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A New Way To Build Character

1140 words - 5 pages

There is much debate concerning how one’s character is developed: some believe that suffering is the only way to strengthen a spirit, others believe that good fortune nurtures one’s nature. However, a person’s character is determined by numerous external factors; to determine what creates character, one must know what character is. Character is defined as the complex of mental and ethical traits marking a person. Therefore, character must consist of a person's given traits (traits he or she was born with) and his or her experiences. In Charlotte Bronte’s novel, Jane Eyre, the establishment of Jane’s cast is chronicled throughout the novel. Jane Eyre depicts Jane’s life, from childhood to ...view middle of the document...

Jane’s entire time at Gateshead was a vicious cycle of fear and misery, a cycle that broke down any sense of self-worth Jane could ever have had. To make matters worse, almost every member of Gateshead openly expressed their dislike of Jane, such as when “Mrs. Reed, impatient of … [Jane’s]… frantic anguish and wild sobs, abruptly thrust… [Jane]… back and locked… [her]… in without… [further]… parley” (14). Jane was begging for Mrs. Reed’s mercy, yet Mrs. Reed would not show any such kindness to a little girl. Mrs. Reed’s actions show how much she despised Jane, which could not have helped strengthen Jane’s character. After all, it would be extremely difficult for Jane to appreciate herself if she clearly sees nobody around her appreciates her.
Jane’s time at Lowood proved more beneficial than her time at Gateshaed in terms of improving her character. Although Jane was trodden on at first, she eventually got back up and soared to new heights. In Jane’s first few months at Lowwod, Mr. Brocklehurst told everybody that Jane was “ a little cast-away” (70) and that everybody must be on his or her “guard against her” (71). At first sight, Mr. Brocklehurst’s claims appeared to ruin any chance Jane ever had of being happy, and that was how the situation appeared to Jane. In fact, immediately after Mr. Brocklehurst’s speech, Jane fell back into the slump of misery she was in when she was at Gateshead. However, there is a benevolent soul to lift Jane up, and her name is Miss Temple. Miss Temple is the superintendent of Lowood school, and she asked Jane to “defend … [herself] as well as she” (77) could, and then she told Jane that she would be “publicly cleared from every imputation” (77). Miss Temple reassured Jane that she was innocent, and that news was enough to make Jane happy again. Due to Miss Temple’s kindness, Jane finally started acting in her true personality, the personality that was stifled while she was at Gateshead. Jane became very amiable and industrious, but most importantly, Jane felt a sense of belonging, since Miss Temple’s “friendship and society had been … [her]… continual solace” (92). The sense of belonging, along with encouragement, boosted Jane’s confidence in herself. No longer did she cower in the corner or shy away into the...

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