Discuss the representations of the various ‘other’ women in the novel: Mrs Reed, Miss Temple, Céline Varens, Blanche Ingram and, to a lesser extent, Bertha Mason.

Topics: Novel, Jane Eyre, Role model Pages: 1 (572 words) Published: April 23, 2015
Discuss the representations of the various ‘other’ women in the novel: Mrs Reed, Miss Temple, Céline Varens, Blanche Ingram and, to a lesser extent, Bertha Mason. What does Jane learn from these women? Which are positive role models? Which are negative? Throughout the novel, there are female characters who are either positive or negative role models to Jane. Due to the novel being about Jane’s personal development, the portrayals of the role models are such as to highlight how they influence Jane’s personal growth, thus they leave Jane’s narrative permanently once their role is fulfilled. Jane’s first female role model comes in the form of Mrs Reed, her mother figure after the death of Jane’s own parents and her caretaker Mr Reed. However, Mrs Reed is a strongly negative role model for the young Jane; she prefers her own children over Jane, and allows them to abuse her – she ‘never saw [John Reed] strike or heard him abuse [Jane], though he did both now and then in her very presence.’ Furthermore, Mrs Reed seems to care for her own reputation more than other things; she ‘looked frightened… twisting her face as if she would cry’ when faced with the prospect of Jane exposing that Mrs Reed treated her with ‘miserable cruelty.’ The character of Mrs Reed allows Jane to grow – she tastes the vengeance against those who mistreated her, but realises that giving her ‘furious feelings uncontrolled play’ leads to ‘the pang of remorse’, starting her on the path to controlling her passions. The next female role model who aids Jane in her personal journey, especially in compassion and mastering her emotions, is Miss Temple; she is Jane’s first positive role model, teaching her to mask her emotions so that, by the time she leaves Lowood, she is able to present herself as ‘a disciplined and subdued character’. Miss Temple is serene and ladylike, having repressed her own passions; whilst Jane feels ‘unavailing and impotent anger’ when Helen Burns is punished, but Miss Temple...
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