The Analysis of Jane Eyre
Charlotte Bronte begins her novel Jane Eyre with Jane’s childhood. Jane is a young girl, and she’s being mistreated by her dead uncle’s family. The starting of a novel is always difficult. The introductory paragraph is a writer’s first and only chance to get the readers hooked. Bronte methodically chooses to open her book with a piece of Jane’s childhood. In the first couple of chapters, the author has to finish off with the main setting, the backstory, and familiarize the audience with some of the characters. The authors can do it in numerous ways. They can simply dump all the information in a couple of paragraphs and be done with it; or they can do what Bronte did. Instead of spoon feeding all the information to the readers, she shows it to them through her character’s actions and dialogues. For instance, in the beginning, she could simply have stated that Jane felt isolated and an outcast in the Reeds family. However she showed it to us by opening to a scene where Jane is sitting near a window, “cross-legged like a Turk, and having drawn the red moreen curtain nearly close...shrined in double retirement” (Bronte 7). The author did not outright tell the reader that Jane was a loner. Her being situated on a window having drawn a curtain around her, like a shield, blocking her view of the environment she was in; it was an indicator enough of her lonely circumstances. Additionally, we learn even more about her miserable condition when Bronte introduces John Reed, Jane’s cousin. He calls her an animal and even hits her. Again, Bronte could have been straightforward and could’ve told us that Jane was an orphan and her aunt and cousins treated her poorly. But we see this for ourselves when John Reed’s abusive behavior gets Jane in trouble just because she tried to defend herself. From the starting of the novel, Bronte cleverly gives us bits and pieces from which we, the readers can make conclusion by ourselves without the author having to spell everything out for us. This is what makes the novel entertaining, despite its length; the author lets the reader think for themselves, and presenting the story in such a manner, that it leaves us wanting for more. Her way of introducing the story and setting up the characters, is not only unique but effective as well.
Not only is Bronte’s writing style remarkable, but so are her characters. Throughout the novel, every scene was able to reflect the characteristics of the protagonist. For example, the point in the story where Jane first meets Mr. Brocklehurst and after hearing her aunt lie to him, she confronts her aunt with words full of venom: “I am glad you are no relation of mine: I will never call you aunt again...I will say the very thought of you makes me sick” (Bronte 38). It’s clear that Jane is brutally honest to the point where it hinders her. Due to Bronte’s crafty writing skill, we not only learn about characters from the character themselves, but other character’s reactions too. In this case, when Jane stood up to her aunt; her aunt responded “rather in a tone in which a person might address an opponent of an adult age than such as is ordinarily used to a child” (Bronte 38). Bronte is giving us a reason as to why the character that she has presented us with is worth reading about. Jane is definitely not a sweet little darling that puts everyone else’s needs in front of hers. She’s heavily flawed and that is what makes the character lovable. Bronte knows that her readers want a character that is relatable, but not tedious. Jane is exactly that. She’s faulty and she does things that go against the norms. She talks back to her elders and makes them feel insignificant and frightened (as was the case with Mrs. Reeds). She’s unloved, an orphan, and physically unattractive. Bronte has created a character that is dejected and filled with melancholy. This is what readers want and Bronte is well aware of it. Readers want a character that is shrouded in misery, who then rises to the top, pushing forward and through obstacles. As a matter of fact, had Jane been a good looking amenable girl, it would have been hard for the readers to connect to her or sympathize with her . Perhaps one of the reasons that made this novel memorable was due to how beautifully and gracefully Jane’s character developed from the starting to the end; from being a young bitter unwanted child to an independent young woman who learned to forget and forgive.
The stark difference between the two suitors of Jane Eyre is hard to ignore. Here you have Mr. Rochester who’s mysterious, dark, passionate, and then there’s St. John with his cold demeanor and too straightforward cruel attitude. It’s hard to believe that the differences between the two characters was just a coincident. It seems that Bronte deliberately placed these men in Jane’s life. During the whole book, Jane’s end goal was to find love. But she had always been surrounded with people who made her believe that being loved comes at a price. When she was with her aunt she was made to believe that she would be only accepted if she was pleasant enough. When she went to the academy, she believed that you would be appreciated if you work hard. However it was Mr.Rochester who finally helped her realize that love could be unconditional. But then came St. John who tried to convince her that her goal wasn’t important. That it was God that she needed, not love. But her desire for love was too strong. It may seem sinful of her to choose her aspirations over religion. But her choice became the turning point in her life. This decision helped her find herself, her true identity. Furthermore, the presence of St. John helped develop her character. He helped her recognize her ambition. By choosing Mr. Rochester, she gained victory over the lies she had been taught her whole life: that one needs to be a servant to gain affection. It can be concluded that having two suitors in her life who had conflicting personalities was like a battle for her; where she either had to choose what she wished to be, or what other people wished her to be. She chose herself.
Cinderella was made in 1950. This novel was created in 1847. One would like to believe that there is some type of relationship between the disney movie and this book. Perhaps there really is no connection but the uncanny resemblance between the two can’t be disregarded. Cinderella was an orphan and so is Jane Eyre. Cinderella and Jane both were mistreated. Both girls got away from their evil relations to be with someone that wanted them. But that is where the similarity ends. Where Cinderella had been waiting for an opportunity, Jane paved her own path. Where Cinderella wanted her freedom to be served on a silver platter, Jane viciously fought for her independence. Whereas Prince Charming got wooed by Cinderella’s beauty, Edward Rochester fell in love with Jane’s intellectual equivalence. It would be interesting to see Bronte’s reaction to this comparison. Would she agree? Would she be offended? If you really think about it, comparing Jane to Cinderella may even seem like an insult to Jane. Cinderella was obedient who let others take advantage of her kindness. What use is that type of hospitality where anyone can make a fool out of you to get what they want?. Mr.Rochester and Jane were in selfless love, whereas Prince and Cinderella needed something from their relationship. Cinderella wanted freedom and marrying a rich man seemed to do the trick. Prince Charming wanted a beautiful wife. Comparing the two stories is unfair to Bronte’s characters.
Overall, Bronte’s characters definitely deserved the hundreds of pages. After starting to read the novel, the length no longer becomes an issue; readers are too busy wanting to know what’s going to happen next. Bronte fills her book with delightful secrets and dark, twisted mysteries in every nook and cranny of her story. The readers get so caught up by the events that it becomes hard to distinguish reality from fiction. They get so tangled in imaginary Jane’s world, that they feel themselves in Jane’s shoes. That’s the beauty of Charlotte Bronte’s writing.
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