Reflection on Jane Eyre
"That strange little figure there gazing at me, with a white face and arms specking the gloom, and glittering eyes of fear moving where all else was still, had the effect of a real spirit." This was the painful reaction of young Jane Eyre to her own horrifying ten-year-old reflection in the mirror . This reflection illustrates the harsh and fearful childhood of a strong-willed girl in the beginning of Jane Eyre, written by Charlotte Bronte. Set in the mid-nineteenth century on the English countryside Jane Eyre tells the story of one orphan's troubled childhood and her yearning to belong to someone somewhere as she matures into an adult. Jane Eyre is a story replete with romance, morality, mystery, and coincidence.
After the death of her parents, Jane lives in the house of her aunt, Sarah Reed. Sarah only allows Jane to stay in her house because of a promise Sarah made to her brother who was on his death bed. However, Sarah regrets her promise, despises Jane from the beginning, and blames her for every disturbance between her own children and Jane despite the fact the Reed children usually instigate the arguments. Jane is finally sent away to boarding school where she encounters mal-nourishment, embarrassment, and punishment. She also endures the loss of a good friend to disease. She does, however, receive an education and from there she is able to acquire a job as a tutor. While tutoring the adopted daughter of Edward Rochester, son of a wealthy land owner, Jane finds herself quite attracted to Rochester.
After some time has past and several obstacles have been overcome, Rochester professes his love for Jane quite unexpectedly and she impulsively agrees to marry him. However, their engagement is seen as morally incorrect because of the great difference in their ages. Also, several mysterious events occur in the house prior to the wedding which leave Jane curious and suspicious. The cause of these events, which reveals that Rochester is already married to a mad woman he keeps locked on the third floor of his house, is finally realized at the wedding. Jane feels she must flee, but eventually returns to her true love, Rochester.
Throughout Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte introduces new characters to peak the reader's curiosity so he or she will eagerly continue to read. Not all of these characters are main characters, but that does not mean their actions do not play an important role in the story. For example, Rochester's mad wife, Bertha, is only seen a few times throughout the novel, but she is a key character in several situations.
For example, Bertha first appears in the novel when she sets fire to her husband's room. Jane hears Bertha's "demoniac laugh" in the hall and looks out to see who is there. She sees smoke coming from Mr. Rochester's bedroom, interrupts Edward's slumber, and saves him from the fire. Edward agrees with Jane that a servant, Grace Poole, set the fire, but asks Jane to keep it a secret. This leaves Jane extremely confused and it adds to the mysterious aspect of the book. Although the reader has not yet seen Bertha, she has already played an important role in raising the reader's curiosity. Bertha's pyromaniac tendencies shown here also foreshadow the events which come later in the book which injure Rochester.
Even as a character who rarely appears, Bertha is blamed for Rochester's extreme variations in mood. Generally, he is portrayed as a man who loves others and who wants to do good for mankind. This is illustrated through his adoption of a former mistress's daughter who he believes is not his own child. However, at times he appears to be domineering.
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