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The Portrayal Of Childhood In Jane Eyre

3499 words - 14 pages

The Portrayal of Childhood in Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre is a novel written in the first person about her life. It
follows her life from the eyes of an un-moulded child, to a moulded
young woman.

Charlotte Brontë was the author of the book and a lot of the book
reflected aspects of her life, this added a more personal and
atmospheric feel to the book. I think the genre of the book can be
classed by a mixture of two: the gothic novel and the romantic novel.
I think this, because the gothic novel includes many themes such as
the mysterious and horrific or unexplained. This genre can definitely
describe the mysterious happenings at Thornfield, which were to do
with Bertha Mason (Mr. Rochester's secret wife). The romantic novel,
expresses the passion that Jane holds within herself. There are
different streams of romance as such, running throughout the novel and
the love that Jane either receives or urges for. For example: there is
true romance encountered with Mr. Rochester, in contrast to the 'fake'
love suggested to her by St. John. Her passion or desire to be loved,
can be seen whilst she is living at Gateshead, in contrast to the
feelings of passion that she feels when she meets Helen Burns, or the
Rivers family.

The book shows a lot of independence and power that Jane has, and with
this independence she tries to make something of herself, and break
the social hierarchy. Parallel to this is Charlotte Brontë's own life,
because of two main things. Firstly, she wrote the book about Jane and
her independence and will power, which in the 1800's were not the
types of books people wrote about. In that day, the focus of books
were more about the 'middle class' people, and their luxurious lives.
Due to this, Charlotte broke a significant trend of book. The second
main factor is that Charlotte, also had her own will power, and whilst
writing about Jane becoming independent, she in fact was trying to
publish the book under a fake name of 'Currer Bell'. This is a quote
Charlotte once made: "I will show you a heroine as plain and as small
as myself."

Jane Eyre's life seems somewhat familiar to Charlotte Brontë's own.
This is because Charlotte based a lot of the novel upon her own
personal experiences. Charlotte studied at a school called Roe head
and also taught there, and soon after went to be a governess at
Stonegappe house. She also married a Reverend, which links in with
Jane being proposed by one. I also think that Charlotte includes some
emotional attachments or bonds with people due to significant people
that passed away during her life.

Due to all of these 'links' between Charlotte and Jane, I think she
may have been trying to portray a message in an autobiographical way.

By analysing the first 10 chapters, I think that the main themes
running throughout her childhood...

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