An Analysis of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre
Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre is presented in the Victorian Period of England. It is a novel which tells the story of a child's maturation into adulthood. Jane's developing personality has been shaped by her rough childhood. She has been influenced by many people and experiences. As a woman of her time, Jane has had to deal with the strain of physical appearance. This has a great effect on her mental thinking and decision making. Jane Eyre's cognitive and physical attributes have been affected by her environment throughout her life.
Jane Eyre was born an orphan and raised under the hands of a heartless Aunt. Aunt Reed stressed to Jane that she was privileged to live so well without any parents. At a young age, she has to discover the hardships of life. Jane's cousin, John Reed, emphasizes to her "you are a dependent, you have no money, your father left you none, and you ought to beg" (17). With this in mind, Jane Eyre must continue through her early years in life depending on no one but herself.
Jane is a wicked child according to Mrs. Reed and Mr. Brocklehurst, the master of a boarding school. She is admitted into Lowood School for orphans; under the orders of her master, she must stand on a stool for a day to release her sin. Jane's isolation and strict punishment is a result of her rebellious attitude toward adults. Helen Burns is Jane's companion who she can relate to and rely on during her hard times. When Helen becomes sick, Jane becomes angry and is determined to leave Lowood as soon as she can. Jane's eight years at Lowood resemble life in a prison. Mr. Brocklehurst's goal is to "not to accustom them to the habits of luxury and indulgence, but to render them hardy, patient, self-denying" (74). She is restricted from becoming passionate and independent.
When Jane becomes an adult, she sets out to leave Lowood and begin her life as a governess at the Thornfield mansion. Edward Rochester's daughter, Adele, is a constant reminder of his ex-wife's affair. Mr. Rochester finds pleasure in parties and traveling. He has obtained his fortune through his deceased father. Gentlemen inherit money and land and are born into the upper class. This is Jane's beginning of a new life on her own.
Jane's growth throughout the novel will reflect back to her childhood. B.F. Skinner, the psychologist, explains that "a person's history of environmental interactions controls his of her behavior." A person's behavior is followed by a consequence. The nature of the consequence modifies the person's tendency to change or repeat the actions in the future (Stanford Encyclopedia). Jane is nurtured by the people around her and the problems she encounters. Jane has lived a secluded life: isolated from family, isolated from luxury, and isolated from love. When Jane enters a new world of unexpected scenarios, she does not yet know how to react.
As a governess, Jane is shown the life of the luxurious....