Becoming Jane

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"I will never come to see you when I am grown up; and if any one asks me how I liked you, and how you treated me, I will say the very thought of you makes me sick, and that you treated me with miserable cruelty" -Jane to Mrs Reed

Jane Eyre

Amen. AMEN. Jane, I applaude you. This passage hit me, and hit me hard. I have been treated in the past as Jane was. There were a thousand times when I wish I could have said this, so many times when I was thinking exactly what Jane thought. If only I had had the courage to say this to my "Mrs Reed". Mine too, called me a devil child, spreading this to all her friends and anyone who would hear: most of them believed her. Being called wicked (it still continues to this day) when you are really just defending yourself  hurts; it cuts deep. I, like Jane, found solace in my books in my youth. They, along with theater, were an escape from the harsh reality of life. Free from Mrs Reed's evil grasp, Jane finds herself a new person.I know Jane. I am Jane.
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" Her spirit is in pieces
Her heart has broken at the seams
She craves one drop of kindness
But all she has are shattered dreams
She curses the injustice
And begs to know the reason why
She suffers in this prison
When all she wants to do is fly
Over mountains
Over oceans
How her restlessness stirs
For she longs for her liberty
When will liberty be hers?"

excerpt from "The Orphan"

Jane Eyre: the musical

rock on, Jane.

 

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2 Comments

As the story progresses, we will see that Jane is less and less likely to suffer in silence, but as her circumstances change she still operates within some carefully-prescribed cultural norms. If your entry had been about how Jane is a boring Victorian fuddy-duddy, I would point out all the details that you pointed out, and note where she rebels against social expectations. But there is another side to her, one that fully accepts many of the Victorian values that, from the perspective of the 21st century, circumscribe her world. (But I agree, she's a great character with an inner strength that gives her sufferings a noble, heroic character.)

I agree with Dr. Jerz, Jane is a noble heroic character (at least thus far). She does rebel against Mrs. Reed and John in her own way too.
All I could think of when reading this part of the novel was that she was one of those quiet killer types. The ones who are never loved and finally burst out in reaction against the injustice of silently dealing so many times.
I found it ironic that the character who did act continually this way (Helen Burns) died without ever acting out, but she too admired Jane when she (Jane) excepted an unjust punishment.
I think it goes to show that while Jane will fit into her society as best she can, she is never going to truly accept it.

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