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Physical & Emotional Abuse In Jane Eyre: How This Affected Jane’s Evolution Into A Dynamic Character

1608 words - 6 pages

Jane Eyre has been acclaimed as one of the best gothic novels in the Victorian Era. With Bronte’s ability to make the pages come alive with mystery, tension, excitement, and a variety of other emotions. Readers are left with rich insight into the life of a strong female lead, Jane, who is obedient, impatient, and passionate as a child, but because of the emotional and physical abuse she endures, becomes brave, patient, and forgiving as an adult. She is a complex character overall but it is only because of the emotional and physical abuse she went through as a child that allowed her to become a dynamic character.
The three events that mark Jane as an evolving dynamic character are when she is locked in the red room, self reflecting on her time at Gateshead, her friendship with Helen Burns at LoWood, her relationship with Mr. Rochester, and her last moments with a sick Mrs. Reed. Brought up as an orphan by her widowed aunt, Mrs. Reed, Jane is accustomed to her aunts vindictive comments and selfish tendencies. Left out of family gatherings, shoved and hit by her cousin, John Reed, and teased by her other cousins, Georgina and Eliza Reed, the reader almost cringes at the unfairness of it all. But even at the young age of ten, Jane knows the consequences of her actions if she were to speak out against any of them. At one point she wonders why she endures in silence for the pleasure of others. Why she is oppressed. "Always suffering, always browbeaten, always accused, forever condemned" (Bronte, 12). Jane’s life at Gateshead is not far from miserable. Not only is she bullied by her cousins and nagged by her aunt, but help from even Bessie, her nurse and sort of friend, seems out of her reach. In the red room scene Jane is drug by Ms. Abbot and Bessie, treated like a "mad cat". There is foreshadowing in this scene for the young Jane when Bessie says, " If you don't sit still you must be tied down" (Bronte, 9). Bessie warns Jane this, but there is an obvious deeper implication behind this line; that if Jane does not learn to calm down throughout the rest of her life, society will metaphorically “tie her down” (Fafari, 45).
Once Jane is out of the red room and in the care of Mr. Lloyd, the family apothecary, we truly see how Jane feels about it all. “I felt an inexpressible relief, a soothing conviction of protection and security when I knew there was a stranger in the room, an individual not belonging to Gateshead, not related to Mrs. Reed (Bronte, 15). But as soon as he, Mr. Lloyd leaves, Jane expresses great sadness, which weighs down on her ar the thought of having no help and being alone again (Bronte, 15). But even in her sadness, Jane tries to make an effort to forgive Mrs. Reed saying, “Yes, Mrs. Reed, to you I owe some fearful pangs of mental suffering. But I ought to forgive you, for you knew not what you did.” (Bronte, 16). In this scene Jane is quoting a line from the Bible, trying to lead by Jesus’s example, expressing her ability to forgive...

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