds' home. The only peace she finds at Gateshead is during times of voluntary solitude and while reading. Like orphans throughout English literature, Bronte allows her to develop an identity through the challenge of social mobility, a challenge that keeps her inferior while at Gateshead. Because of her young, orphaned status, Jane is unable to escape from the torment at Gateshead until Mrs. Reed decided to send her away. Again highlighting the fact that the children of the lower classes at the time had no control over what happened to them. As a result of her traumas at Gateshead, her experiences become the grounds on which she is able to build her future character. Jane is alone without any parental love to guide her except for Bessie's occasional show of affection. She has to make a life for herself by herself. With the lack of parental attachment, Jane welcomes her liberation from the Reeds, even if it is to yet another intolerable place and able to enjoy the parting even with the insecurity and uncertainty that she feels. Although Lowood, which was a charity school, provides Jane with a means to escape the abuse of the Reeds, the living conditions were extremely poor. ...read more.

Conclusion

Bronte shows here that by the questioning Helen she to has been influenced by the commonly held values of the time and at this point she feels that there may be a slight possibility that Helen is naughty simply because she is an orphan. Jane's strengths of character grows as Helens health deteriorates. Jane learns true goodness from Helen who is measured and far more Christian than the likes of Mr. Brocklehurst which balances her tendency towards improper behavior for the time. In comparison to her life at Gateshead, Lowood offerd Jane the opportunity to grow out of her "childlike disposition" and strive for a meaningful life on her own, with the guidance of the mother-like figure, Miss Temple. I feel that throughout "Jane Eyre, Bronte gives her character a strength and independence that were not typical characteristics of women of the time. She shows throughout Jane's development from childhood into a woman, that the common characteristics and misapprehensions felt towards orphans at the time were mostly true, simply because the majority did not have the same opportunities as Jane or the ability to make the most of them. The only way Jane escaped the life of an orphan was by true strength and determination, leaving behind those who did not share these strengths behind in the world of the lower, poorer classes. I also feel that at the same time criticizing the narrow minded often cruel values held by the religious Christians and upper classes, Bronte acknowledges that it takes a very special person such as Jane to break free of the stereotypical mold and also that society needed to question their treatment of orphans. Michael Village 11s ...read more.

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