Jane Eyre A Book For And About The Neglected And The Neglectful

1907 words - 8 pages

"A book for and about the neglected and the neglectful".
Explore the methods which writers use to present the idea of neglect in light of this statement.
'Neglect' is defined as 'the state of being uncared for' and within Jane Eyre, neglect is a constant theme. This is evident in the way Jane is neglected from childhood, and how this has a knock-on effect on the way she behaves throughout the rest of her life. Other minor characters such as: Adela Varens, Mrs Fairfax and Bertha are victims of neglect. Through language, structure and the form of the novel Bronte creates an air of isolation. This in turn emphasises, primarily, Jane's neglect. The main way in which this is explored throughout ...view middle of the document...

Red imagery is a recurring theme, and is used again in the following chapter when Jane is in the red room. "Hung with curtains of deep red damask"; this repeated red imagery reinforces the point made earlier. 
Bronte uses language to make the reader feel sympathetic toward Jane, which in turn highlights the neglect she faces. When she is reading 'Bewick's History of British Birds', quotations are highlighted by Jane that reflect her mood. "The haunts of sea-fowl; of the 'solitary rocks and promontories' by them only inhabited". She draws parallels between herself and the birds she is reading about. This use of contrast, and repetition of words such as 'solitary', 'dreary', and 'stranded' places emphasis on her inner isolation. 
Further on in life, Jane can be seen as the victim of neglect due to her lack of identity within society. Technically, she should be upper-class but as a governess she is nearly the equivalent of a servant. This is pointed out to her at a young age when John Reed says to her "You are dependent, mamma says; you have no money; your father left you none; you ought to beg". She has been fully aware of her situation from childhood. This lack of social identity isolates Jane, she is neither upper nor lower class. She is a victim of neglect from either end of the spectrum. This is evident during Rochester's dinner party, in which a group of upper class guests attend: "I have one word to say of the whole tribe - they're a nuisance." This is in reference to governesses, this quotation high lights how the guests disassociate themselves from Jane's 'tribe'. Similarly, Jane makes little or no effort to interact with servants in the household, apart from Mrs Fairfax and Adela. Arguably, the other residents of Thornfield know about the secret of Bertha so in this way Jane is not being told a secret, which makes her an outsider in this way too. It can be said that in some respects Jane brings the social hierarchy based isolation upon herself, in the way she deliberately aggravates the Reeds' family and refused to talk to other servants in fear of degrading herself. "I compared myself with her [Grace Poole]; and found we were quite different. Bessie Leaven had said I was quite a lady; and she spoke truth- I was a lady." This quotation implies that Jane thinks she is higher up in the social hierarchy than the other servants at Thornfield. 
Bronte uses recurring literary devices throughout 'Jane Eyre' to emphasise her isolation and neglect. Such as; pathetic fallacy as well as repeated juxtaposition between Jane and birds. This can be seen in; "The great horse chestnut at the bottom of the orchard had been struck by lightning in the night." this can be symbolic of the solitary Jane, and the stormy weather. This not only reflects what is to come with the reveal of Bertha - but also symbolic of herself and how she is 'struck' by the discovery on her wedding day. This is important because she is neglected, and isn't given enough respect by...

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