I got 25 out of 30 from this essay in my AQA English mock. Enjoy!
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is a fictional autobiography and bildungsroman novel where it traces the personal development and metaphorical journey of a young female who struggles to maintain a separate identity and independence in the suffocating pressure of her culture. She learns how to grapple with the societal standards of her gender which frequently conflicts with her intuitive sense of self allowing Jane to soon face for any future barriers and situations.
As the audience we witness the level of cruelty and unjust actions targeted towards the young version of Jane, narrated by the older Jane, which makes it even more terrible as she is only just a small child. Jane Eyre is a child but more known to be an orphan who has somewhat a low and minimum status such as wealth, land, property and family. This immediately creates the setting and background of a little and vulnerable girl who is likely to experience a tough life in her short comings as she grows up. This bildungsroman novel educates Jane through a metaphorical journey to make Jane encounter several feelings of emotions and events. Mr Brocklehurst for instance is a religious and hypocritical man who follows the foundations and extremes of christian faith by acting absurd upon others showing the complete opposite of living a more fair and kind christian life. We can see how he tries to redeem Jane’s life of sinning through his carried out harsh punishments that he also uses on other girls, symbolising the more negative things ahead of her. It could also influence her character by being a way of making Jane more resilient and composed who needs to be more indirect with situations like this which helps to suppress her more fiery and passionate side that a lot of people back then would see as an undesirable quality to have.
Following Jane and her character, she appears as ‘plain’, ‘small’, and ‘obscure’ who has to bear the emotional pain and humiliation of Brocklehurst’s punishments so we get a sense of vulnerability of her being displayed as powerless in front of unjust people and injustice which tends to juxtapose young Jane normally being able to confidently call out upon others for their lack of honestly and confide into the truth. This significant moment is where Jane is labelled as a victim and gets negatively viewed upon by others. As a girl during the Victorian era, children were displayed to be innocent kids that had to follow the strict curriculum and orders of their parents and furthermore those who had rebelled against adults and traditional rules would be presented as rude and immature or in a much more moral way, a sin. This led them to be considered as outcasts in society back then and marginalised for their actions. Bronte may have intended to make her audience empathise with the children facing these sorts of measures and show the authority and control parents possess over their children almost as if they are robots with no emotions themselves. To add onto this conceptual point even more we hear in the novel of small Jane presented as an ‘alien’, that may perhaps imply the thought of a victim being isolated from the rest of society. This may be a majority of people’s thinking on people like Jane. It also brings along the idea of social hierarchy and how people at her level are treated unfairly or inhumanely with little to no rights at all compared to those that consist of a higher role symbolising imprisonment.
As a whole, we manage to see repetitive occurrences of Jane being treated as being one of ‘God’s own lambs’, for example during Jane’s adulthood phase we are introduced with the character Blanche Ingram who uses her social status to ridicule Jane commenting on things such as beauty or her working position which is her being a governess (someone who teaches kids). Here Bronte decides to display Jane as a poor female that faces difficulties with social positions, prejudice, class and etc. In many ways we can see Jane portrayed as a helpless victim who finds it hard to live a good life however due to her being able to maintain a calm attitude towards things and letting go of the mentality of a victim she shows to us her strong mental strength. We as modern reader are drawn to her life of suffering but at the same time we don’t by Jane counteracting these kind events building up a character with a strong personality.