Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre is presented in the Victorian Period of England. It is a novel which tells the story of a child's maturation into adulthood. Jane's developing personality has been shaped by her rough childhood. She has been influenced by many people and experiences. As a woman of her time, Jane has had to deal with the strain of physical appearance. This has a great effect on her mental thinking and decision making. Jane Eyre's cognitive and physical attributes have been affected by her environment throughout her life.
Jane Eyre was born an orphan and raised under the hands of a heartless Aunt. Aunt Reed stressed to Jane that she was privileged to live so well without any parents. At a young age, she has to discover the hardships of life. Jane's cousin, John Reed, emphasizes to her "you are a dependent, you have no money, your father left you none, and you ought to beg" (17). With this in mind, Jane Eyre must continue through her early years in life depending on no one but herself.
Jane is a wicked child according to Mrs. Reed and Mr. Brocklehurst, the master of a boarding school. She is admitted into Lowood School for orphans; under the orders of her master, she must stand on a stool for a day to release her sin. Jane's isolation and strict punishment is a result of her rebellious attitude toward adults. Helen Burns is Jane's companion who she can relate to and rely on during her hard times. When Helen becomes sick, Jane becomes angry and is determined to leave Lowood as soon as she can. Jane's eight years at Lowood resemble life in a prison. Mr. Brocklehurst's goal is to "not to accustom them to the habits of luxury and indulgence, but to render them hardy...
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...rs Jane comes back to see him. She realizes that she still loves him. She longs to be loved. He is the only person that will give her a chance of a real relationship. Jane has discovered her heart.
Jane makes decisions based on the outcomes. Whatever she decides, she wants passion and love to be a direct result. She only feels this with Mr. Rochester. Mrs. Reed and Mr. Brocklehurst have given Jane a restriction on life. As soon as she arrives at Thornfield, her strict life is rescued by Mr. Rochester. Rochester reveals his desire for her, and she is finally led into the world of love. She no longer has to deny herself of her emotions, but is free to express them. Jane's appearance has not prohibited her from achieving what she desires, but becomes a major part of her reasoning.
Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 1996.
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