Essay on Futile Search for Identity in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

Essay on Futile Search for Identity in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

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Futile Search for Identity in Jane Eyre

   According to the university psychology department, "The human brain is most emotionally affected in childhood." As a child, many experience numerous great events, however one negative event can undermine all of the great events that the brain would have remembered. The traumatizing occurrences that take place in people's lives are catastrophic in childhood, and have a long lasting effect in adulthood. These events can cause a lack of love being provided, and not provide the experiences essential for adult relationships. In Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, Jane's childhood lacks love and the experiences necessary in order to maintain healthy relationships, therefore causing her to go on a search for her identity.  


Because of the abuse imposed upon Jane, she created a sense of independence and dignity. In Jane's early years as a child in Gateshead she was abused both verbally and physically. While Jane resided in Gateshead she was abused physically by John Reed (8). However, the physical abuse is nominal when juxtaposed to the verbal abuse that caused emotional scarring for years to come. Jane was told that she was merely a poor child that was graciously taken in by her dear aunt. However, it was clear that when Mrs. Reed has Jane locked in the Red Room after John Reed attacked her (9) that her intentions really weren't respectable. Further Jane was told by Bessie, "No; you are less than a servant, for you do nothing for your keep." (9). This cynical treatment would prove to be very influential in Jane's later life. The independence and dignity that Jane goes on to acquire would clearly stand in the way of her future relationships. She illustrates the ...

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Works Consulted:



Blom, Margaret. Charlotte Bronte. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1977.


Eagleton, Terry. " Jane Eyre: A Negative Heroine." Modern Critical Interpretations: Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. Ed. Harold Bloom. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987: 29-46.


"Jane Eyre." Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism. Vol. 3. Ed. Laurie Lanzen Harris. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1982: 42-3.


McFadden-Gerber, Margaret. "Critical Evaluation." Masterplots. Rev. 2nd edition. Vol. 6. Ed. Frank N. Magill. Englewood Cliffs: Salem Press, 1996: 3290-4.


Mitchell, Sally. "Jane Eyre." Critical Survey of Long Fiction. Vol. 3. Ed. Frank N. Magill. Englewood Cliffs: Salem Press, 1983: 297-302.


Oates, Joyce Carol. Introduction. Jane Eyre. By Charlotte Bronte. New York: Bantam Books, 1987: 5-14.


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