Jane Eyre: Blog Post 1
How does Bronte describe the women of the Reed household? What does her characterization of JOHN REED tell you about the Reed women?
Charlotte Bronte describes the women of the Reed household very clearly in the first few chapters of Jane Eyre. She describes Mrs Reed as a harsh and cruel woman who is Jane Eyre’s aunt by marriage. She has been raising Jane since Jane was very young. She would turn a blind eye whenever her son, John, would be cruel or abusive to Jane, and has been known to punish Jane severely for very small matters. For example, she locks Jane in a room for a fight that was instigated by her own son. Mrs Reed also has two daughters, Eliza and Georgiana. Eliza is “headstrong and selfish” but respected by the entire household, and Georgiana is spoiled brat who is always liked by everyone for her pretty looks. The characterization of John Reed can also tell us a bit more about the woman of the household. For one thing, John is abusive and cruel to Jane on a regular basis, but is never as much as scolded for his cruelty, while Jane was punished for defending herself, and is constantly being punished severely for other minor things.
What is the Red Room? Why is it important?
The Red Room is the bedchamber in which Mr Reed, Jane’s biological maternal uncle, died and currently serves as a prison cell for Jane when she is being punished. It is important, because one, it gives the narrator a reason to explain more about how she came to live with the Reeds and her relations with them. It also allows Jane to express that her childhood could have very well been happier if she were raised by her uncle, instead of her aunt. Finally, it is an outlet to reveal to the audience just how cruel Mrs Reed really is to Jane, without simply telling the audience that she is a mean old lady. Bronte uses the fact that Mrs Reed locks Jane in a room that terrifies her to hammer the nail in just how miserable Jane is, and that she has reason to be so.
Why does Jane like reading Bewick’s ornithology encyclopedia? What is the subtext of her paraphrase
Jane enjoys the book because of the introductory pages that describe the desolate places in Europe. Bewick’s ornithology shows that Jane not only wants to get away from her home, but also wants solitude. She wants to escape her dreadful life and home, and possibly go far, far way from her aunt and cousins. The idea of being somewhere alone is also rather appealing for her, because the people show lives with (The Reeds), are so awful to her.
Relate Jane reading Bewick to Judy Garland’s Dorothy Gale.
Dorothy Gale and Jane Eyre both want to escape their lives and to go far away from their homes. They both even have an angry woman in a position of power over them that they wish to rid their lives of. Dorothy has the lady that wants to kill Toto who the Wicked Witch of the West is based off of, and Jane has Mrs Reed, her cruel aunt. However, the major difference between the two girls is that Dorothy has a loving family, and a home to return to, Jane has neither of these. When Jane escapes her home, it is much more likely that it will be a permanent move, while Dorothy will return at the end of her adventure.
Why does Lowood exist? What are the ways girls can leave Lowood?
Lowood is a place for young girls who, at the very least, have a dead father or mother, possibly both, to live and to be educated. The ways the girls that can leave Lowood are limited, I do not believe they can simply get up and leave. In order to leave Lowood, a girl must accomplish one of the following: die, be expelled, find a new job opportunity, or get married.
Why must Jane meet Helen Burns? Why does Helen give Jane Johnson’s Rasselas? What does this work tell us about Helen’s personality?
Jane meets Helen Burns to help ease her way into a new way of living. Helen teaches Jane all about the school, the teachers and its purpose. Helen gives Rasselas to Jane so she can look at it and see what it is about because Jane showed some interest in the book. The fact that Helen is reading the book shows that she probably has a very high reading level, is well-educated, and strives to continue her education. In simple terms, she’s a bookworm.
What is Jane and Helen’s relationship? What does Jane learn from Helen?
Jane and Helen are very close friends. Helen means a lot to Jane because she is the first friend that she met at Lorwood, and now that I think of it, she is probably the first real friend close to her own age that she has ever made. Helen teaches Jane a whole new way of thinking about people who do her wrong. Jane learns that it is possible to forgive, and even care about people who do her wrong, and show her no kindness in return.
How does Jane find out about the job at Thornfield? What are her assumptions about her new life when she leaves Lowood for Thornfield?
Jane puts out advertisements in the Shire Herald advertising her desire for work as a governess. She expects her life to be better, that she will have a grand old time and enjoy her new job.