Jane Eyre: Sympathy for Jane

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How does Brontë create sympathy for the character of Jane in her novel, ‘Jane Eyre’?

In the novel, ‘Jane Eyre’ Charlotte Brontë focuses on the life of Jane, an unwanted orphan who can’t do anything right in the eyes of her aunt. When she is about nine she is sent to Lowood Institute where she is also treated as inferior by Mr Brocklehurst. Although Jane is treated so cruelly and unfairly all her life she proves everyone wrong in the end by making something of herself.

There are many parts of the book where we feel sympathy for Jane. In this essay I am going to discuss how Brontë creates sympathy for Jane in chapters one, two and seven. The main scenes include when Jane is treated cruelly by her cousin John, when she is locked in the red-room and when Mr Brocklehurst tells everyone she’s a liar.

When we first meet Jane Eyre she is sitting in a window-seat trying to escape her worries by reading after being separated from the group by her aunt. The reasons for this include not being ‘more attractive’ and ‘more sociable’. This shows Mrs Reed is a very stereotypical Victorian woman as she thinks all girls should be pretty and polite. Brontë tells us Jane has been excluded from ‘privileges intended only for contented, happy, little children’. This emphasises the affect on Jane of how she is treated as she thinks of herself as not happy and therefore shouldn’t be allowed to do what happy, little girls do. Also ‘humbled by the consciousness of my inferiority to Eliza, John and Georgiana Reed’ is very effective as it tells us that Jane is aware of why she is treated the way she is and agrees with it. She returns to this spot later on after being sent away again, this time pulling the curtains around her. ‘Fol...

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...m. She describes the red-room as a ‘square chamber’ suggesting it is a small claustrophobic room but she then goes on to say it is ‘massive’, ‘deep’ and ‘large.’ As the red-room is ‘one of the largest and stateliest chambers in the mansion’ with large polished furniture and ‘bed supported on massive pillars’ it must be extremely intimidating for the little Jane to be in. We can be certain that the room got its name from the vast amount of the colour red in it, ‘the carpet was red; the table at the foot of the bed was covered with a crimson cloth.’ By Brontë using the colour imagery of red it symbolises the colour of blood and fear. The colour red emphasises where Jane’s uncle died and was laid. It also emphasises the fear that Jane feels while she is in the room. Brontë describes all the furniture being made out of mahogany to symbolise the room as being important.
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