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Jane Eyre: As an Outsider
Transcript of Jane Eyre: As an Outsider
Sarah Pressley Quote 1 "There were but eight; yet somehow as they flocked in, they gave the impression of a much larger number. Some of them were very tall; many were dressed in white; and all had a sweeping amplitude of array that seemed to magnify their persons as a mist magnifies the moon. I rose and curtseyed to them: one or two bent their heads in return, the others only stared at me." (Ch. 17, p. 173) The author describes these people as big and mighty, like they are gods in Jane's eyes. She is amazed at their fabulous clothes and handsome faces. She is looking at them admirably while they hardly look upon her at all. They look over her like she doesn't exist in their world, like a nuisance that does not deserve a second glance other than to make it disappear. Bronte portrays her as an outsider from her early childhood living in Mrs. Reed's house almost as a peasant. Even in Mr. Rochester's house, she worked her entire stay at Thornfield Hall, even the day before her wedding at a distance from everyone else. She chose her status as an outsider, though, because she wanted to keep her personality and remain true to herself. She did not want to be a trophy wife. Quote 2 "I was a discord in Gateshead Hall; I was like a nobody there; I had nothing in harmony with Mrs. Reed or her children, or her chosen vassalage. If they did not love me, in fact, as little did I love them. They were not bound to regard with affection a thing that could not sympathize with one amongst them; a heterogeneous thing, opposed to them in temperament, in capacity, in propensities; a useless thing, incapable of serving their interest, or adding to their pleasure; a noxious thing, cherishing the gems of indignation at their treatment, of contempt of their judgment." Even at the beginning of her life, Jane doesn't fit in with her surroundings. She is really an outsider since the start. The things that set her apart and make her different from her aunt's family creates her injustice and her inability to let unfairness come over her. There also seems to be no compromise, of integrating a "heterogeneous thing" like Jane into a homogeneous household. Those who are unlike in temperament will be incapable of living in harmony. In this passage, Jane characterizes herself as different. Quote 3 "And, with a strange pang, I now reflected that, long as I had been shut up here, no message had been sent to ask how I was, or to invite me to come down: not even little Adele had tapped at the door; no even Mrs Fairfax had sought me. 'Friends always forget those whom fortune forsakes,' I murmured, as I undrew the bolt and passed out." (Ch. 27) Here, Jane is experiencing the adult version of isolation. She had been shunned before, once in adolesence by her "foster" family and then again during her early teens by the other students of her school during Mr. Brocklehurst's regime and again when Miss Temple married and relocated. This was a new strain of loneliness; it was not necessarily a pain or a feeling of deep despair, but rather a numbness and almost an out-of-body experience. She realizes that those who she was closest to in her current set of circumstances had abandoned her in her time of need, the essence of a fair-weather friend. Jane was accepted by her pupil and her house manager, but never really included in their daily routines or affections. Her fortune, having just reached one of is lowest points, seemed to dictate her companions' opinion of her. She feels almost disowned by those who she viewed most dearly, and this comes not as a surprise. Her previous experiences with happiness had always been swiftly accompanied by prolonged periods of oppression and despair. Quote 4 "It is a very strange sensation to inexperienced youth to feel itself quite alone in the world, cut adrift from every connection, uncertain whether the port to which it is bound can be reached, and prevented by many impediments from returning to that it has quitted. The charm of adventure sweetens that sensation, the glow of pride warms it; but then the throb of fear disturbs it; and fear with me became predominant when half-an-hour elapsed and still I was alone. I bethought myself to ring the bell. " Here we see Jane's analysis of the places she has been and her childhood. While she was growing up she never experienced any ties or bonds with anyone inparticular. She says, "to feel itself quite alone in the world" meaning she has had to go through struggles and everyday life problems and trials alone. She then goes on to talk about the things that make it more exciting and less alone but then fear gets in the way and changes her mood and perception to a negative one. Jane feels that adventure and "glow of pride" warms her heart but that fear disturbs everything. AP Prompt "I was a discord in Gateshead Hall; I was like nobody there; I had nothing in harmony with Mrs. Reed or her children, or her chosen vassalage. If they did not love me, in fact, as little did I love them. They were not bound to regard with affection a thing that could not sympathize with one amongst them; a heterogeneous thing, opposed to them in temperament, in capacity, in propensities, a useless thing, incapable of serving their interest, or adding to their pleasure; a noxious thing, cherishing the gems of indignation at their treatment, of contempt of their judgment."
In a well-organized essay, analyze the diction, imagery, and/or syntax Bronte uses to portray the extent of isolation that Jane experiences in her childhood.