The opening chapters of Jane Eyre are not an account of childhood but rather the beginning of the discussion of the female identity. Discuss.

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' The opening chapters of Jane Eyre are not an account of childhood but rather the beginning of the discussion of female identity'

The fact that this essay is based on a very small chunk of the novel makes it hard to fully discuss the female identity of Jane. this requires me to thoroughly explore the context in which the novel is written in order to have a complete understanding of the circumstances surrounding Charlotte Brontë in the Victorian era which may have influenced her in the writing of Jane Eyre.

At the time of writing 'Jane Eyre' Charlotte was living in Victorian England in the middle of the 19th century. 19th century women living in Britain had a much more submissive role in society than they do today.  Women were not allowed to vote and the law completely ignored then as humans. a woman was legally bound to her nearest male relative and any property that she only became her husband as soon as she was married. They were also not allowed to attend university.

We can believe this because it is alleged that Charlotte Brontë published her book under the name of Currer Bell which suggests that she had to sell it under a male identity otherwise her work would have never been published this way Brontë's work was published and not discredited for written by a irrational woman.

The novel opens with Jane's narrative and we are immediately thrust into the world of a 10-year-old child. Ironically, we discover that this child is very sophisticated and mature for her age. Charlotte uses tricky wording which indicates that the narrator is reflecting as if it a memoirs. Such a mature and detailed account of the preceding events immediately shows us that Jane is speaking with the benefit hindsight. The emotion which Jane shows when describing the 'inferiority' she is shown by the other Reed children, is unrealistic for a child of this age.

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Mrs Reed and her children are malicious towards Jane for being unhappy which is understandable, and she is banished from any family activities. Her exclusion from the family is a common theme throughout the opening chapters of the novel and portrays the harsh account of childhood. It can also be linked to a deeper feminist meaning. Jane is considered to be far too serious as she's unhappy that her family is all dead. As she is excluded from any family activities Jane goes to the window sill to read a book. She is not inside the house she is ...

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