Jane Eyre: An Orphan’s Success Story Essay

Jane Eyre: An Orphan’s Success Story Essay

Length: 1736 words (5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Jane Eyre: An Orphan’s Success Story
In Victorian literature, the orphan can be read as an unfamiliar and strange figure outside the dominant narrative of domesticity (Peters 18). They were often portrayed as poor children without a means of creating a successful life for themselves. Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, however, is a portrayal of a female orphan who triumphs over almost every environment she enters. Therefore, Jane’s ability to overcome the hardships that she encounters is a fictional success story. By discussing Jane’s early life as an orphan at Gateshead and Lowood, and also her relationships with Helen Burns and Adele Varens, one can see how Bronte’s novel is an escape from the familiar predestined fate of at least one orphan in the novel—Jane.

Jane becomes an orphan after her father, a poor clergyman, is infected with typhus fever while visiting among the poor of a large manufacturing town. Jane’s mother becomes infected from him, and both die within a month of each other (37; ch. 3). Because Jane is still a young child when this occurs, she knows no other life but of that as an orphan. Mr. Reed, her uncle who informally adopts her, wants Jane to be brought up in a positive familial environment. After his death, however, Mrs. Reed makes certain that this is not possible. Through her character, Bronte draws on the archetypical literary figure of the wicked stepmother (Nestor 35). Although Jane now lives with the Reeds, a financially well-off family, she is still treated like a poor, working-class orphan.

While at Gateshead, Jane is constantly reminded of her lower-class, orphaned status. Jane’s position in the Reed household is inferior and intolerable. Even the Reeds’ servant, Miss Abbot, tells her,...

... middle of paper ...

...ops. Along with these experiences, she is involved in relationships with other children of orphaned status. Both Helen Burns and Adele Varens play a significant role in helping Jane become a successful governess and the eventual wife of her true love. Because of these experiences and relationships, Jane’s past as a passionate, oppressed, insignificant, orphaned child is buried by her ability to overcome it. Her ability to overcome this sentence for failure is, indeed, like a fairy-tale.

Works Cited

Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. Ed. Beth Newman. Boston: St. Martin’s, 1996.

Hochman, Baruch, and Ilja Wachs. Dickens: The Orphan Condition. London: Associated UP, 1999.

Nestor, Pauline. Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. New York: St. Martin’s, 1992.

Peters, Laura. Orphan Texts: Victorian Orphans, Culture and Empire. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2000.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Jane Eyre's Childhood as a Precedent for All the Trouble Essay

- Jane Eyre's Childhood as a Precedent for All the Trouble Jane Eyre's literary success of the time has been cheaply commercialized. In other words, Bronte's novel never got the appreciation it deserved, in the areas it deserved. Many 19th century critics merely assigned literary themes to their reviews to "get it over with". Critics commended Jane Eyre for everything from its themes to its form. However, their surface examinations amount to nothing without careful consideration of the deeper underlying background in Jane's life where their hasty principles originate....   [tags: Emily Bronte Jane Eyre]

Powerful Essays
1795 words (5.1 pages)

Radical Ideas in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre Essay

- Radical Ideas in Jane Eyre          Charlotte Bronte knew what she was doing when she assumed the pseudonym of Currer Bell. In Jane Eyre she wanted to pose radical ideas regarding the role of women in the 19th century, but being a sensible woman, she knew that society would never accept having a woman pose these new views. It would be altogether too logical and self-praising. Though the author was never credited for the published novel it must have been equally fulfilling for her to know that people had read the opinions voiced by a woman....   [tags: Jane Eyre Essays]

Powerful Essays
1935 words (5.5 pages)

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë Essay

- Jane Eyre, one of the Victorian Era’s most popular novels, has continued to engage readers since its 1847 publication. It has spawned an incredible amount of adaptations, such as multiple motion pictures, a couple of musicals, a play, sequels, prequels, a web-series, and a ballet. However, it is truly the novel’s amazing success that makes the titular character, Jane Eyre, an instantly recognizable figure. Charlotte Brontë originally published Jane Eyre: An Autobiography. The manuscript claimed that Currer Bell was the editor of the title character’s life story....   [tags: victorian era, manuscript, relationships]

Powerful Essays
1074 words (3.1 pages)

A New Kind of Woman in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte Essay

- ... One of the first instances in which she passes the line between what it is to be a traditional woman and a new woman is as a child when she stands up to Mrs. Reed for the first time. For a long period of time, Jane withstands Mrs. Reed’s absurd insults, but she has it with her when Mrs. Reed declares to the master of Lowood School, Mr. Brocklehurst, that she is a naughty girl and a liar. One of the things that separate Jane from every other woman is the integrity and dignity with which she carries herself....   [tags: transformation, norm of society]

Powerful Essays
1197 words (3.4 pages)

Papa Don't Preach Essay

- Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, tells the tale of a young orphan girl who is left under the jurisdiction of her dead uncle’s cruel wife and her family. Alone in the large estate and often subjugated to her aunt’s unjust punishments and her cousin’s fist, Jane becomes solitary and sensitive to the kindness of others. She awaits the liberation of adulthood to become self-sufficient and to find someone to love. Similarly, in The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Edna Pontellier grows up in a motherless household with her authoritative father and treacherous sisters....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Jane Eyre]

Powerful Essays
880 words (2.5 pages)

Great Expectations and Jane Eyre: Comparing and Contrasting Two Bildungsromans”

- “Great Expectations and Jane Eyre: Comparing and Contrasting Two Bildungsromans” Charles Dickens (the author of Great Expectations) and Charlotte Brontë (the author of Jane Eyre) both grew up during the early 1800s. Growing up during the same time period, each author incorporated elements of the Victorian Society into these novels. Both novels depict the protagonist’s search for the meaning of life and the nature of the world within the context of a defined social order. In essence, the two novels encompass the all-around self-development of the main characters, by employing similar techniques....   [tags: compare contrast]

Powerful Essays
2079 words (5.9 pages)

Orphans in Jane Eyre Essay

- Orphans in Jane Eyre Jane, one of the orphans in the novel Jane Eyre, is portrayed as the victim of charity. She is also seen in others' eyes as something less or lower than themselves. Orphans are seen by wealthy people as children who are in need of their charity, and also who lack in morals, ambition, and culture. Jane tells about how she has no family; her mother and her father had the typhus fever, and "both died within a month of each other" (58; ch. 3). As if this is not bad enough, she is also excluded from being a part of the Reed family:   Me, [Mrs....   [tags: Jane Eyre Essays]

Powerful Essays
1519 words (4.3 pages)

Jane Eyre Essay example

- “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will.” (Bronte, Jane Eyre). This quote expresses Charlotte’s beliefs on women’s equalities. Charlotte Bronte was born in 1816. She was one of six children and lived in Yorkshire County England. She first worked as a governess in the Sidewick family then in the White family for only nine months. Charlotte wanted more for herself, and none of her jobs satisfied her ambitions. When she moved back home, she discovered her sister, Emily’s, poetry and decided to publish a selection of the poems all three sisters wrote....   [tags: Jane Eyre Essays]

Powerful Essays
1313 words (3.8 pages)

Essay on Jane Eyre

- How can a girl, who started out with nothing, blossom into a well educated, generous, blissful woman. Well, in Jane Eyre, the main character overcomes all obstacles thrown at her and makes a great life for herself. From a miserable, orphaned young girl to a happily married, well educated woman, Jane Eyre transforms immensely throughout the novel. Through her many experiences in essential locations, she grows significantly at Gateshead, Lowood School, Thornfield, Marsh End, and Ferndean. The novel begins at Gateshead where Jane is a young, ten year old, orphaned child who is miserable and unwanted by her aunt and cousins....   [tags: Jane Eyre eSSAYS]

Powerful Essays
2408 words (6.9 pages)

Essay on Jane Eyre

- ane Eyre is a story filled with many forms of abuse and bad customs. In this essay I will bring you close to these. I will point out tyrants and abusers that Jane faces throughout her life. Jane Eyre Is also filled with hypocrisy and I will expose that. The suffering that Jane endures will be discussed. The book Jane Eyre starts out very powerful. Our first meeting of Jane is at Gateshead. Jane is an orphan who is being taken care of by Mrs. Reed her aunt by marriage. There is no love for Jane here; not only that the only thing here for Jane is abuse....   [tags: Free Jane Eyre Essays]

Free Essays
3036 words (8.7 pages)