Keywords: childhood in jane eyre, jane eyre bronte, jane eyre analysis
Jane Eyre's childhood is a reflection of the Victorian era, children were to come across as innocent, virtuous and ignorant of intellectual opinion. However Jane's early years lacked normal experiences primarily love necessary when growing up, resulting in a solitary and suffering child. Charlotte BrontÑ' targets the feelings of hurt during Jane's childhood in the first 10 chapters as she ventures from Gateshead and in to the unknown fighting for a better future.
From the beginning the audience has an insight to the emotions of the protagonist in the elements 'the cold winter wind had brought with it clouds sombre and a rain so penetrating that further outdoor exercise was now from the question'. This use of pathetic fallacy reflects her thoughts creating a feeling of rest from the results of escaping the burden of her cousins. Her gratitude of the bad weather illustrates revulsion towards her cousins and the relationship they may have. Nature imitates Jane's life as a soulless black hole empty and miserable, 'ceaseless rain', like the cold and unwelcoming Reed family she must live with.
In conjunction Ms Reed and Jane quarrel, pathetic fallacy impacts on the problem 'wind howling in the grove' shows her fear of the Red Room and the prospects to come. This effect is a subtle hint for future years providing the reader with a vague forecast of the thoughts unknown to Jane and all of those other characters in the novel. During her time at Gateshead her position as a prisoner becomes more pronounced 'silver-white foliage veiling the panes as left room to look out' enclosed and trapped in her suffering instead of being a respected and loved relation.
From an early age Jane has acknowledged her 'physical inferiority to Eliza, John, and Georgiana Reed' encouraged by Mrs Reed who resents her presence. The different classes are apparent by the several qualities they hold such as power, authority and wealth classing Jane at the bottom of the machine. Along with this the Reed family exclude her of their daily lives, 'clustered round their mama' illustrates their close and loving relationship as a family group. In addition they are gathered around the fireside symbolising warmth and love among them although looks can be deceptive, 'looked properly happy' is the way the Reeds want to be perceived from afar. But in reality Mrs. Reed is a rich, pretentious and condescending woman, and her children are spoiled, cruel and rude. Bronte emphasizes Jane's loneliness and insufficient familial affection as a child helping the reader to understand how Jane progresses through her early years bounding on from strength to strength.
Jane seeks happiness in books that are beyond her understanding yet the pictures capture her in a fairytale far from reality. That is a form of escapism for Jane 'protecting, but not separating me' from the misery that is her life. Although she actually is engaged in another world it doesn't make her oblivious from what is going on in reality proving she has an inquisitive and curious nature later supported by other situations. The only form of happiness she has encountered has been books, and she 'feared only interruption' showing the simplicity of her happiness. She is dependent on the heartless Reed family but never on the same level with her relatives. Jane detests being together with her cousins, 'I trembled at the idea of being dragged forth' but John soon reminds her that 'you haven't any business to consider our books, you are a dependent' another class citizen again reinforcing the status superiority he has. John takes advantage of his position in the hierarchy system to mentally reinforce to Jane, that she actually is indebted to them therefore has no to intervene with their property. Throughout Charlotte Bronte emphasizes Jane's sensitive nature and inner strength but she also displays courage and a sense of justice in her defense against John, 'Wicked and cruel boy!', 'You are like a murderer- you are just like a slave- driver- you are like the Roman emperors!'. She rebels against him for the first time and attacks him, giving the reader more insight to her thinking and her understanding of the Roman emperors excels what a typical 10 year old would know. Her defiant nature and apparent strong-willed determination expresses her true opinions and feelings but by the finish there is no person to support her therefore John blames Jane for the fight, reflecting the isolation and loneliness of Jane's life.
Mrs Reed becomes oblivious to John's violent nature, to the contrary she encourages her children to take care of Jane as an outsider and takes every opportunity to neglect and punish her '
Jane moves to Lowood she hopes her previous problems with equality and justice are alleviated although
Irony is a prominent feature during the start of spring at Lowood, whilst 'greenness grew' and 'sweeter flowers opening' Jane was realizing hope for her future, although reference to death 'skeletons' give the reader a clue of the near future. This subtle change of direction can be an unexpected turning for the worst as Jane is starting to feel freedom for the first time, 'snows were melted' relate to her escape of imprisonment from being 'stiffened in frost' to the less regimental life she now leads. Because of this Jane has begun to realise there is life outside Lowood that includes 'pleasure' and 'enjoyment'. The strong emotional language she uses show her happiness with such simplicity and enliven her of 'prospects' to come.
The start of spring means new lease of life and a glimmer of expect Jane conveyed through the use of pathetic fallacy 'golden-eyed pansies' as 'greenness grew' presenting a good and fresh outcome on her behalf, a clear contrast with her previous years at Lowood where she was 'shrouded with snow' imprisoned by the strict rules and regulations enforced after her. This effect can also account for her future, nature is at its epitome and Jane will soon escape from a terminating illness transmitted around Lowood. This devastation will end many of the student's lives but the long-term benefits provides Jane using what she's always wanted consequently of overcoming this diversion.