Jane Eyres literary success of the time has been cheaply commercialized. In other words, Brontes novel never got the appreciation it deserved, in the areas it deserved. Many 19th century critics merely assigned literary themes to their reviews to get it over with. Critics commended Jane Eyre for everything from its themes to its form. However, their surface examinations amount to nothing without careful consideration of the deeper underlying background in Janes life where their hasty principles originate.
The widely discussed free will of Janes, her strong individuality, and independence are segments of a greater scheme, her life. For example: Janes childhood serves as the most important precedent for all of the self-realism although this purpose is widely disregarded. Even though many have celebrated Brontes carefully wrought description of her protagonists first eighteen years for its vivid pathos, no one has as yet accorded this childhood its deserved weight in the novels ultimate resolution.
Ashe 1) Jane Eyres genius develops in a series of internal reactions to external circumstances rather than shallow judgments about those internal happenings. The external circumstance is Janes childhood while the internal happenings are Janes emotional struggles. These emotions later become labeled as themes of reason, passion or maturation. However these emotions do not merely stand by themselves. Jane Eyre is about dealing and reacting to fate and her actions in the face of unchangeable circumstances. Janes fate consisted of her disaster of a childhood.
From the vantage of modern child psychology Janes background-ten years spent at Gateshed barren of affection or adult encouragement, and eight years at Lowood School marked by severe physical privation, to the cheerless philosophy of Helen Burns- can only exempt Brontes heroine from common standards of morality or human incentive. (Ashe 2) Jane Eyres obscure motivations to deal with Mr. Rochesters love in that arbitrary cold manner is a trait which takes root in her childhood trauma. Janes childhood trauma results as a product of her times at Gateshed and Lowood.
There were a series of irreversible problems that Jane had to deal with. She was born an orphan into a house devoid of love or respect for her. It is not overly emotionally healthy to live with the ostracism by the Reed family and the unrelenting anxiety over the chidings of the servants, the violence of John Reed, and the punishments and berating of Mrs. Reed. (Ashe 10) Evidently, Jane had this lifestyle since she was little. This can be inferred from Mrs. Reeds loving statement I hated it the first time I set my eyes on it-a sickly, whining, pining thing (7)
Jane was not only resented but also lacking any kind of love to balance her out. We know this right away when she is reading her book and she notes there were certain introductory pages I could not pass quite as a blank. They were those of the solitary rocks and promontories (9 ) In addition she mentions how she could not pass ober descriptions of forlorn regions of drear space (11) Jane also mentions she cannot tell that sentiment haunted the quite solitary churchyard All of this language symbolizes her emotional distress.
The coldness of the winter scenes in Bewick emphasizes the loneliness of some humans (Chitham 9) All of the places and factors mentioned are representative imagery for her loneliness. Jane is a prisoner within her solitude thus alluding to the name of the setting, Gateshead. In addition to loneliness, Jane often experience helplessness in Gateshed.. Jane exclaims, Why could I never please? Why was it useless to try to win anyones favor? (14) Then she discuses how even with all of Georgiana and Elizas negative traits they are happy and she is not.
Jane desperately seeks an answer for her unhappiness, I could not answer the ceaseless inward question- why I thus suffered; (18) In attempts to explain her loneliness, Jane realizes her role as an outcast. Seeing she did not belong at Gateshead, she readily admitted I was a discord at Gateshed halls; I was like nobody there (10) This feeling of being continuously an outcast was transferred on to Lowood where she was maliciously isolated by the headmaster of the school. He specifically told his students to shun her example if necessary.
Avoid her company, exclude her from your sports and shut her out from the universe (40) On top of even her brutal isolation, because she did not believe in psalms (35), Janes first and only friend died promptly. Whereas at Gateshed Jane only suffered from, human attention meant criticism (Markley 4) at Lowood Jane starved and freezed. Her prospects were far from bright because she was living within laws she could not control. Since laws in this section restricted Jane, the sections name is very appropriate. Throughout the whole of Janes childhood at Gateshed and Lowood, the Red Room scene receives increased commentary.
The Red Room incident serves as the main traumatic incident in Janes childhood. She is locked there by Aunt Reed as a form of punishment for talking back to John when he picks on her. The agony of the physical trauma which Aunt Reed inflicts upon her, m in addition to the obvious unfairness of the situation causes Jane prolonged pain. In addition, particular superstitions float around about the dead Uncle Reeds spirit in the room. To the young, nave, soft Jane this only means more fear and pain. The confined space of the room and its oppressive atmosphere further causes Jane unnecessary stress.
Jane does not eat, sleep and starts to hallucinate. She notes I thought the swift-darting beam was a herals of coming vision from another world. (12) Here is were it can be inferred that things in Janes head are not going too well. Jane is torn apart by so many feelings and they consequently overwhelm her. At the climax of her emotional distress, she faints. A situation like that in the Red Room can cripple a childs well-being and self esteem severely. Susan Bernstein, a psychologist, especially demonstrated grief and loss on children with the childhood depiction of Jane Eyre.
In her book, Madam Mope:The Bereaved Child in Brontes Jane Eyre she describes the kind of impact trauma has on kids. She talks about the continuing distress in the person life even as they move away from this particular incident. Sometimes the irrational decisions these people make in life center around the low self esteem of the people and the lack of hope. When an individual does not fully let go of a particular instance in their life when they were wounded emotionally or physically this incident stays to remind them of their pain.
This in turn causes skewed logic to avoid confronting the same situation again. Why does Jane always reject joy? It is because she does not believe in the concept of joy. Her cynicism is the product of her wounds. Janes lack of belief in herself causes her to fear failure. She herself says The feeling, the announcement sent through me was something stronger than joy-almost fear The mature Janes need for romantic love is matched by her assurance that such love does not exist for her ( Markley 5) Furthermore Janes horrible self-esteem can be seen through her physical and character evaluation of herself.
In first chapter, she refers to her physical inferiority (1) and she constantly puts herself down by denying herself happiness. This starts during her childhood and continues on to her adulthood. Older Jane depreciates herself claiming I know that had I been a sanguine, brilliant, careless, exacting. Handsome, romping child-though equally dependant and friendless-Mrs Reed would have endured my presence more complacently This is absurd reasoning coming from a mature person because it is utterly untrue and negative.
The reader sees the fallacy of this statement because he sees Jane as a victim of destiny. He watches her suffer beyond her control. This is a textbook example of horrible self-esteem and problematically blurred self-perception. Janes rejection as a child is further supported by the Attachment theory. First developed by John Bowldy, it proclaims that if a child does not experience an continuous intimate relationship with his mother (Faley, 7) then the child has devastating problems in adulthood. The results of this are severe skeptism and distrust with people in the future.
This is called attachment related avoidance. these people prefer not to rely on others or open up to others (Faley 15) This exactly happened to Jane Eyre. In her life with Rochester she has been hesitant to believe his love. Janes refusal during courtship to be pampered or flattered does not betoken pride, by instead a belief that she does not deserve to be treated well. (Ashe 15) She has never experienced it. This is what she means when she notes human being never enjoy complete happiness in the world (67) She is cynical because she never received love as a child.
As Jane berates herself violently for her own giddy idealism (Ashe 4) she does not realize that her reasoning is completely askew. Jane is not exactly the feminist realist that she is perceived to be. Rather she chooses passion over reason, for a reason. Jane Eyre suffered from severe depression as a child. According to the American Psychiatric Association Jane Eyre has five of the eight symptoms. First she loses her appetite the day she is locked in the Red Room. She is unable to sleep.
We can infer this when she says for me, the watches of that long night passed in ghastly wakefulness She has a lack of interest in her usual passions and even does not want to read her favorite Gullivers Travels. She suffers from pangs of unjustified guilt. She notes All said I was wicked and perhaps it might be so. (18) Finally, suicidal thoughts torture her and she dreams of killing herself by not eating or drinking in the Red Room. Janes depression is also self-proclaimed. She says, My habitual mood of humiliation, self-doubt, forlorn depression fell damp on the embers of decaying ire (11)
To finalize my point about Charlotte Brontes intent in describing Jane Eyre, the parallels between Brontes life and her character Jane need to be examined. Bronte herself experienced a period of depression and ill health (Rollyson 5) Bronte was known to feel keenly the solitude of her existence. (25) The most basic facts of Brontes life reveal a history of loss of guile similar to Janes (26) The name that Jane Eyre was originally published under was An Autobiography. From this one can deduce that Bronte cared to make more than a surface feministic point in her book.