How Does Jane Eyre Develop Between Chapters 11 and 27 of the Novel?

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The novel Jane Eyre is predominantly a bildungsroman, Jane’s development throughout the novel is one of the most important aspects of the narrative. During Jane’s time at Thornfield she makes huge emotional progress through her relationship with Rochester and the discovery of Bertha Mason, eventually resulting in her departure from Thornfield.

In chapter 11 when Jane first arrives at Thornfield She is unsure of her surroundings and the description of the thorn trees alludes to fairytales such as Sleeping Beauty and Briar Rose. This conveys Jane’s innocence and shows the reader how childlike Jane is at this stage of the novel in terms of emotional development. The theme of Jane’s limitations is also highlighted, and Jane’s focus on Mrs Fairfax’s “bunch of keys” shows the insecurity she feels about not having control over her present or future. However, Jane draws comfort from the discovery that Mrs Fairfax is also a “dependent”. This shows a departure from the uncertainty she felt when she first arrived at Thornfield, and the use of the same word as was used by John Reed in the first chapter shows how much she has developed since then in order to be able to overcome the distress that the word first caused her. This emphasises the extent to which Jane has already developed and gives the reader an impression for the scope of development still possible for Jane. In the progression from the eleventh to the twelfth chapter we can see how Jane has used her connection with Mrs Fairfax to allow her to become aware of the positive aspects of the other inhabitants of Thornfield Hall and showing that she has already become more mature and is willing to reconsider her initial opinions on the residents of Thornfield like Adele and Rochester. Jane begins chapter 12 by saying: “the promise of a smooth career...was not belied on a stronger acquaintance with the place.” She feels secure at Thornfield and that her impression of the place was correct, reading the novel...
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