How does Charlotte Bronte create sympathy for jane in the first 2 chapers
- Pages: 4
- Word count: 875
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We are transported back to 1842; a customary cold and dreary day is the setting of the month of November. A young child of the female gender sits alone. Made redundant from the daily family meeting and is left to fend for herself. This is merely the beginning of a great novel that has been transformed into countless sequels, prequels, silent and sound film adaptations, musicals and television series. Though it was made 166 years ago and for it to still have all this publicity and media hype means it really is one of the best pieces of English literature that will always remain on the top of the leader board.
In a time where women were supposed to behave in a certain manner that if opposed to would make you stick out like sore thumb, and when children were to be seen and not heard, it is Jane who challenges these and makes a stand, but up to a certain extent. The use of ‘I’ at the beginning of the novel instantly makes us enter into the workings of Jane’s mind, which helps the reader understand what Jane is feeling: ‘I was glad of it.
Us being allowed to enter Jane’s mind, gives us a deeper insight into her thinking patterns which are quite rich as they allow us to make vivid images in our minds and are definitely very mature ‘The words in these introductory pages connected themselves with the succeeding vignettes, and gave significance to the rock standing up alone in a sea of billow and spray… ‘ compared to an average ten year old. Jane in the first two chapters takes up the role of the narrator looking down upon her youth and guiding the reader through all the ups and downs of her life.
Most of these aspects are of quite a negative nature, already beginning to create sympathy for this young, helpless adolescent. Charlotte Bronte uses pathetic fallacy to reflect Jane’s mood. Jane is being kept away from Mrs. Reed- her aunt and her cousins so she goes to sit on the windowsill. Charlotte Bronte describes the weather outside as ‘storm-beaten’ and ‘cold’. These words create a depressing setting and with a knock -on effect, also affects Jane’s moods and makes them depressing.
Pathetic fallacy in this scenario proves to be a good device used by Bronte as it evokes a feeling of sympathy for Jane. Jane has been an orphan since early childhood and has no experience of what true, loving parents feels like. In her place of stay, Gateshead, she is neglected and is recurrently tyrannized by Mrs. Reed and John Reed. Quite a lot of the pain that Jane suffers is down to these two. She is physically hurt and terrorised by John Reed ‘He ran headlong at me; I felt him grasp my hair and my shoulder…
I really saw in him a tyrant: a murderer. ‘ and the neglect and unjustified punishments were due to Mrs. Reed, ‘Take her away to the Red -Room, and lock her in there’ This happening to her makes her afraid that she’ll never find a true sense of home or community. The scenes about the Red-Room are quite a powerful part of this story as quite a lot about Jane is learned from here. It allows us to discover her true inner feelings and emotions and it is in this room that we learn about Jane’s position of exile and imprisonment.
She spends quite a lot of time reflecting upon herself and harshly describes what her status was amongst the other children ‘I was a discord… I was like nobody there: I had nothing in harmony with Mrs Reed or her children… ‘ On top of this she actually gets to the point where she even has suicidal thoughts, ‘… and letting myself die. ‘ For this to be occurring in a child still at quite very young age is quite deplorable. It is in the Red-Room when Jane reflects upon her status amongst the other children, that we can depict that Jane is a bit of a juvenile pariah.
When she makes a comparison of all the children with their bad characteristics against their good ones we learn it is this that separates her from the rest. For example if we take Georgiana’s description: ‘Georgiana, who had a spoiled temper, a very acrid spite, a captious and insolent carriage was universally indulged. Her beauty… seemed to give delight to all who looked at her, and to purchase indemnity for every fault. ‘ As we can see her good characteristics outweigh her bad, making her an acceptable member of this elite club in which certain features and qualities for a young Victorian girl is the initiation test.
Whereas when we look at Jane who has none of the above assets or the ones the other children have (respect which Eliza has, and she can’t compete with John as he is a boy and that is enough for him) she is regarded as waste of space. Though she is very intellectual, and further on in the novel we pick up she is a good artist, her attributes are not recognised. therefore not appreciated. This is another example of how Bronte has made us to sympathise with Jane.