Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre - The Character of Jane Eyre

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The Character of Jane Eyre

What we learn of the central character is considerable. Throughout the novel her dealings with those around her reveal her characteristics. As a child at Gateshead Hall we see that she is impulsive, often alarmingly so, but that she also can be sullen and withdrawn. Thse around her do not find her an easy child - she gives very little of herself away, especially to the Reed family, although there is a slight intimacy with the servant, Bessie. She is intelligent and precocious, preferring the make believe world of books to the harsh and often unsympathetic world of reality. She is also perceptive; knowing that the Reeds dislike her, yet not being quite sure why it should be so.She feels her social position as an outcast very keenly; ironically being unable, because of her breeding to form an attachment with Bessie. She is occasionally very angry, as when she lashes out at John Reed, and when she rounds on Mrs Reed after the Red Room incident. She is also afraid and insecure, but tries very hard not to let anyone see this side of her character. it is only at times of great stress that she gives way to fear (Red Room), but note that usually she has, even at the early age of ten, great self-control for most of the time.

A different side of her character is revealed at Lowood school, when we see the tender and trusting nature in her dealings with Miss Temple and with Helen Burns. It is obvious that she has a great desire to be shown love, and when this is given, she is perfectly happy to return it in kind. There is still, however, anger and resentment, especially on behalf of injustice. She cannot take Helen's advice to submit to chastisement and to be submissive and patient, to heart, eve...

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...nd herself to do what is right, and leave Thornfield, despite the enormous temptation to stay and become his mistress.This conflict continues - she is torn between desire and duty until she returns to Ferndean at the close of the novel, but inner strength and determination carry her through the time at moor house and her relationship with the Rivers family.

Generosity is a characteristic which manifests itself in the division of her legacy between the Rivers cousins, and we also see that the need for a loving family and jane,s ability to return affection wholeheartedly have not departed from her character, in her relationship with Diana and Mary Rivers.

Pride is also a characteristic which she possesses. She is proud of her education, and of her independence, but she also shows a balancing humility, being able to acknowledge her failings, when necessary.

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