The Character of Jane Eyre
What we learn of the central character is considerable. Throughout the novel her dealings with those around her reveal her characteristics. As a child at Gateshead Hall we see that she is impulsive, often alarmingly so, but that she also can be sullen and withdrawn. Thse around her do not find her an easy child - she gives very little of herself away, especially to the Reed family, although there is a slight intimacy with the servant, Bessie. She is intelligent and precocious, preferring the make believe world of books to the harsh and often unsympathetic world of reality. She is also perceptive; knowing that the Reeds dislike her, yet not being quite sure why it should be so.She feels her social position as an outcast very keenly; ironically being unable, because of her breeding to form an attachment with Bessie. She is occasionally very angry, as when she lashes out at John Reed, and when she rounds on Mrs Reed after the Red Room incident. She is also afraid and insecure, but tries very hard not to let anyone see this side of her character. it is only at times of great stress that she gives way to fear (Red Room), but note that usually she has, even at the early age of ten, great self-control for most of the time.
A different side of her character is revealed at Lowood school, when we see the tender and trusting nature in her dealings with Miss Temple and with Helen Burns. It is obvious that she has a great desire to be shown love, and when this is given, she is perfectly happy to return it in kind. There is still, however, anger and resentment, especially on behalf of injustice. She cannot take Helen's advice to submit to chastisement and to be submissive and patient, to heart, even though she admits that helen is probably right and she(Jane) wrong, when they speak about forgiveness of those who torment others.
She has determination and self control, though, when it comes to making her way in the limited world she inhabits. Once settled into Lowood school, she works hard and acquires a reasonable education, becoming a teacher herself. We know also that she can and does take responsibility for her own destiny, making her own decision to advertise for a position, and leave Lowood when Miss T marries.
Thornfield Hall gives her new opportunities and we see that she is capable of making relationships with Adele and Mrs fairfax which are cordial and rewarding. She is sincere in her desire to do the best she can with Adele, although shrewd in her assessment of Adele’s intellect....