Orphan Status In Jane Eyre

1551 Words 7 Pages
When an orphan girl is placed into the home of unloving relatives, most would argue that the child would be negatively affected by her experience. However, this is not the case for Jane, the protagonist of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. The story begins in Jane’s childhood while she is living with the Reed family, her aunt and cousins. Her family treated her just as a servant would be treated, thus Jane felt like she did not belong. The novel follows Jane through her life as she goes to school, then begins her employment at Thornfield as a governess. Jane goes from an orphan with a very bleak future, to a governess for a financially well off family. Her past seems to stick with her as a constant reminder of where she has been and how she can …show more content…
Not only did her orphan status affect her life, the fact that she overcame gender difficulties and this orphan status had a great impact on her. During the time period of the novel, women had certain duties and were viewed lower than men. Jane had to rise above the gender stereotypes and think independently for herself and not rely on a man to do her work for her. Jane acted as though she was an aristocrat, while her status was that of a servant. Governesses of that time were expected to act like an aristocrat, so Jane had to act completely different than what she should have acted like because of her past. She didn’t let the fact that she was an orphan get in the way of her getting a very respectable job for that time period. However, when Mr. Rochester invited his guests over, the women treated Jane as though she was a servant and worthless. They would scoff at her and talk bad about Jane while she was in the room. Jane was truly powerless while she stayed at Thornfield because she was an employee of Mr. Rochester and had to depend on him financially. Throughout the novel, Jane was on a quest for independence and self-knowledge. She was seeking this independence because as a child, she was dependent on her aunt since her parents had died, and because she had never been allowed to be truly herself, she always had someone telling her what to do and how to do it. Throughout her life, all of the men she had met have to keep her submissive to them and inside her box. Mr. Brocklehurst was the first male authority figure that Jane encountered in her journey for independence, and he treated her as though her options and thoughts were useless. He treated the girls as though they were animals and preached at them. He was forcing them into a box rather than letting them create their own identities and find what religion meant to them instead. Mr. Rochester was the second male authority

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