Disparate Dwellings in Jane Eyre
In Charlotte Bronts Jane Eyre, each distinct place where Jane stays represents a different point in her life, and they each have an impact on her as a whole. In the novel, both Gateshead and Lowood Institution have a great effect on Jane, but a reader might wonder which place is she better off at? Jane Eyre is much better off at Lowood than she was at Gateshead Hall. She is not continually physically abused at Lowood Institution, as she is at Gateshead.
Jane is allowed to have friends and to confide in people whom she loves and trusts. At Lowood, she is able to obtain partial freedom within her education, which later leads her job as a governess. Even though both residences have their own significance for Jane, she has a better life at Lowood Institution.
As Jane grows up, she stays with her Aunt Reed at Gateshead Hall, where she is subject to multiple accounts of abuse. While a child grows up, it is crucial that they are nurtured and loved so that they become respectable people later in life. Jane, however, never experiences a familial love and, therefore, feels a sense of isolation her entire time at Gateshead. Instead of experiencing this love, she becomes used to physical and verbal abuse equating time with family. Accustomed to John Reeds abuse, I never had an idea of replying to it; my care was how to endure the blow which would certainly follow the insult (Bront 9). The words never and certainly imply that this abuse has happened multiple times with no consequence for John. At Lowood, she is punished for things that she has done, not made up scenarios in which Jane is always at fault.
When Jane first arrives at Lowood, she still feels a small sense of isolation, but that is short-lived. She soon meets Helen Burns, who is an unbelievable influence on Jane. Lowood Institution allows Jane to gain friendships and to open up to people about her past experiences. Meeting different people at Lowood has a huge impact on Janes life. If all the world hated you, and believed you wicked, while your own conscience approved you, and absolved you from guilt, you would not be without friends (Bront 79). Helen helps Jane realize that shes not an awful, unhappy person just because people have told her so her entire life. She is whoever she sets out to be. Jane has friends who are there for her and will stick by her side no matter what. She not only gains support, but also advice that she carries with her throughout the rest of her life.
In Janes life, the decision to leave Lowood in search of a new servitude becomes imperative in constructing her future. She is allowed partial freedom and obtains an education which later on allows her to get a job and meet her future husband. Her education is well-earned and benefits her immensely. But Servitude! That must be a matter of fact. Anyone may serve: I have served here for eight years Can I not get so much of my own will? Is not the thing feasible? Yes“yes“the end is not so difficult (Bront 100). The discipline and schooling at Lowood makes it easy for Jane to figure out a way to find a new residence for servitude. Jane also knows that she can do something with her life than just feeling isolated and detached. She can find happiness by following her own passions.
Even though both Gateshead Hall and Lowood Institutions remain critical points that help to shape Jane Eyres life, she endures much less hardship at Lowood. Mrs. Reed and the Reed children are no longer able to harm or isolate Jane. Lowood allows for Jane to create new friendships in which she can confide in those whom she eventually loves and trusts. She now possesses some semblance of family. Janes partial freedom and education, which she could have only obtained at Lowood, help her to discover new paths in life. All throughout Jane Eyre, Jane suffers at Gateshead but, on the other hand, thrives at Lowood. If she was truly better off at Gateshead, why would Jane be so eager to leave when the concept of schooling was made a concrete possibility? She wishes to escape the oppression she experienced at Gateshead.
Bront Charlotte. Jane Eyre. EMC/Paradigm Pub., 1998.
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