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Finance & Accounting
Pages 4 (1004 words)
Analyse the role of childhood in Jane Eyre. The novel Jane Eyre tells the story of a young woman from the age of about ten until her marriage in adult life to Mr Rochester. There are two contrasting views of childhood in the book, and they are the childhood of orphaned and impoverished Jane herself, along with the children in Lowood school on the one hand and the childhood of her cousins, the Reeds, and of her own pupil, Adele, on the other hand, who all come from an upper class background.
On the very first page it is made clear that the prevailing upper class view of childhood is one of repression and dominance, since Jane finds herself in a new family, but not of the same status as the original children in that family. The mother, Mrs Reed makes it clear that Jane is an outsider, because of her birth, and that she is inferior and must learn to submit to those who are in some indefinable way superior to her when she says: “Jane, I don’t like cavillers or questioners: besides, there is something truly forbidding in a child taking up her elders in that manner. Be seated somewhere; and until you can speak pleasantly, remain silent.” (Bronte: 1922, p. 1) The tone of this cold mother figure is that of criticism and command, making it quite clear that Jane does not deserve the privileges of upper class childhood, because she does not possess the ability to hide her own feelings, keep quiet, and submit to the will of adults. The other children in the family, and their nurse Bessie, conspire to treat her with contempt and, at times violence, but the blame for any conflict always falls upon Jane. ...
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