Essay on Responding to Pain in Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea

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Responding to Pain in Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea

In both Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea, the main characters Jane and Antoinette are faced with hardships that affect each of them in different ways. In the passages below, the authors Charlotte Bronte and Jean Rhys illustrate that Jane and Antoinette grew fond of inanimate objects in response to the hurt that they had suffered in life. Although Jane and Antoinette appear to have come from painful backgrounds, each deals with her pain in a different manner, and therefore each leads a very different life into adulthood. Because of their varying attitudes towards life and hardships, Jane and Antoinette lived very different life styles despite similarities early in life.
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It was not a stick, but a long narrow piece of wood, with two nails sticking out at the end, a shingle, perhaps. I picked it up soon after they killed our horse and I thought I can fight with this, if the worst comes to the worst I can fight to the end though the best ones fall out and that is another song. Christophine knocked the nails out, but she let me keep the shingle and I grew very fond of it, I believed that no one could harm me when it was near me, to lose it would be a great misfortune."

--from Wide Sargasso Sea, pg 37

During her childhood Jane faced many hardships. Her mother and father died when she was too young to remember, and Jane was left in the hands of those who had little security to offer her as a young girl. She was very lonely and had a doll to be her object of "affection." She felt that "human beings must love something" and therefore loved that doll. Bronte's calling the doll an object of "affection" rings into the reader's ear that Jane had no other to love. There was a "dearth of worthier objects." Hence, Jane was forced to find love elsewhere than in her human associates. In fact Jane's feeling of rejection from those around her caused her to think lowly of herself. As she entered the room in which her doll resided she gazed around "to make sure that nothing worse than"

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