“We produce destructive people by the way we treat them in childhood.”An exploration of the lasting impact of childhood in Jane Eyre and Great Expectations.
Throughout the two texts, Jane Eyre and Great Expectations, the way children are brought up has moulded the child’s personality and behaviour, whether they become destructive or not . I shall be evaluating Jane’s early childhood as described by Charlotte Bronte, considering her treatment from Mrs Reed and Mr Brocklehurst, and the lasting impact up to when Jane marries Mr Rochester, and I will be evaluating the relationship between John Reed and his mother, Mrs Reed. I will also compare this to the content of Great Expectations, Pip and his relationship with Joe, and Estella and Miss Havisham’s relationship later in life.
In Jane Eyre, Jane’s Aunt, Mrs Reed, is revealed to have a troublesome relationship with Jane. After discovering Jane and John’s fight she blames it on Jane and rushes her up to the Red Room to lock her away from disrupting and being troublesome among Mrs Reed’s children, for example “she really must exclude me from privileges intended only for contented, happy little children.” Whilst in the Red Room Jane has a chance to reflect on her relationship with Mrs Reed. The red-room is a space in which the purity and innocence of childhood meet the intense and bitter emotions that come with unpleasant life experience – anger, fear, and anxiety .One critic, Sarah Haslam, states a point in her article, “Written In”, that “Bronte manipulates the readers ‘expectation’ of what family means” suggesting that Jane’s family, that should be loving and together, is the complete opposite as none of her cousins or her Aunt loves her or cares about her. At that moment Jane understands that Mrs Reed could never love Jane like she loves John or Eliza, “It must have been irksome to find herself bound by a hard-wrung pledge to stand in the stead of a parent to a strange child she could never love”, highlighting