Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

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There are many stages throughout the book in which the reader can feel sympathy for Jane Eyre; these include when she is locked in the Red Room, when Helen Burns dies at Lowood, and when she and Mr. Rochester are married the first time.
The situation when Jane in locked in the Red Room occurs because she has retaliated against John Reed hitting her and the fact that she is being punished for doing so. The mere fact that she is being locked in the Red Room can already accumulate sympathy within the reader because she is seemingly being very unfairly punished whereas her cousin John has attacked her already and managed to escape any punishment whatsoever. However in the events leading up to being locked in the room, the reader could not feel sympathy for Jane Eyre as she did in a way bring the punishment upon herself for attacking Mr. Reed in the first place. If she has not retaliated she would have not been locked in the room. Most readers however probably do feel sympathy for her as she was acting more in self-defence. She was also unfairly spoken too as they were dragging her to the room itself as they say things like ‘she's like a mad cat' and do not seem to be letting her give an explanation at all for her actions, and only listening to what John had too say. They make sure that she knows her place by telling her that ‘You are under obligation to Mrs. Reed' and that she is ‘less than a servant'. These are not kind words and the reader will probably feel sympathetic as she is being treated as a worthless object. The room that she is sent too is a dark and unpleasant place with memories of the dead Mr. Reed. For a child of Jane's young age it would seemingly be very distressing for her, and with the added experience of her seemingly seeing a ‘ghost' of some kind, it would be a terrible experience. Even if the reader has not felt sympathy for Jane before this incident they would surely feel so now, as she is in a distressing situation alone. When Jane first screams out for help from someone it does seem as though people are coming too help her as Bessie and Abbot come to open the door and ask her what is wrong and what has made her cry for help.

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But then seemingly instantly they go back to thinking her untrustworthy and unpleasant for example when Abbot says that ‘She has screamed out on purpose' when she is clearly distressed and disturbed. The situation is then made worse for Jane when Mrs. Reed shows up demanding who or what has been making the terrible noise. When she finds out that Jane is distressed and that it was her who was screaming she says that ‘The violence is almost repulsive', seemingly to the reader being completely insensitive to Jane's situation. She turns all the staff in the book against Jane and treats her completely irrationally and ‘abruptly thrust me back and locked me in'. The words used are violent and portray Mrs. Reed to be ignoring Jane's constant plea for help. When Jane falls ill afterwards the same insensitivity is shown by all yet again apart from Bessie, who has seemingly become more supportive to Jane.
The time surrounding Helen Burns' death at Lowood is quite a sad part to the book. Before this incident Helen was Jane's closest and earliest friend at Lowood and they had become very close. Many were ill at Lowood already, so many people had been leaving and the book does not mention Helen Burns for quite some time. She is then reintroduced in quite a different situation, as she is told to be ill. The reader may feel sympathy at this stage in the story, though not necessarily for Jane Eyre, more so for Helen Burns, as Jane is portrayed to have other friends as well. Although she does have other friends in the book she ‘never tired of Helen Burns'. This may make the reader start too have sympathy for Jane Eyre, as her closest friend is ill. Throughout this stage in the book there are parts where Jane is told too have seen Helen in the distance, this can be quite sad for Jane as she is not communicating with her. Once Helen was with Miss. Temple and Jane was ‘not allowed to go and speak to her'. This may make the reader feel sympathy for her as she seemingly does want to speak to Helen very much and she is not being allowed to do so. This is more like tearing too people apart than helping one person recover. Jane and the reader and then informed that Helen is likely to be dead very soon and once again that Jane is not being allowed to see her on her sick bed. The reader probably does feel sympathy for Jane at this time because it is being confirmed that she is going to lose possibly the closest friend she has ever had. Jane however does not take the nurse's advice and stay away from Helen when she is dying, instead she wishes too be with her and too say goodbye. The fact that Jane has too find Helen in secret and not tell anyone is sad and the reader many feel sympathetic as she cannot express her sadness as openly as she seemingly wishes too. Her last moments with Helen Burns however are quite touching and the reader may not necessarily feel sympathy at this point because Jane is at least able to say a final goodbye and have good memories of Helen.
The first marriage of Jane and Mr. Rochester is quite a distressing and passionate part of the story as many secrets come out at this point. The preparation and before the wedding itself the reader does not really have the need to feel any sympathy for Jane as she is marrying the man that she loves in a happy situation. The reader continues to have no need to feel sympathy for her until the moment where there is protest against their marriage. At this point the reader probably does feel sympathy as the ceremony is no longer peaceful and has been in a way ruined. When the solicitor explains why he is protesting it is quite a shocking statement to have made against a man, and Jane's feelings are portrayed not with speech but with silence. Since she had no idea whatsoever that this was going to happen or what had happened in the past the reader probably does feel sympathy as it is in no way her fault. Mr. Rochester's reaction to the situation can be seen as selfish and that he is not treating Jane correctly. He is not referring too her or speaking to her and not seemingly caring particularly about how she feels in this situation. He is questioning what is being said, but then admits it himself, making no apology to Jane or too anyone else. Without speaking to her Mr. Rochester ‘still holding me fast, he left the church'. Jane has got no say in the matter, which can be seen as unfair as it is her wedding as well and she is entitled to a say in the matter. Although the solicitor tells Jane that she is ‘cleared from all blame' Jane's spirits do not seem raised. Although Jane does not speak up throughout being put through seeing Bertha she explains that ‘my blood felt their subtle violence', showing that although she does not look angry on the outside she is horrified on the inside. This possibly makes the reader feel even more sympathetic for her as she does not lash out and do something she may regret whilst she is around everyone. After the incident she is obviously distressed and the insensitivity of Mr. Rochester only adds to the readers sympathetic feelings.
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