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Orphans in Jane Eyre Essay

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Orphans in Jane Eyre


Jane, one of the orphans in the novel Jane Eyre, is portrayed as the victim of charity. She is also seen in others' eyes as something less or lower than themselves. Orphans are seen by wealthy people as children who are in need of their charity, and also who lack in morals, ambition, and culture. Jane tells about how she has no family; her mother and her father had the typhus fever, and "both died within a month of each other" (58; ch. 3). As if this is not bad enough, she is also excluded from being a part of the Reed family:
 
Me, [Mrs. Reed] had dispensed from joining the group, saying, 'she regretted to be under the necessity of keeping me at a distance; but that until she heard from Bessie, and could discover by her own observation that I was endeavoring in good earnest to acquire a more sociable and childlike disposition, a more attractive and sprightly manner - something lighter, franker, more natural, as it were - she really must exclude me from privileges intended only for contented, happy little children. (39; ch. 1)
 
Further, after Jane comes out of the red room, Mrs. Reed and the children go out for a carriage ride and leave Jane behind (55; ch. 3). Again, at Christmas time, "From every enjoyment I was, of course, excluded: my share of the gaiety consisted in witnessing the daily apparelling of Eliza and Georgiana, and seeing them descend to the drawing-room, dressed out in thin muslin frocks and scaarlet sashes, with hair elaborately ringleted" (60; ch. 4). This not only shows her exclusion from family and family gatherings, but also that she is not perceived to be as good, happy, or sociable as her cousins.
 
Her cousin John even makes her out to be something less than he, "You...


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...nineteenth century was not as easy as it was for her. Most orphans were put into a workhouse and had to deal with worse conditions than she. Orphanhood was very prevalent throughout the whole novel. Almost every character was an orphan or became one. Not many characters had family members that they were able to speak of, or of they did, they were not part of the immediate family, as Jane was with the Reeds.
 
 
As lonely as Jane was, she was not as isolated, as one may believe. She was one amongst eighty girls at Lowood Institution who did not have a mother or a father, let a lone family members to care for them. She was even around many other orphans throughout the novel including the Reeds, the Rivers, and Adele.
 
Works Cited:

Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. London, Penguin Books Ltd.: 1996. (Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Michael Mason).


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