Jane Eyre's most memorable moments lie in Bronte's description of childhood. Explore methods which writers use to present the experience of childhood.

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Jane Eyre's most memorable moments lie in Bronte's description of childhood. Explore methods which writers use to present the experience of childhood. ‘Jane Eyre’ is a Bildungsroman – a novel of a journey or coming of age – and thus focuses on the growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood. Therefore, childhood and how it is presented plays an important role in the book. Bronte uses a variety of methods to illustrate childhood; through use of language, descriptions, presentations of relationships and thoughts, and contemporary references. One method utilised by Bronte to present the experience of childhood is her use of childish language. The early chapters, featuring Jane as a child, are worded more simply than the later chapters; Bronte describes what happens through the eyes of a child, Jane, and so we are presented with an innocent, and often ignorant, viewpoint; Jane watches as ‘the tall girls went out’ – an older character would note the events with more eloquent language, but the young Jane simply describes what she experiences, the more sophisticated interjections throughout the novel come from the mature Jane. Bronte also conveys childhood and childish ignorance through Jane’s thoughts – she reads but the elder Jane notes that her childhood self had only ‘half-comprehended notions’ of the subject matter. Another depiction of the naivety of childhood comes from when Jane first meets Helen Burns; the ignorance of childhood is contrasted with the reasoning of a more mature mind – Jane ‘could not very well understand’ Helen’s calm reasoning and ‘recalled her to [Jane’s] level’ of youthful thinking. Bronte uses visual descriptions and statements to evoke the powerless feelings of being a child; visually so in her emphasis on Jane’s small, child-like stature in her first meeting with Mr Brocklehurst – she states that she ‘looked up at… a black pillar’ – and using statements such as Jane speaking of herself as having ‘underdeveloped understanding and...
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