How Is Sympathy Created For Jane Eyre In The Opening Three Chapters Of The Novel?

986 words - 4 pages

Sympathy is created for Jane within the opening three chapters of Jane Eyre in a number of different ways. It becomes evident from the very beginning of the novel that Jane is oppressed by her surroundings and the Reed family. She is physically and psychologically abused and clearly made to feel as she is worth less than the family who keep her. Despite this there is a comforting undercurrent that flows through the opening three chapters as the reader realises that Jane Eyre is recalling her troublesome childhood from a position of fulfilment.
The opening of the novel creates an instantaneous impression of sympathy through the use of pathetic fallacy. The rain in the opening paragraph is ...view middle of the document...

This physical abuse is an effective tool used by Bronte to demonstrate that Jane is oppressed in a variety of ways. This point becomes even more prevalent when accompanied by the psychological punishment she is subject to at the opening of the following paragraph. Jane is told that she “ought to not think herself on an equality with Misses Reed and Master Reed” and therefore made to feel worthless as a human being. Structurally this is interesting as these two different forms of oppression appear one after the other but in different chapters demonstrating that they are interconnected yet they are also different. Through being interconnected the impression is created that Jane is in a cycle of abuse where she is bullied by John Reed and then made to feel like she deserves this by the other characters. The fact that these forms of oppression are different only increases the sympathy felt for Jane as it seems as if she cannot escape punishment as it is both physical and psychological.
Further sympathy is created when the reader realises that, because of the way society is structured, Jane would rather choose to be oppressed by the Reed family than move to live with poorer relatives. The stigma around the poor is summed up adequately by Jane when she states” poverty for me was synonymous with degradation.” The word degradation is one which suggests an extremely low standard of living and one which powerfully demonstrates Jane’s attitudes towards the impoverished. Bronte is choosing to make a social point about the British class system through Jane at this moment as it is made very clear in the previous two chapters that Jane is seriously mistreated but such is the feeling towards the Victorian poor and impoverished that Jane would rather belong to the well off and be mistreated. In my opinion I believe Jane could see...

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