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    The Portrayal of Independence in Jane Eyre Essay

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    In the novel Jane Eyre, the author creates an image of the differences between men and women; she also portrays the way people behaved with women in the 19th century. Jane had to face many problems and tolerate many obstacles just because she was an orphan and was very poor. She had to live with her aunt who treated her like an animal. Jane was taken to be so inferior that even the servants treated her like her like rubbish. To maintain a high status in the 19th century you had to be rich and have at least one servant.

    If you were upper middle class or middle class then it would have been easier for you to get a job, you would also easily gain more respect, enjoy some diversity, and were able to exhibit more authority. However if you were form the lower class you would feel more alienated and would find it hard to live the life of a normal person. You would live life completely opposite to the way the poor lived life. Charlotte Bronte used many techniques such as pathetic fallacy to create sympathy for Jane. Charlotte Bronte uses pathetic fallacy many times throughout the book to show how Jane feels.

    Jane was treated and made to feel invisible ‘leafless shrubbery’ shows that the shrub is alive however it is leafless in the same way, Jane is alive however she is not living life like every other normal person. She is like a living corpse. Jane breathes however she has no one to love her therefore she is always feeling invisible. When the Reed’s have a family get together Jane is always excluded and is made to feel even lonelier. This makes the reader feel the pain with Jane and help us to sympathise with her. This also makes us realise the pain that Jane is going through as a child and the happiness the other children are experiencing.

    This shows that Jane does not live life like every other child. In the 19th century it was believed that children were very close to death. In 1830 almost half of the funerals in London were for children in the same way, Jane was a victim of this injustice. Moreover, Charlotte Bronte also uses pathetic fallacy again to show the immense torture Jane is tolerating; day after Jane is abused and thrown around ‘dreary November day’ shows that the environment around Jane is miserable and dead just like her. There is no life in the surroundings just like there are no feelings left inside Jane.

    She is very petrified of the whole world and she knows that there is no one in this world to hold her hand and stand by her. Jane does have a family however, she is ignored and despised this helps to create sympathy for Jane as we feel that she has no one to turn to in times of hardship making us want to empathise with Jane. Furthermore, in the 19th century it was believed that the poor were improvident and wasted money. This shows that the way Mrs. Reed treated Jane was ignored and Jane had no one in this world to call family.

    In addition to this, Jane is made to feel isolated and lonely just because she is an orphan. Jane is so miserable that even the weather around the weather around her is miserable ‘ice, the accumulation of rain’ the word ‘ice’ shows that the description of her surrounding are cold and sour just like her feelings. The weather reflects the way she defines her life. She believes that life is a struggle and there is no bright light at the end of it. Jane doesn’t know the meaning of happiness as she has never experienced it. There is no ray of sunshine and she knows that there never will be.

    There is no hope for her either, only bitter cold is the one feeling that has taken over her. The word ‘accumulation’ shows the build up of torture Jane is enduring. Jane doesn’t get tormented on odd occasions but, it is constant pain and torture. It also shows the pain that is gradually raising so much to destroy her internally and externally. The torture that Jane is going through creates sympathy and helps the reader to sympathise with Jane. The Victorians treated their children with excessive abuse that most of the children died by child abuse.

    This creates sympathy for Jane because the readers are aware of the fact that even Jane is a victim of this. In addition to this, Charlotte Bronte has used animal imagery to illustrate the agony that Jane is bearing ‘he pushed me and bullied me not two or three times in the week nor once… ‘ The word ‘not two or three’ shows that suddenly and gradually Bronte creates tension and sympathy for Jane by building up the tension and prolonging it. By extending the pain that Jane is going through helps us to empathise with her and realise the depth of Jane’s pain.

    The word ‘bullied’ show that Jane is treated like an animal and is thrown around just like a ball which has no feelings. Jane is very helpless as she is dependent on the Reeds to provide her with the daily necessities of life. By using sentence structure Bronte creates sympathy for Jane ‘every nerve I had feared him; every morsel of flesh in my blood… ‘ shows that steadily agony is created for Jane internally and externally. The word ‘every’ exaggerates the pain she is constantly in and it also shows that there is no end to this pain and overstates the fact that there is no end to this pain and that it is infinite.

    In the same way, Victorians had to work in factories with poor conditions for 6-8 hours treated like debris just like Jane is taken to be low-graded. Jane has no joys in life helping us to have sympathy for her. Charlotte Bronte uses first person to help the readers sympathise with Jane and helps the reader become fully aware of the pain Jane is in ‘I answered her, I dare say’ shows that Jane is never ending pain and this makes the reader aware of the fact that Jane is tortured and neglected. The letter ‘I’ personalises her feelings about the family and shows the relationship between Jane and them.

    The letter ‘I’ creates our first bond with Jane and helps us to feel sorry for her. Jane is neglected by the family and even the servants degrade her ‘she would break mine directly’ shows that the family treat Jane like so much of a servant that they don’t even call her by her name. Jane is taken to be an alien and doesn’t share any relationship with the family. They live in the same house but act like foreigners with each other. There is a huge distance between her and the family and everyday is like a living hell for Jane.

    In that house it is like a prison in fact it’s even worse than a prison for her. In the 19th century children were physically and mentally tortured by the parent or caretaker or were emotionally mistreated. Children were seen by everyone, but were not heard; they were neglected just like Jane. All of the Reeds saw the pain that they were giving to Jane yet no one decided to speak up therefore, Jane was made to suffer in silence this hardship that Jane is constantly in helps to create sympathy for her. Furthermore in Jane Eyre techniques such as symbolism are sued to create sympathy for Jane.

    Symbolism is used a lot throughout the book to show how much agony Jane is in ‘broken heart’ the word ‘broken’ suggests that Jane is damaged inside and is completely destroyed and this also shows that Jane has no hope of living a happy life and she is completely abandoned. As a small child Jane already knows that she has none to love her and she is aware of the fact that she is alone in this world and there is no body to hold her hand. Just because Jane is an orphan she is made to be inferior and holds no respect in anyone’s eyes.

    The Reed family know what Jane is going through and they are also aware of how much pain they are giving to Jane, however, they choose to ignore it. Day after day, Jane tolerates so much therefore she is completely broken inside and outwardly. The word ‘boat’ shows that Jane is floating in the sea meaning that she is alive but she has no destination just like a broken boat doesn’t have anywhere left to go. This shows that Jane is alive but she is dead in the inside. Moreover in the 19th century it was believe that the poor were improvident and they were to blame for all the problems in their life.

    This shows that even though Jane wasn’t to blame but because of the stereotypical vies in those times Jane was tortured. This helps create sympathy for Jane as it helps us to realise that Jane is innocent. In chapter 2 Bronte creates sympathy for Jane by using rhetorical questions ‘why could I never please? ‘ This shows that Jane is blaming herself for everything that has happened in her life and for everything that she has been through. The extreme of Jane’s pain has increased so much that Jane has started to feel like she is the one to blame and she also feels like she is the one who is the sinner when in fact it is the Reed’s family.

    Jane has put up with so much that now she feels like she deserves everything that is happening to her and had happened to her in the past. The Reed family and the entire world have poisoned her mind so much that she now believes that she should get punished for a crime that she is not even the criminal of. Jane is a very humble person however because of the affliction that Jane has been through she is completely ruined. In the same way, in 19th century, the attitudes that the society had for the poor was that they were at fault and you just had to ignore them this is the reason why Jane felt so lonely.

    Everybody decided to ignore her and Jane was made to feel secluded like every time. This helps to create sympathy for Jane as we are aware of the fact that she is treated like an abandoned animal that no one wishes to help and provide care and love to. Similarly, sympathy is created by using lots of techniques such as emphasis to create sympathy for Jane ‘Frightful Nightmares’ shows that nightmares are ghastly but the extreme of the Nightmares Jane has experienced are so bad that no one can imagine the harshness of them.

    This shows that Jane is filled with sorrows and shows that no matter what happens she will always be like a smashed up piece of glass that regardless of how hard you try to assemble it you will always be able to see the cracks in the glass correspondingly Jane is exactly like this despite how much anyone tries to console Jane you will always be able to see the sorrow inside he which is building up gradually, unknowingly, destroying her. Also emphasis is also used to show how substandard Jane is always made to be ‘Inferior class I was called’ this shows that regardless of where Jane is, she is always degraded and is put at the bottom.

    This shows that Jane holds no importance for anyone and things have risen beyond the limit leading her to believe that she holds no respect for herself in her own eyes and she feels that she is to blame for every mishap in her life. In addition to this, it was also believed that the richer class had to be tall and it was also said that God made it like this so it would be easy to differentiate between the classes. This shows that Jane has no one left; not even God. God is even made to be a stranger; the one person who Jane thought she could be herself with and shares everything with is even taken away from her.

    She is like a creature that has nowhere to travel to go. This creates sympathy for Jane as we believe that she is alone and we want to support her. In chapter 3 we can see that Jane’s pain is so contagious that it has taken over her and has completely destroyed her ‘one salt drop from my cheek then another followed’ shows that Jane is in constant pain and there is no cure for this pain. This also shows that Jane is in infinite pain and there is no hope for it to ever end. The emphasis of ‘one salt drop after another’ shows constant pain and to prolong it makes us want to sympathise with her.

    This tells us that Jane is a shattered person and her life is meaningless. In the same way ‘All John Reed’s tyrannies, All his proud indifferences, All his mothers diversion’ shows how much hatred Jane has for the Reed’s this also shows that they are family however they treat each other like foe. Moreover repetition of the word ‘All’ symbolises the fact that the entire world is after her and she is like a prey to all the predators out there hunting for her and she has nowhere to hide. The word ‘All’ also shows that there is no one to give her protection and she is isolated.

    Moreover this shows that Jane is like an endangered animal that is at risk of getting hunted and soon maybe destroyed because of the environment around her. Jane is made to feel dissimilar just because she is an orphan and is poor ‘she is like a mad cat’ show that the family don’t talk directly to Jane and they take her to be like an animal. She is treated brutally however everyone witnesses this yet they choose not to do anything about it. Everyone turns a blind eye to the truth and once again the innocent and poor Jane has to suffer in silence.

    This is constant pain even as a small child Jane knew what was happening to her, she knew that she was abused however she was afraid to speak up. She is shown no humanity and is given the image of an animal not just by the family but by everyone who comes across Jane. The Victorians believed that the poor were treated like dirt and the poor were not allowed to engage in any relationship with the rich this shows the differences between the people in the 19th century and also shows that Jane was a victim of this inequality.

    In chapter 1 symbolism is used to help create sympathy for Jane ‘red moreen curtains’ show the isolation and loneliness Jane is made to feel which shows the extent of Jane’s pain. There is a limit to abuse and Jane has experienced many things on her life which have exceeded this limit. It alkso shows that there is a barrier between her and the family and also the outside world. Jane is completely turned away from the outside world and she does not know what the outside world even looks like. Also she does not know what it is like to be free as she is like an imprisoned bird that has always been kept in a cage.

    Jane has nowhere in the world whwere she can be at peace besides the ‘red room’ this is the only hiding place jane has and it is the only place she can call home. This symbolises passion and the feelings of peace and contentment for the first time. Jane is put into the red room to be punished however, as Jane is afraid of crowds, she prefers to stay there than anywhere else in the world. She is fervent about reading however all the Reed’s wish for is getting rid of Jane and distancing her away from themselves as far as possible. The red room is a barrier between Jane and the family.

    Likewise, in the 19th century women were meant to be beautiful to be given the status of a woman this shows that Jane had none of these things and was therefore taken to be inferior. This creates sympathy for Jane as we know what the truth is and it makes us want to speak out for Jane and sympathise with her. Moreover, symbolism is used to create sympathy for Jane ‘And a half moon setting’ shows that a new beginning for Jane and a new life. Finally Jane is able to feel some of the joys of life and is gradually starting to endure life. Jane is living life like every other ordinary person.

    Jane never knew that she would ever enjoy life but now that she is experiencing this joy it is beyond words ‘Even for me life had its gleams of sunshine’ shows that Jane degrades herself and holds a minute status for herself. This also shows that behind all the happiness that Jane feels she knows that deep down there is going to be an end to this contentment at least one day. However ‘gleams of sunshine’ shows an indication of hope and guidance for Jane. Now that Jane is going to school there have been new doors opened for her. However under all this joy we don’t know what surprises life has wrapped for her.

    Similarly in the 19th century the law sent an order to eradicate child abuse this is the time when everything began to improve for the children in them times. Therefore, Jane’s life is starting to improve and Jane has started to enjoy life. Even the happiness in Jane’s life creates sympathy because we feel happy for her and we begin to believe that Jane deserves the joy that she is getting. Coming to a conclusion, I believe that in the book Jane Eyre, from the chapters 1-5 Jane is a very strong person and she is a fighter. Jane has had to tolerate many problems all throughout her life and she has faced every problem successfully.

    The amount of trouble that Jane had to go through perhaps no one would have been able to endure the way she did. Jane has shown a lot of courage all throughout her life and has faced all the obstacles that came in her path with tolerance and patience. Jane was never loved by anyone and even the most merciful person, God, was put against her. However she believed in herself and rose above the problems. Finally, I believe that the novel Jane Eyre is a very inspirational book and the character of Jane was very powerful moreover, it is an example to me, to become strong and face every challenge with endurance.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    The Portrayal of Independence in Jane Eyre Essay. (2017, Oct 15). Retrieved from

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