Comparing and contrasting Jane Eyre to Lord of the Flies
- Length: 1520 words (4.3 double-spaced pages)
- Rating: Excellent
The children's childhood in 'Lord of the Flies' is similar to Jane's
in 'Jane Eyre' e.g. just like the boys, she is scared of something
that may not be real. Jane is afraid to go into the 'Red Room', when
Jane is told that she must go to the Red Room she says 'O Aunt! Have
pity! Forgive me! I cannot endure it - let me be punished some other
way!' She is afraid of the ghost of Mr. Reed who died in the room a
long time ago. She has never seen the ghost but she is still afraid of
the possibility that it might be there. This is similar to the boys in
'Lord of the Flies' who are scared of the 'beast' that inhabits the
island their plane has crashed on, even though none of the children
have seen it. In both of these incidents the children are afraid of
something in their heads.
Jane is different to the boys in 'Lord of the Flies' because the boys
go looking for the 'beast' to prove that it does or does not exist.
Jane doesn't even want to go near the red room and is quite happy to
forget about the possibility of a ghost.
Jane is disliked by the people around her (the Reeds). This is just
like Piggy in the way that they are both disliked by the people around
them. They have nowhere else to go so they must endure the agony of
Jane reads a lot of books and in 'Lord of the Flies', when the boys
first arrive on the island they compare their situation to the books
that they have read i.e. Coral Island.
In 'Jane Eyre' Jane hates the place that she has to live in and wishes
that she could go and live somewhere else. Her knowledge of what she
has read and how much imagination she has is shown here because in the
book she wants to go and live in Lilliput or Brodingnad. The boys on
the other hand love the place that they are in at the start - the
prospects of no adults to control them are endless, but when the order
the Democracy they created falls through, they begin to hate the
island and wish to leave.
The only adult relationship in 'Lord of the Flies' is very brief, it
is between Ralph and the Navy Officer who has come to rescue the boys
from the island. The officer does not understand Ralph or what has
happened on the island.
This is different to the relationship that
Jane has with Bessie. Bessie orders Jane around and because of this,
Jane hates her.
In 'Lord of the Flies' Ralph tells the other children about the strong
relationship that he had with is father and in 'Jane Eyre' we are told
that Jane and her father shared a strong relationship. Both of their
fathers are dead.
When Jane is living at Gateshead, she is bullied by John Reed for no
apparent reason apart from the fact that he doesn't like her and he
needs to feel powerful. The reason that Jane is bullied is the same
reason that the boys bully Piggy in 'Lord of the Flies' because he is
different and they need to feel powerful. When Rodger throws a stone
at a 'littlun' he throw it deliberately to miss but he is
demonstrating his power that he could throw the stone at the 'littlun'
if he wanted to. John Reed does not hold back when he wants to bully
Jane - there is no margin of what he can and cannot do to her.
Bullying in 'Jane Eyre' and in 'Lord of the Flies' is a strong subject
that happens throughout the books. In 'Jane Eyre' Jane is tormented by
John Reed mentally and physically, he torments her with the fact that
her parents are dead and the only reason she is living with them is
because his late father made a promise to look after her. Physically
he abuses her by hitting her and being violent. In 'Lord of the Flies'
the boys tease and torment Piggy about his weight (by using the name
'Piggy') and for being different. Piggy does not fight back but just
asks questions about why they are bullying him. Jane however is happy
to fight back with attacks and words.
The reason that Jane is bullied is because John can bully her and get
away with it without getting into trouble. He exercises his power over
Jane by beating her regularly just like Jack feels he can bully Piggy
because he is higher in the group than he is. Piggy does not fight
back when he is attacked.
Good and Evil are strong subjects in both books because there are good
and evil characters in both novels. In 'Jane Eyre' Jane sees Miss
Scatchard as being evil towards her friend Helen, She feels that Helen
is being punished for no reason: 'I observed you in your class this
morning and your thoughts never wander. Now mine continually rove
away.' To This Helen says that Miss Scatchard dislikes her faults. In
'Lord of the Flies' Jack punishes Piggy by not allowing him any food.
His reason was that because he didn't hunt, he shouldn't get any food.
Jack like Miss Scatchard is dominant over Piggy an is using his power
to be evil to Piggy because just like John and Miss Scatchard - he can
get away with it.
In 'Lord of the Flies' Simon represents the 'good' person on the
island. He doesn't argue with the other boys and always does what he
is asked. He never feels to be violent. He is similar to Helen; she
never feels the need to use violence to solve her problems and lives
by what Christ said: 'Love your enemies. 'She has a reason to be
violent but she resists. Simon and Helen both believe that violence
doesn't solve anything.
Jane likes to read books, when we first meet her in 'Jane Eyre' she is
reading 'Bewicks History of British Birds'. The children in 'Lord of
the Flies' also read books because there is a reference to 'Coral
Island' and 'Swallows and Amazons'.
In 'Lord of the Flies' is does not say much about the children's
education before their life on the island, all that is known is that
Jack was the head of the choir so he must have been well taught and
educated. Piggy shows signs of intellect because he is always thinking
of ways to get off the island and is inquisitive because he always
In 'Lord of the Flies' education had an effect on the way the boys
treated each other in their first days on the island. They set up a
Democracy and had meetings. They elected a leader and made a decision
to light a fire to attract attention. Rodgers education taught him
that he shouldn't throw stones at people.
This is similar to the way that Helen doesn't use violence in 'Jane
Eyre'. Rodger uses violence more and more throughout the book to solve
problems and becomes Jack's right hand man when he becomes leader.
Helen never uses violence but Jane meets violence with violence to
make sure she is treated fairly.
Religion is a feature that occurs often in these novels. In 'Lord of
the Flies' when Simon brings food for the littluns we are reminded of
Jesus feeding the Five Thousand. Simon is often perceived as being
'Christ Like' because there are many times that he does good for other
people and the way that he acts. When Simon comes down from the
mountain after discovering what the beast really is he finds that the
boys have become savages and have begun to worship false idols. Simon
is killed by the other boys before he can tell them the good news that
he has discovered about the beast. This is similar to the Bible when
Jesus comes down from heaven to tell the people of the world that they
will be forgiven for their sins and is killed. When Simon dies his
death is described beautifully as if he was an important person worthy
of a proper burial.
In 'Jane Eyre' a character also like Christ is Helen Burns. She is
nice to Jane when they first meet and she immediately recognises that
Helen is a good person with good nature but is bullied by those who
dislike her. Jane says to Helen 'You say you have faults, Helen, what
are they? To me you seem very good' Helen is bullied by a teacher
called Miss. Scatchard, but Helen won't admit that she is cruel to
her, but recognises her faults and punishes her for them just like
Christ was killed because he was spreading the word of God. Helen
describes the teachers as being naturally neat and punctual. Helen
wants Jane to learn from her mistakes, she often reads the Bible and
does not resort to violence because of what it says.