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Rory Book Discussions > Jane Eyre - chapters 1-4

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message 1: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) What do you think of the chapters where Jane is with her Aunt Reed?

message 2: by Nicole (new)

Nicole | 38 comments I just finished chapter 4, so to start with I can't stand Aunt Reed or her children for that matter. They treat Jane horribly. Getting away from them and going to school is the best possible solution for Jane.

message 3: by Sera (new)

Sera If I ever had met Mrs. Reed, I would have given her a good thrashing. What a horrible and insensitive woman, and her children are deplorable, especially that evil son of hers.

Nevertheless, these four chapters give the reader excellent insight into Jane's character as a 10-year old girl, as well. She sticks up for herself and is very honest, but she is also sad and lonely. We learn that she may have other family out there, but because she has heard that they are very poor, she doesn't want the doctor to find them so that she might go and live with them.

What's up with the ghost though?

message 4: by Meghan (last edited Feb 02, 2008 04:19PM) (new)

Meghan Okay, I hated Wuthering Heights because I felt the female characters were too "hysterical" and I get that feeling occassionally when reading JE. But for the most part, the story isn't too bad. It's much easier to read (than WH).

I do find the similarities to Cinderella (maybe Snow White) intriguing. Does anyone know if Bronte had known the story?

I also find the child neglect interesting too. Compared to today's memoirs (thinking about Angela's Ashes or The Glass Castle or compared to stories more around her time books by Dickens, like Oliver Twist or David Copperfield), is Jane's story any more tragic or should she rather just put a "stiff upper lip" and realize life is hard? Does she really have it all that bad--other than her family is "mean" to her?

message 5: by Mary (new)

Mary | 29 comments In the first few chapters, I had the same feeling as Nicole and Sera: Mrs. Reed and her kids were evil and I was frustrated that Jane was stuck with them and had no alternatives.

The exchange between Jane and Bessie at the end of chapter 4 made things a little more complicated for me, though. Bessie doesn't seem "mean," she seems genuinely puzzled by Jane's odd and unpredictable behavior. I wonder if Jane's mistreatment is exaggerated in her telling of it, or if her tendency to melodrama distorts her impressions at all.

message 6: by Nicole (new)

Nicole | 38 comments That's a great point Mary, I totally agree. Something does seem alittle off in Jane's version of things due to the relationship she shares with Bessie.

message 7: by Alison, the guru of grace (last edited Feb 03, 2008 12:07AM) (new)

Alison | 1282 comments Mod
I took Jane's abuse at face value...I really do believe she was treated as cruelly as she testifies.

I thought this was interesting, when Jane was telling the apothecary why she hated living there..."Children can feel, but they cannot analyse their feelings; and if the analysis is partially effected in thought, they know not how to express the result of the process in words." How torturous for Jane to want to spill the beans, but, being so young, she had a hard time putting it all into words.

Obviously a big emotional turning point of these chapters is when Jane leans over the bannister and says to Mrs. Reed, "They (your children) are not fit to associate with me." I don't know of when I've felt more satisfaction in a story. Finally! And thank God! Jane has a spine.

Without spoiling anything, I will say that Mrs. Reed's motives and Bessie & Jane's relationship are addressed at other times in this book. Hopefully that will shed a little light on the confusion brought about by these chapters.

I think the ghost probably just adds to the overall Gothic tone of the novel...I don't think there is a ghost, rather a manifestation of Jane's fear and imagination. (Anyone else?)

As far as Meghan's question, I think this is one of many stories where hard circumstances early on lead to the development of a heroine/hero of character. I think these early chapters with Jane are very reminscient of D. Copperfield and O.'s interesting to see how a female deals with her mistreatment. Both David and Oliver end up lashing out physically against their persecutors, biting and attacking...getting them in more trouble. Jane uses her mind, and her mouth and wins her battle. ("I was left there alone, winner of the field.")

One other thing, Jane refers to a servant's opinion of her as an infantile "Guy Faukes." I looked him up to get the particulars...Guy Fawkes (13 April 1570 – 31 January 1606) was a member of a group of Roman Catholic revolutionaries from England who planned to carry out the Gunpowder Plot. The plot was an attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament, which would have displaced Protestant rule by killing King James I of England and the entire Protestant aristocracy, on 5 November 1605. In Jane Eyre, Jane is compared to Guy Fawkes by Abbot with the line "a sort of infantine Guy Fawkes" because she looked like she was constantly plotting schemes. Brontë herself, like Fawkes, was of Yorkshire origins."

message 8: by Cristalle (new)

Cristalle | 7 comments I had a similar feeling after reading the exchange with Bessie in the end. I wondered though, if it was more Bessie finding Jane odd and unpredictable because she spoke out and was starting to fight back against the Reeds when they treated her horribly because at that time, it was unheard of not only for a child, but especially a female and who was considered of lower standing because she didn't come from wealth. Bessie doesn't intend to be mean, she just thinks Jane should be more submissive and demean herself because that was what was socially expected at that time?

On a personal note, while reading this, I was amazed at how people still behave in many ways like the Reeds today, even though we are said to have modernized and progressed socially, since growing with womens rights and social equality movements. I work at a bar in New York city and constantly encounter the John Reed character- someone who thinks that just because they flash some money or (what they consider) nice clothes, that they can treat the rest of the world horribly and as if anyone in a service position is worthless. I can't tell you how many times I've been verbally (and on occasion physically assaulted) buy a pompous and self-righteous customer who thinks that because they're going to charge a few beers to their credit card and technically I'm there to serve them that I'm to grovel at every word they grace me with. At first I was really taken back by the severity of the child abuse and neglect and thought if this situation were to exist in modern day, Jane would have been removed from the household for her protection. And I thought someone would have stuck up for Jane when John was physically abusing her, instead of telling her she should appreciate just being under their roof and put up with him. John's constant taunting of Jane and then hitting her because he knows he can and that she will be reprimanded for it- it almost translates to that kind of situation where the customer who is completely wrong insists that they are entitled to whatever they want because of the "customers are always right" attitude. I don't know if I'm making much sense with this... I just initially was blown away at how different society was then, but came to realize that a lot of those disgusting human characteristics are still all too present today.

message 9: by Sera (new)

Sera Cristalle, some people who have money believe that it brings them a sense of entitlement, but I believe that it's the combination of money and power where the most abuse of others can occur. The Reed son is also "master of the house" so in addition to the money factor, he is in charge of the Reed household, whereby not only does he act abusively toward Jane, but even toward his own mother! Perhaps Mrs. Reed's inability to have respect from her own son led to some of her abusiveness toward Jane. Don't people who are picked on generally look for someone beneath them to do the same thing?

Despina, my husband lost his sister and brother-in-law within 6 weeks of each other last year, leaving our 6-year old niece an orphan. We immediately offered to take her in; however, his mother, for many reasons, decided to instead. All anyone could think about was that poor child, and if anything, she is too spoiled, because everyone is concerned about her well-being, but because she is surrounded by so much loving family, it has made her circumstances a little easier on her.

message 10: by Liz (new)

Liz | 35 comments -- I agree with a little of what everyone has to say. I feel Jane is treated like an unwanted pet. The way Mrs. Reed's son John treats her and how Mrs. Reed sees Jane as more of a nuissance then anything else. It is awful. Though I must say Jane takes these things quite well. She just deals with it and hopes that things will change one day.

She was loved at one time by her Uncle so she knows she was cared for and he did not want to abandon her so I think this is how she copes. Knowing that if her Uncle were still alive things would be different. She seems to relate better to older men. Like how she opens up to the Doctor. Maybe that was due to the influence of her Uncle.

Bessie confused me at first. I was suprised to see her affection towards Jane. I suppose she was attempting to please her employer yet felt for Jane at the same time.

message 11: by Cristalle (new)

Cristalle | 7 comments I was also surprised when Jane tells Bessie that she'd rather remain in the abusive Reed household than go out and find other family if they were too poor that they turned out to be beggers. She realized that being in the care of those with wealth and status created opportunity.

message 12: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany I have the same "Children can feel, but cannot analyze their feelings..." quote underlined in my book, Alison. I think Jane did a pretty good job articulating just how she felt living in that household. She had a few options available to her -staying with the Reeds, finding her other relatives, or going to school- and I think she made the wise decision. For someone so young to realize that school would be "an entrance into a new life," shows that she was able to look beyond her present situation and see the bigger picture.

message 13: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Yep, Alison, the ghost is exactly what you said it is - a figment of Jane's imagination and fear, and it adds to the Gothic and mysterious tone of the novel.

Great comments, everyone!!

message 14: by M0rfeus (new)

M0rfeus Oh for God's sake, what's with not knowing about Guy Fawkes? Even I knew, and I'm not British!

Remember remember the 5th of November
Gunpowder treason and plot
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!


message 15: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Tom, have you been drinking? :P

message 16: by Alison, the guru of grace (last edited Feb 03, 2008 11:40PM) (new)

Alison | 1282 comments Mod
You know, the only time I had heard of him was in that Natalie Portman movie...where she shaves her head (by the guys who did the Matrix). Now I can't think of it. But the bad guy wore a Guy Fawkes mask. I wasn't sure who he was...but I do remember that rhyme now that you mention it.

Cheers, Tom! :)

message 17: by M0rfeus (new)

M0rfeus Jeez, no respect.

Now I know how Rodney Dangerfield felt!


message 18: by Meghan (new)

Meghan Alison - Movie is "V is for Vendetta"

And let's not forget the period in which this was written. This was before children were seen as "children". They were property to be cared for and disposed of as however the parents chose. Jane WAS "lucky" that her uncle decided to take her in because it would NOT have been considered immoral for her to be sent to an orphanage. For her to go to another family, who was not as well off financially as her current situation would be scary. Especially since she was raised in an environment where entitlement was top priority. Life was hard then and poverty was not an easy life. She probably was right in that physically, her life would be much worse off, should she choose a family of lesser means. And from what I can read (between the lines), physically, Jane had it pretty easy.

message 19: by Anna (new)

Anna (anna_rose_reads) I didn't really find Bessie as confusing as others. I guess I just assumed that she was treating Jane that way not out of spite, but because she knew what the future held, and it was not the same life of leisure that was in store for Jane's cousins. I think Bessie was trying to prepare Jane for that life. As Meghan said, children weren't really children in the contemporary sense yet.

I also think that these first four chapters show Jane to be especially precocious. The books she reads would be very advanced for her age and her comment to Mr. Brocklehurst that to avoid hell she "must keep good health, and not die" shows her as someone with a really sharp mind even at 10, which can be disconcerting to adults.

message 20: by Alison, the guru of grace (new)

Alison | 1282 comments Mod
Ever noticed how all the good heroes/heroines read books when they're young? Not only does it serve as an escape, but it sharpens their minds in the process.

As far as Bessie, at first I thought she was just another mean servant, but she seemed to warm toward Jane and sympathize with her, especially after Mrs. Reed locks her up with the "ghost" and Jane faints. I think she realized "enough was enough."

I found a couple of questions if anyone cares to comment (there are tons to be found, just about these first four chapters)...

Note the song Bessie sings to Jane on p.15. What strikes you about it? (Keep it in mind as you continue through the book.)


The Reverend Mr. Brocklehurst makes his appearance in chapter 4. Describe his appearance and behavior. (Don’t be surprised if he reminds you of a fairy tale character.)

I don't have the answers!

message 21: by Star (new)

Star Shiflett (stargirlexplosion) | 2 comments The treatment she received was horrible, but the reason she was treated that way bothered me even more. If she had been a beautiful little brat, she would have been given more respect. She was more interested in watching people. This drove Aunt Reed crazy. Jane had nothing to do with her situation or her looks. The first part of the book was so slow for me, because of this injustice.

message 22: by Arctic (new)

Arctic | 571 comments Bessie's song could easily be about Jane and possibly a foreshadowing of her future - that her path will not be easy but that she will be protected and triumph in the end.

Not sure about Mr. Brocklehurst. She describes him as a tall "black pillar". My first impression was of the grim reaper, but I doubt that's what they're alluding to.

The most common comment my friends made when reading this in college was how sick they were of "poor little Jane" and her constant complaints, and how they wish she would just suck it up and deal already. I'm wondering at what point in the book they were at when they got sick of her.

message 23: by Joanie (new)

Joanie | 197 comments I'm feeling a little behind on the book-just finished chapter four! I like it so far, it's easier reading than I had anticipated.

I agree with Star-their reasons for treating Jane cruelly (she wasn't cute) makes it all that much worse. It's like Aunt Reed wanted Jane to not only be phsyically attractive but also to be continuously grateful that they took her in. Jane being a quieter, more aloof child seems to infuriate her.

Okay, this just popped in my head (and it's not very scholarly but I'll share it anyway!) I wonder if J.K. Rowling is a fan of Jane Eyre because John Reed is kind of like the Dudley in the Harry Potter books, a cruel and wretched boy whose mother dotes on him and thinks the orphan child she took in is so beneath her own child. Also Jane and Harry are treated similarly too-Jane even has to sleep in a closet! Just an observattion.

When Jane is in the red room she talks about her uncle dying there 9 years ago. Since Jane is 10 he must have died shortly after she came to live with them which could have added to the aunt's resentment of Jane. I guess Jane assumes he must have loved her as he took her in but it's sad that that's all she really has to go on.

I wish work wasn't so busy so I'd have more time to read online! Work always gets in the way of fun stuff!

message 24: by Shannon, the founder of fun (back from sabbatical) (new)

Shannon | 254 comments Mod
I'm really enjoying everybody's comments so far. I have to admit, I was at first worried if I would like this because when I was in highschool I tried to read Wuthering Heights and I just couldn't finish it. I am enjoying Charlotte far more than Emily. And actually I may just revisit Wuthering Heights after this.

message 25: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) I love Jane Eyre and didn't really like WH, either, Shannon. They may share a last name but IMO the sisters are very different!

message 26: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany I plan on reading Wuthering Heights after this also (actually after The Eyre Affair and Wide Sargasso Sea!). I've heard mixed things about it.

message 27: by Erin (new)

Erin | 47 comments The treatment of Jane by the Reeds reminds me of Harry Potter and they way the Dursley's treat him. In fact, I have read several articles about J.K. Rowling using Dickens, Austen, and Bronte's literature as a basis for the Harry Potter books. Anyone else notice similarities?

message 28: by Anna (new)

Anna (anna_rose_reads) I love Wuthering Heights. I personally found I a much easier read that Jane Eyre. It starts off with more of a full head of steam. I thought these first four chapters were so slow.

message 29: by Joanie (new)

Joanie | 197 comments Hi Erin,
I posted the same thing. It's interesting to hear that Rowling was influenced by Bronte, Dickens etc, you can definitely see some similarities.

message 30: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca | 50 comments OK, well I read this once before (years ago) and didn't like it. Thought I would try it with a more honed reading palate.

My first thought is (and maybe it's because I just read The Kite Runner, and this is sort of a theme) -- they pick on Jane so much BECAUSE she puts up with it. You know, once someone allows it once, they become the go-to punching bag? What I can't quite figure out is, how in the world she became so accepting of her treatment (outwardly) if she grew up from infancy with them -- seems like it's much easier for her to understand being separate if she came to them with a certain personality/ manners already entrenched.

What child, being subjected to the comments and the physical abuse she obviously was handed daily, wouldn't scream and protest? Who would just grow up accepting that was the way of things, especially when she could see the other children weren't treated that way?

No wonder she's such a little adult.

message 31: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) Joannie and Erin, I thought the exact same thing about Harry Potter! The treatment of the two is the same (Harry always "bad" and "causing trouble", brought in reluctantly by relatives and treated horribly by them, same with Jane). Both look forward to school as a way to escape their families.

I didn't know that Rowling was influenced by those authors, but I can definitely see the similarities with this book.

Something that struck me early in the book (p. 3 of my copy) was how John Reed referred to Jane as a "bad animal". It just seems like she has no chance at all in this family if they don't really think of her as a person. John Reed is especially irritating with how entitled he thinks he is - referring to the books and house as belonging to him and telling Jane she should beg.

I'm glad that Jane's leaving for school, but I can't expect Mrs. Reed to pick a nice place for her. Her line "Had I sought all England over, I could scarcely have found a system more exactly fitting for a child like Jane Eyre" seems menancing.

message 32: by Emily (new)

Emily I thought it was so interesting how Mrs. Reed reacted to Jane telling her exactly how she felt . . . how she would tell everyone of her cruelness toward her. She was all of a sudden very kind and claimed to be her best friend. I was glad when Jane said it wasn't good enough and that she was going to tell anyway.

message 33: by Alison, the guru of grace (last edited Feb 07, 2008 07:27PM) (new)

Alison | 1282 comments Mod
Yeah. Jane was relentless with that reproach. She didn't back off at all.

I would like to say, please don't be discouraged with the number of Jane Eyre threads. If you're still reading this section, or just a few chapters ahead, you're not running behind! These threads will be here forever, and you can post as you finish. Even in future months, we can come back and discuss as a new idea is mentioned. I don't want anyone to get overwhelmed or discouraged. Read at your own pace.

message 34: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Ditto Alison! Keep keepin' on, it's soooo worth it.

message 35: by Arctic (new)

Arctic | 571 comments I'm stuck in chapter five...someone give me a push. and maybe a spare hour or two as well.

Bronte's influence on Rowling is interesting and all, but I'm really curious who Bronte herself was influenced by. I understand she traveled in quite the esteemed literary circles after revealing herself as the author of this book, but before then?

Also, I'd read that both her parents were rabid academics, and that she and her siblings published their own mock literary magazine for the family in imitation of a famous London publication of the time. Apparently the pieces she put in it often reflected the authors she was reading at the time and it provided her an opportunity to 'try out' different writing styles. I should probably find the article again to cite all this...

anyone know any more possible influences?

message 36: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Heather, I can't help with giving you more time but I can give you encouragement! Please do keep reading. The story becomes most engrossing to me after Jane leaves school. I thought the early chapters were good for developing her character but the story itself really got good when she gets to Thornfield Hall. So if you're struggling right now, just know that in a few chapters you won't be able to put it down!

message 37: by Arctic (new)

Arctic | 571 comments Thanks, Sarah. I'll keep at it. What I really need to do is read more of my book and less of goodreads, I think.

message 38: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Advice for us all, methinks.

message 39: by Joanie (new)

Joanie | 197 comments I was thinking about your comment Rebecca and I think Jane's reaction is pretty typical of abused kids (actually except for when she speaks up-that's actually not as common) Kids who are abused believe it's because there is something wrong with them, that they did something wrong. Most kids also learn that if they fight back things just get worse. Certainly there wasn't as much known about trauma back in Bronte's day so I wouldn't expect her to have covered any of that in the book.

message 40: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Stirrat | 201 comments I am slowly re-reading Jane via my car cd player and really, really enjoying it. Who was it, Meghan?, who said that the story reminded her of Cinderella? I felt that right off as well. I am surprised how much more I am liking Jane than the other 2 times I have read it. Perhaps I am now at an age where I can read at a greater depth or can understand how these events shape a persons future? Regardless, Bronte's writing is beautiful and the interlude with Mr. Reed's ghost is fabulous.

message 41: by Arielle (new)

Arielle | 120 comments I have missed this book! It's so good to read it again.
I think Jane takes the abuse because she was brought up already "knowing" that she's a second class person: I think it said something like, below a servant because she couldn't earn her keep. A lot of one's self-image and character come from the environment one is raised in, and she's never known anything else. To me, her outbursts and occasional fighting back are kind of unexpected, and almost out of character for someone with her background. We see her as a girl who has a lot of gumption for someone raised to feel worthless. Her defending herself really shows her as someone with huge inner strength.

message 42: by Meghan (last edited Feb 12, 2008 03:37PM) (new)

Meghan Ok. I have a question about the "abuse"? I'm not denying that her life was pretty horrible with the Reeds and that no child should grow up 'unloved'. But how is what John did to her any different from sibblings nowadays (especially, say in step-sibbling situations)? I'm an only child so I don't know what "normal" sibbling relationships are, but from my friends who come from big families, this doesn't sound out of the ordinary. All who were younger sibblings have given me stories of how their older brothers (or sisters--who could be a lot meaner than brothers) used to just beat on them and they'd just have to take it because they were the younger one. (This is obviously without mom and dad's knowledge.)

message 43: by Anna (new)

Anna (anna_rose_reads) I would say that in most normal cases that sibling rivalry is tempered with love. Sure you fight with brothers and sister, but you don't loathe them on such a fundamental level. There are good times that balance out the fight. Also, there is not such a regular pattern of physical aggression. I think that the way John Reed treats Jane is physically abusive and the way that Mrs. Reed ignores her sons behavior makes her complicit in that abuse.

message 44: by Joanie (new)

Joanie | 197 comments I agree with you Olive, it's the constancy of the maltreatment and Mrs. Reed's sanctioning of it that makes it abusive. Yes, siblings fight, but there is also this thing that happens where if anyone else messes with your sibling you want to protect them. It's okay for you to hit them sometimes but no one else had better do that or even badmouth them because underneath it all you love them. Plus in most cases parents step in at when it gets to a certain point, none of this is the case with Jane and Reed kids.

message 45: by Dottie (last edited Feb 13, 2008 01:15PM) (new)

Dottie (oxymoronid) | 698 comments As a child of the late 1940's and early 1950's I find not so great a distance from the children and the issues in this novel -- only much later did the ideas of abuse arise regarding punishment of children by using a hand or another instrument (for example, I have vivid recollections of being spanked with a yardstick much sturdier than most such one finds these days) to give them a good swatting on the behind -- I'm not saying this was good, just saying that it pays to keep these things in the time perspective and not interpret on our own present day views of siblings and proper treatment of a child.

message 46: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca | 74 comments I just finished chapter four and am really enjoying this book more then I thought I would. I don't have much to add to the comments already posted. After the first couple of pages I really got into the book. I was tempted to quit last night because I just couldn't get past the second page, but when I started again today I just couldn't put it down.

message 47: by Anna (new)

Anna (anna_rose_reads) Dottie, while I understand that our concepts of discipline have changed, what happened to Jane was not a matter of discipline. Bronte isn't writing about punishment being issued for aberrant behavior; Jane is treated with systematic cruelty, which even at Bronte's time would have been considered wrong. The other characters outside of the Reeds recognize that Jane's treatment at the hands of her Aunt and John Reed go beyond the bounds of normal treatment to the point of cruelty.

message 48: by Bree (last edited Feb 17, 2008 11:41AM) (new)

Bree Sorry I'm behind the times here...i had to wait to get the book from ILL from another library. It took a while.

I fought with my younger brother and sister quite a lot but it was interspersed w/ us actually liking eachother. It seems that Jane is constantly subjected to John's hatred and the scorn of the two girls and that she recieves no sympathy or even consideration from Mrs. Reed...who from her treatment of John almost seems afraid of him and maybe that is because he will be Master of the house someday and she can't mess up her social position or house. Because it was a possibility that even though she is his mother, he could kick her out of the house at any time.

Jane does say in Chapt 2. that she "resisted all the way: a new thing for me.." Even Bessie says " She never did before" so i have to wonder if she has just finally gotten sick of it. They have pushed her too far and her little spirit just can't deal with it anymore, she is DONE! I hate when parents/caretakes threaten children with things like "say your prayers, Miss Eyre, when you are by yourself; for if you don't repent something bad might be permitted to come down the chimney and fetch you away" No wonder she saw ghosts. I like her soliloquy in chapt 2 where she is pondering on why this was happening to her...she seems to be a rational sort of child.

Chapt 3 I didn't like Jane's response to the thought of finding relatives. She doesn't like that she is treated so badly by her "family" because of her circumstances, because of her lack of relations and money. I didn't like that she has inherited those same prejudices towards those of lower class than if just because they are poor she could not feel love or be happy. Makes her just as opportunistic in her behavior as Mrs. Reed...who I really think puts up w/ John so she doesn't lose her position. So Jane will put up w/ her nasty relatives so she can have the opportunity to go to school. i guess since it's a boarding school that offers a little solace and the opportunity to get relief from her nasty family...but still the attitude is the same. I guess I was just really disturbed by Jane saying "I could not see how poor people had the means of being kind; and then to learn to speak like them, to adopt their manners, to be I was not heroic enough to purchase liberty at the price of caste" I just really thought it shallow of her to think that just because someone is poor they are unable to be kind or have manners. Of course that could just be the product of that time period.

Chapt 4...i'm just slightly surprised in the sudden shift of Jane's attitude toward Bessie...first chapter she is wondering what is that Bessie said about her that got her in trouble and in this chapter she is saying Bessie is "the best, prettiest, kindest being in the world" and on and on...of course Bessie comes in a couple pages later and calls her a "troublesome, careless child" of course it's cuz she has to meet w/ the guy from the school and Mrs Reed. But it seems a little off from the description of "kindest being in the world" =P

Hahahaha on Jane's answer to how to keep out of hell "I must keep in good health and not die"
and the other quote i like is "Psalms are not interesting" "I was about to propound a question, touching the manner in which that operation of changing my heart was to be performed.." spunky girl...i like her much better here than when she was talking to the doctor in the last chapter...much less whiney, her answers just crack me up. And I totally feel for her...she is being spunky, she likes standing up for herself, but when she realizes that it may hurt her chances for getting into school and away from Mrs. Reed, she starts crying. I think I would have done the same thing. Ugh and again with the adults threatening the curse of doom for bad behavior "read it with prayer, especially that part containing an account of the awfully sudden death of...a naughty child addicted to falsehood and deciet." No wonder gothic novels were so popular. The whole populous was brought up to believe that they would be subject to demons and ghosts for telling lies or bad behavior.

What a great line Jane gives after yelling at Mrs. Reed "Ere I had finsihed this reply my soul began to expand, to exault, with the strangest sense of freedom, of triumph, I ever felt. It seemed as if an invisible bond has burst, and that I had struggled out into unhoped-for liberty." I wonder if this is how abused women/children feel when they have finally gotten strong enough to face those that have so wrongly used them. And so realistic her natural response to that outburst..."A child cannot quarrel with it's elders, as I had done; cannot give it's furious feelings uncontrolled play...without experienceing afterwards the pang of remose and the chill of reaction." That whole scene and Jane's reactions to her outburst seems so real to me. Bessie's reaction to Jane's recent outbursts says to me again that this is something new to her...that this sticking up for herself is not how Jane usually acts.

Sorry that was so long...the only other observations i see so far is that it does seem eerily similar to Cinderella. And the parallels between this and Harry Potter are quite obvious.

message 49: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Consider how Jane had been raised, though. She probably didn't know any poor people and I'm sure she heard Mrs. Reed use some choice language when talking about those less fortunate. She was just ignorant.

message 50: by Bree (last edited Feb 17, 2008 08:12PM) (new)

Bree I'm sure that is the case (Mrs. Reed talks about Jane disparedging (i really need a spell check in these comment boxes), but Jane isn't without examples of kindness from those less fortunant than her... isn't Bessie of a lower caste than Jane and isn't Bessie kind and nice to her.

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