Book Analysis: Jane Eyre

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The gothic romance novel “Jane Eyre,” by Charlotte Bronte, is essentially the story of a woman’s quest to find love. Through the many challenges in her life, Bronte portrays her character, Jane, as one who struggles not only with her gender and class, but also with her sense of belonging. Growing up in the absence of a mother, Jane struggles with her identity and her womanhood. Through the different stages of her life however, she encounters various women who nurture her and act as her guides and motherly figures. In building relationships with these women, Jane is able to learn from their experiences and, in turn, reflect on her own. Consequently, the relationships she makes with these women throughout the novel mould her identity and the decisions that she makes in life. Therefore, the role of these relationships are significant to the themes and overall plot of the novel.It is revealed in the beginning of this novel that Jane experiences a very rough and unloved childhood. Growing up as an orphan, she is raised by her aunt, Mrs. Reid, who belittles and abuses her. Not only is she treated as an outsider by her aunt, but she is also bullied and beaten by her cousins, and is often locked her up in a room without food or water. In essence, Jane is unable to experience love from her own relatives, which tarnishes her idea of a family. However, in the absence of care from her aunt, one woman helps Jane endure the pain through her childhood and treats her with kindness and respect. Bessie, the maid at the Reid household, is the one woman who cares for Jane through this stage in her life by providing her with consolation from the abuse that she faces at home. It is through Bessie that Jane first experiences love from another person, which allows her to overlook the anger and pain in her life. “...She would tuck the clothes round me, and twice she kissed me, and said, ‘good night, Miss Jane.’ When thus gentle, Bessie seemed to me the best, prettiest, and kindest...
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