Summary of Jane Eyre - Chapters 1-4

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Jane Eyre -Spark notes
Chapter I
Jane is an orphan. She was adopted by Mr. John Reed, yet he died when she was a year old. One of his last wishes was for his wife, Mrs. Reed, to look after Jane. This she does out of duty, but she treats Jane as less than a servant. She despises Jane for her quiet and creative character. Jane takes great pleasure from reading books, and is very smart for her age of ten; Mrs. Reed secretly feels intimidated by her. A child of a “more sociable and child-like disposition, a more attractive and slight manner – something lighter, franker and more natural” would have been preferred; Jane is quite the opposite. Mrs. Reed is completely in love with her children (Eliza, John and Georgiana), to the point of it being sickening. They can do nothing wrong in her eyes, and she spoils them rotten. This is probably quite a disadvantage to them in the long run, as they never develop their character – their perceptions of life and appropriate behavior are completely warped. John is fourteen years old and of quite a large size as his mother gives him a lot of indulgent food. He is very arrogant, and bullies Jane perpetually, in front of his mother yet mainly behind her back. As is to be expected, Mrs. Reed always favours her son over Jane. John throws a large volume at Jane; it connects, causing her to hit her head against the door so that it bleeds. Jane gets all the punishment and is grabbed by Bessie and Miss Abbot [servants] and roughly taken upstairs. Chapter II

Jane struggles while Bessie and Miss Abbot force her into the red-room. They threaten to tie her down with Miss Abbot’s garters should she not calm down. She then gives in, and they walk out, closing the door and leaving her in complete darkness. Eliza is described (in Jane’s thoughts) as being “headstrong and selfish”, yet respected. Georgiana is said to have “a spoiled temper, a very acrid spite and a captious and insolent carriage,” yet is universally indulged. She is also...
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