Themes in Jane Eyre 1

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  • Created by: Pascale
  • Created on: 10-05-13 20:06
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  • Themes in Jane Eyre
    • Family
      • Reeds
        • Bessie
          • 'I was taken from Bessie's neck, to which I clung with kisses'
            • Bessie was more like family to Jane
            • Literal and emotional attachment
        • "...your benefactress's Son! Your young master."
          • Not 'brother' or 'cousin' - hierarchy within the family - Jane is an outsider
          • Not 'your aunt' - about money and not family
          • 'master' superior
        • '"If she [Mrs Reed] were to turn you off, you would have to go to the poor house"...these words...were not news to me: my very first recollections of existence included hints of the same kind'
          • Never had a family 'very first recollections'
          • Sounds like a threat 'hints'
        • "bad animal"
          • Jane not considered human or of the same kind
        • "You are  a dependent, mama says"
          • Considered separate from the family
          • Constantly reminded
        • 'Me, she had dispensed from the group'
          • 'Dispensed' undesirable, dispensable. Like you'd dispense of rubbish or something worthless.
          • 'The group' and 'me' separate. Not considered part of the family
      • Rochester
        • Adele
          • 'You have not quite forgotten little Adele, have you, reader?...she said she was not happy...I took her home with me.'
            • Jane didn't have real family - understands Adele
            • Perhaps feels that she (Jane) was forgotten as a child
        • Marriage and baby
          • "Reader, I married him."
            • Jane becomes independent and leaves her family (Rivers) to start her own family
              • Feminist readings
              • However, it was only because of a family inheritance that this was possible
            • Active voice - feminist reading
              • vs "I summon you as my wife" - Jane becomes independent and stronger
          • 'I have now been married ten years...I hold myself supremely blest'
      • Rivers
        • Gains a sense of belonging with the Rivers and then leaves - not dependent on family
          • But leaves to start her own family - maybe more interested in romantic love than family love
        • "Jane, I will be your brother - my sisters will be your sisters - without stipulating for this sacrifice of your rights."
          • Unconditional love
        • You three, then, are my cousins"
          • Biological as well as metaphorical family
        • '[St John] His own words are a pledge of this'
          • Bronte finishes novel talking about the Rivers, especially St. John - impact that they had on Jane
    • Social class
      • The Reeds
        • "It is your place to be humble"
          • Jane as an orphan - low in hierarchy. Position in society. Duty and place.
          • Taught the rules of class - instilled in her
        • "You are less than a servant"
          • Context - social classes more separate than in modern day
          • Jane is inferior to her cousins
          • No pity for Jane as an orphan - no sympathy
      • "Bronte illustrates the harmfulness of distinctions between class" - Erin Wells
      • Rochester
        • 'I thought he mocked me'
          • So unusual at the time for social classes to mix and marry
          • "Not a shilling but what you have given me"
            • Jane would be entirely dependent on Rochester
              • "Reader, I married him."
                • Becomes financially independent and can marry Rochester. Was this necessary?
            • Context - normal for women at the time
        • Blanche Ingram
          • "Honourable Blanche"
          • 'tall, dark, and majestic'
          • "my beautiful Blanche"
            • Despite all the qualities described and social class, Rochester really loved Jane. Marxist criticism
      • Daughters of impoverished gentry employed as governesses to lift children into higher classes. Educate them in academics and etiquette
      • "gorged with gold I never earned and do not merit"
        • Jane doesn't value material possessions
      • "The novel Jane Eyre exposes the tyranny of a capitalist society as the young woman meets with a variety of characters from a number of backgrounds and classes. These characters are doomed by their environments established by class division." - Charlie Smith
    • Setting
      • Nomenclature
        • Lowood
          • 'Low'
            • Jane is emotionally low
            • Jane is low in hiararchy here
            • put down
          • 'wood'
            • Strict, regimented discipline
            • Little flexibility
        • Gateshead
          • 'Gate'
            • Jane is trapped
          • 'Head'
            • Drives Jane to insanity e.g. incident in the Red-Room - Jane is mentally trapped and supressed - not sent to school and not allowed to read
        • Thornfield
          • 'Thorn'
            • Roses
              • Romance and love
              • Pain  - hurt from love
          • 'field'
            • eventual loneliness
            • desolate
          • Romanticism - nature
      • Thornfield
        • 'Eden-like'
          • Foreshadows that something will go wrong
          • First proposal from Rochester
        • 'In Thornfield meadows... how full the hedges are of roses!'
          • Love and romance
          • Nature - romanticism
          • Before declaring 'never had I loved him so well'
            • Foreshadows and reflects feelings
        • 'Tongues of flame darted round the bed: the curtains were on fire'
          • Passion for Rochester - bed place of lovemaking
            • Suggesting that they can't be together romantically
            • Bertha's sabotage of their (Rochester and Jane's) relationship
          • Bertha tries to ruin Jane's prospects - can't see out of the window
        • 'the great horse-chestnut at the bottom of the orchard had been struck by lightning in the night, and half of it split away'
          • God and nature don't accept Rochester and Jane at this point (bigamy)
          • Foreshadows their separation
          • Pathetic fallacy
      • Gateshead
        • 'rain so penetrating'
          • Pathetic fallacy
          • Weather reflects Jane's mood - just before Jane's storm in the Red Room
        • 'There was no possibility of taking a walk that day'
          • Jane is trapped at Gateshead
          • Feels as though she is given few opportunities
        • 'Eliza, John and Georgiana were now clustered around their mama...by the fireside'
          • Jane is literally and figuratively separated from the Reeds
          • Feels she is treated coldly by the Reeds
        • 'clouds so sombre'
          • Jane's loneliness
          • Pathetic fallacy
        • 'leafless shrubbery'
          • lacking emotional nourishment at Gateshead like shrubbery is lacking leaves essential for nourishment
          • Winter, cold and bitter
        • The Red-Room
          • 'I suppose I had a species of fit'
            • Leads to a self-destructive state of mind
          • 'tabernacle' (bed)
            • Sacrifice
            • Size seems terrifying and disturbing to a child
          • 'deep red'
            • Gothic terrors
            • Blood
            • Reflects John Reed's violent actions which drew blood
      • Moor House
        • 'waves of mountains'
          • Jane can't see Thornfield past the mountains - separated from Rochester
      • The Pilgrim's Progress (book) - each place represents Jane's spiritual progress
    • Religion
      • Helen Burns
        • "Love your enemies; bless them that curse you; do good to them that hate you and despitefully use you."
          • Helen lives by this doctrine - her Christian virtue
          • "Then I should love Mrs. Reed which I cannot do; I should bless her son John, which is impossible."
            • "I had taken a journey of a hundred miles to see my aunt, and I must stay with her till she was better'
              • Jane learns from Helen and changes her mind
                • "Then I should love Mrs. Reed which I cannot do; I should bless her son John, which is impossible."
                  • "I had taken a journey of a hundred miles to see my aunt, and I must stay with her till she was better'
                    • Jane learns from Helen and changes her mind
          • "He is a clergyman and is said to do a great deal of good"
            • Helen is careful with her words here when describing Mr Brocklehurst who unfairly punished her
            • Bronte's criticism of religion? People conformed without agreeing?
          • 'Resurgam' (on Helen's grave)
            • She will rise again
            • Gave Jane faith
          • "There is an invisible world and a kingdom of spirits"
            • No doubt of her beliefs - conviction
        • St. John
          • 'pure-lived, conscientious, zealous'
            • All good things for an exemplary christian
          • "God did not give me my life to throw away" - Jane
            • Giving her life to St. John would be against God's wishes
            • Bronte's criticism of religion - was it really necessary and required?
          • 'He will sacrifice all to his long-framed resolves'
            • St. John willing to sacrifice his emotions to be a missionary and serve God
          • '"I can but die" I said, "and I believe in God. Let me try to wait His will in silence."'
            • Capital H on 'His' - fear in God
            • Proclaims her faith - not a disbelief in God but a belief that her life doesn't have to be dedicated to God
            • Wants to do what God wants but believes she knows that he wants her to be happy
          • "God had an errand for me"
            • St. John's position lies not with his feelings but with God
            • Duty
          • '"Oh! I will give my heart to God," I said. "You do not want it."'
            • Jane knows that St. John was in a way using her
        • Mr Brocklehurst
          • "Do you know where the wicked go after death?"
            • Uses religion as a threat rather than an incentive
          • "what is that girl with curled hair?...Why, in defiance of every precept and principle"
            • 'ladies... elaborately curled...false front of French curls...Mrs. and the Misses Brocklehurst.'
              • Hypocritical view of religion - used religion as a tool rather than a way of life
                • "what is that girl with curled hair?...Why, in defiance of every precept and principle"
                  • 'ladies... elaborately curled...false front of French curls...Mrs. and the Misses Brocklehurst.'
                    • Hypocritical view of religion - used religion as a tool rather than a way of life
            • "Mr. Brocklehurst is not a god"
              • Rules the school and the pupils as though he is a god and they are his subjects
          • Jane
            • 'for liberty I gasped; for liberty I uttered a prayer'
              • Seems as though Jane only uses religion when it's convenient to her
            • 'God directed me to a correct choice'
              • Conventional idea that God directs away from sin
              • Happier for it - stability of religion
            • "God is my father; God is my friend: I love Him; I believe he loves me'
              • Jane's most spiritual experience in the novel
        • Gothic
          • The Red-Room
            • 'chamber'
              • An enclosed space - captivity
                • "Lock her in the red-room"
            • 'deep red' 'crimson'
              • Blood - reminder of uncle's death
              • Images of terror and violence
            • 'chill'
              • Lifeless - death
              • Eerie
            • 'Mr. Reed had been dead nine years...in this chamber...and since that day, a sense of dreary conscecration had guarded it from frequent intrusion.'
              • Others too scared to go in it
              • Guarded - personified, room vs Jane
          • Bertha
            • The Mad Woman in the Attic
            • 'Grace Poole's laugh...slow ha! ha!...thrilled me... eccentric murmurs; stranger than her laugh
              • Chilling
              • 'eccentric' - madness
            • "She bit me" (Mason)
              • Vampire
              • Jane Eyre written 50 years before Dracula but similar interests
            • 'The night...was rent in twain by a savage, a sharp, a shrilly sound'
              • Pain
              • Fear
            • 'The maniac bellowed'
              • Supernatural
                • "It is not in mortal discretion to fathom her craft"

      Comments

      Dla2lag

      A very detailed mind map that identifies the main themes; the ideas highlighted are relevant and useful and used alongside direct references to the text could be a very helpful revision tool. Use in conjunction with Themes in Jane Eyre 2.

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