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Jane Eyre

Autor:   •  October 31, 2018  •  4,915 Words (20 Pages)  •  120 Views

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Analysis 4

Mr. Brocklehurst enters the book in this chapter, ushering in the change that will alter Jane's life. On first seeing this grim man, Jane describes him as "a black pillar! — such, at least, appeared to me, at first sight, the straight, narrow, sable-clad shape standing erect on the rug; the grim face at the top was like a carved mask." A clergyman, Brocklehurst symbolizes Jane's aversion to some of the versions of organized religion. A straight, black, narrow, erect pillar, this man is hard and inflexible in his beliefs, certainly not attributes admired by the adventurous Jane. The "carved mask" of his face suggests his inhumanity, as does Jane's later reference to him as the "stony stranger." Unlike Jane who is associated with fire and energy, this man is cold and aloof as stone, someone with no passion and even less compassion. When Brocklehurst plants her straight in front of him, Jane exclaims, "what a great nose! And what a mouth! And what large, prominent teeth! Brocklehurst has been transformed into the big bad wolf of fairy-tale fame, waiting to devour the innocent Little Red Riding Hood. From his first introduction into the story, one realizes that this spiritual man will offer Jane little comfort and no salvation. Besides signaling Jane's lack of interest in the self-righteous religion Brocklehurst professes, their interaction also reminds readers of Jane's general lack of respect for tyrannous authority figures. Her inability to quietly accept unfair treatment becomes pronounced in her interaction with Mrs. Reed. When her aunt tells Brocklehurst that Jane's worst trait is her "deceitful nature," Jane immediately recognizes her lack of power: How cans a poor child defend herself from unfair accusations? When Brocklehurst leaves, Jane is filled with a "passion of resentment," contrasting clearly with Mrs. Reed's "eye of ice" that dwells "freezingly" on Jane. Indeed, Mrs. Reed's iciness incites Jane's passions, causing her entire body to shake, "thrilled with ungovernable excitement" and her mind has become a "ridge of lighted heath, alive, glancing, and devouring." Following an outburst against her aunt, Jane feels a sensation of freedom and triumph. In fact, she declares herself the "winner of the field" and revels in her "conqueror's solitude." Has she simply stepped into her cousin John's role, becoming for a moment the "Roman emperor" she had earlier critiqued him for being? Struck by the fate of Jane's enemies, many critics have viewed this novel as Jane's revenge fantasy. As the story progresses, notice what happens to Jane's attackers; all seem to meet with misfortune and unhappiness. Jane's fiery, passionate nature transforms as the novel progresses, and she learns to balance passion and reason. In this scene, Jane's passion quickly drains away, and she's left with its aftertaste, "metallic and corroding," showing her that excessive emotions will not lead to happiness. Yet releasing her inner fire has a positive result: Because of it she befriends Bessie at the end of the chapter. This conversation reveals Bessie's sympathy — even affection — for Jane.

Analysis 5

Jane is making progress in her journey of self-knowledge, and has now progressed from Gateshead (note the significance of the name, as the starting point of Jane's quest) to Lowood. Its name alerts the reader that the school will be a "low" place for Jane, and, thus, it appears on her first day. Modeled after the Clergy Daughters School at Cowan Bridge where Charlotte Brontë and her sisters Maria, Elizabeth, and Emily were sent, Lowood is not appealing. The school day begins before dawn, the students are offered eat meager rations of burnt and unappetizing food, and the grounds surrounding the school are blighted and decayed. The chapter shows the harsh realities of charity-school life in Victorian times. Besides acquainting us with the rigors of Lowood, the chapter also introduces us to two women who will have significant impact on Jane's development: Miss Temple and Helen Burns. Miss Temple's name signifies Jane's worshipful feeling for Lowood's superintendent, as does her appearance: she is tall, fair, and shapely, with a "benignant light" in her eyes and a "stately" posture. Notice how Miss Temple's appearance contrasts with the stony, dark, rigid exterior of her employer, Mr. Brocklehurst. Supplying the compassion he lacks, Miss Temple orders a decent lunch for her students to compensate for their burnt breakfast. Another hero in Jane's story, Helen Burns, is introduced in this chapter. What does Helen Burns' name signify? She is burning with a passion for heaven, and her fate is to die of a fever. Burns is based on Charlotte Brontë's oldest sister, Maria, who died when she was twelve years old after contracting consumption at the Clergy Daughters School. Brontë's second-oldest sister, Elizabeth, also died from this disease, caught at the unsanitary and damp school. Both Charlotte and Emily were withdrawn from the school before the following winter for the sake of their health. Like Helen Burns, Maria was known for the precocity of her thinking; Mr. Brontë said that "he could converse with her [Maria] on any of the leading topics of the day with as much freedom and pleasures as with any grown-up person." When Jane first notices Helen, her friend is reading Samuel Johnson's didactic to me, Rasselas, an essay arguing that happiness is often unobtainable. Although she enjoys reading, Jane isn't interested in Helen's book because it doesn't contain any fairies or genii. Like Jane, Helen is a poor, lonely child, but her method of dealing with her problems contrasts with Jane's, as is apparent in the interaction with Miss Scatcherd. After being unfairly disciplined by Miss Scatcherd, Helen neither cries nor looks humiliated; instead, she accepts her situation with composure and grace. Wondering how Helen can accept this treatment so quietly and firmly, Jane notices that Helen seems to be "thinking of something beyond her punishment," and her sight seems to have "gone down into her heart," emphasizing Helen's focus on spiritual rather than material matters. Jane is fascinated with Helen's self-possession, which signals a depth of character that is new to her. At this point in the story, Jane doesn't know how to judge Helen: Is she good or bad? Jane's goals in this first section of the book are to learn to recognize character and to find a role model.

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