Submission or Revolt in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

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Jane Eyre: Submission or Revolt The single greatest conflict of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre is Jane's struggle between submission and revolt. At times it is difficult for her to know which of those two actions to choose-- she is a spirited woman who cannot accept oppression but sometimes has no choice but to submit. As a little girl she had no knowledge that there was a medium between the two. Eventually she learns moderation and she doesn't need to choose submission or revolt; she comes into her own money by the end and escapes from the oppression she suffered as a child. Jane's oppression begins at Gateshead Hall while living with her Aunt Reed and cousins. For most of her time there, she chooses submission to all their cruelties because she has no choice really. She is a little child with no money and not living relatives that she knows about. John Reed is terrible to her; he teases Jane cruelly and tries to harm her. Jane sees "in him a tyrant: a murderer" in the instance when he yells at her for reading his books and then throws the book at her, drawing blood (13). This is when Jane decides not to remain passive and submit to these cruelties, but to revolt fully against him. She insults him back and physically fights with him. As a result of this, however, Jane is forced to submit to even greater oppression by Mrs. Reed; she is locked in the red-room like an animal. She tries to revolt, but she is unable to accomplish anything at all while locked in the room, except for becoming ill with fear of the room. Before Jane leaves Gateshead for Lowood Institution, she chooses to verbally revolt against Mrs. Reed, as she was unable to before. She tells Mrs. Reed that she is "bad, hard-hearted" and "deceitful" and renounces her as a relation (39). Soon after, Jane is off to Lowood school where more adults tell her what to do. Jane is not as oppressed at Lowood school, but she still is not allowed to do as she pleases, especially not at first. The teachers treat her well, especially Miss Temple, one of her closest friends there. However, after she has been there a few weeks, Mr. Brocklehurst puts her in front of the class and denounces her as a liar. Helen Burns entreats Jane not to let it get her down because Brocklehurst "is not a god" and is disliked by everyone (71).

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