Explore how Bronte Presents Jane and her Childhood Experiences in the early Chapters. Do you find her a Sympathetic Heroine?


Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre” was a ground breaking novel in the areas and issues it explored, such as passoin and a female desiring freedom. Bronte placed an unconventional heronie in a typical Victorian home. Jane is a poor, female, child; which immedeately makes her a character that Victorian readers would look down on. This is because she belongs to the three inferior groups of Victorian society. In this essay, I will look at the techniques Bronte used to present Jane, her environment, and other characters to create sympathy for Jane.


Throughout the Novel Jane Eyre, the weather reflects how Jane feels. Bronte begins the pathetic fallacy right from the start. Jane is commenting on the world outside, in ways that reflect how she is feeling, and her situaton. “Cloud so sombre” and “rain so penetrating” are examples of this. “Ceasless rain” gives the impression that these misfortunes are never-ending, and as the weather is described as such from the beginning, suggests that Jane cannot remember a happy time during her life. In addition to describing Jane’s feelings, the wheather also gives an insight into her attidude to the future. “Afar it offered a pale blank of mist and cloud, near a scene of wet lawn and strorm beat shrub.” This shows that Jane avoids exploring what is in the future, leaving it hidden in the “mist and cloud”, but can find little comfort in the present. This makes the reader feel sympathy for Jane from the start, as the impression of even nature being against her is embedded into the reader’s mind.


When Jane moves on in her journey onto Lowood, the weather again shows how Jane is feeling. It is winter when Jane moves to Lowood, so the weather has worsened, now being described as “severe cold”, as has Jane’s feeling of opression. The plight of many of the students at Lowood is also mimicked by the environment, which is in “brown decay”, as many of the students die from fever. However, Jane’s time at Lowood is not and cannot alwayts be set in winter. Many people think that the arival of spring and the departure of the fever are just a natural progression for the two, and that they go hand in hand. I think that Bronte wanted to symbolise new life in the spring, and another new stage in Jane’s journey through life. The progression and change in weather at Lowood helps the reader empethise with Jane, and gives them something that they have expeienced themselves to help connect with Jane.


During “Jane Eyre”, Bronte presents many different adults, who each have a huge and different impact on Jane’s life. All the adults can be seperated into two groups, those adults who opress Jane, and those who offer her support. The two groups usually balance each other out. The times when one group has more influence than the other indicate a turning point in Jane’s life.


Two of the main characters in the oppressing group are Mrs Reed and Mr Brocklehurst. They are shown as hypocritical, unkind, unjust, and menacing. When Mrs Reed is presented to the reader for the first time, she is by a fire with her “darlings around her”, and she is a person who needs to “exclude” Jane from her company. Mrs Reed’s favouratism and refusal to see fault in her children is further revealed through her son, John Reed. Whenever John is misbehaving, Mrs Reed becomes “blind and deaf on the subject”, and removes him from school because of his “health”, and “pining after home”, two things, which it is apparent from his description, that he is not.


Mr Brocklehurst is introduced later in the book, his presence makes the Jane, and also the reader, know that Jane’s potential school is not the safe heaven she’d previously imagined it would be. Mr Brocklehurst comes across as a hard, cold man. “A black pillar” and “grim face” are two phrases Bronte uses to create this impression. Describing him as a “pillar” of “marble”, reminds the reader of cold places and experiences, and also give an impression of immense strength and controll. Mr