Select one of the following prompts and answer completely, using evidence from the text to support your answer.

1.  Jane encounters a number of foes in the early part of the novel. What's Jane's approach to these characters? Give specific examples.  What's your reaction to this approach?

2. How important is social class in understanding the events so far?

3. At this point, what message do you think the novel is conveying?  Do you think it is a message about kindness? About love? About honesty?  Explain.

1/15/2013 01:49:34 pm

1. In the early chapters of the novel Jane encounters many foes that try to bring her down; they try to make her feel as if she were a child with no future and a disgraceful disposition. We see how Jane responds to the lies that Mrs. Reed tells Mr. Brocklehurst in chapter four. Mrs. Reed assures Mr. Brocklehurst that Jane is a "naughty child addicted to falsehood and deceit" on page 21 and on page 22 Jane gives Mrs. Reed a piece of her mind. She tells her with confidence and bravery "I am not deceitful:if I were, I should say I loved you; but I declare I do not love you: I dislike you the worst of anybody in the world except John Reed; and this book about the liar, you may give to your girl, Georgiana, for it is she who tells lies, and not I." She goes on to assure Mrs. Reed that she will never come to see her when she is grown up and that if anyone asks how she liked Mrs. Reed she would tell them that the very thought of her makes her sick. Although a young girl, Jane truly isn't afraid to tell people what she thinks of them and I love it! I admire her courage and the pride she shows by not allowing people to push her around. This stubborn behavior shows the change that is slowly evolving in the book and although harmless thus far, may end up getting Jane into deep trouble farther along in the book.

Kelti lorence
1/15/2013 03:34:25 pm

2. Throughout the entire book, social class standing is one of the main plot advances in the novel. Though often the system is unfair and unjust, such as Mrs.Reed's judgement of Jane for no reason other than her lower class father, understanding how and why the people of that time period thought is essential to recognizing the consequences of their actions. Through Janes journey to Thornfield, nearly every person she encounters observes the classes and lives true to them. Helen believes she is not religiously worthy of redemption and is therefore allocated a place of low society. Mr. Brocklehurst and Jane's entire family is rich, thinking highly of themselves because they must be "better" than her, as God has blessed them more fervently. Even while living at Thornfield, Jane is continually looked down upon by the rich party of Mr. Rochester's friends because she is "only a governess". However, her role in the world is much more of an asset to society and the economy than the unproductive life of Blanche Ingram.

1/16/2013 09:36:32 am

3. The main message of the book at this point could comprise of many things, but at the moment the message seems to be fairly dominated by love and at least somewhat by honesty. For instance, Mr. Rochester's description of Celine Varens serves not only to reinforce Jane's honesty as opposed to Celine's but also to show an aspect of love. This aspect can be described as being one sided and driven by passion rather than involving the love of both parties. Mr. Rochester expresses at one point Jane's contrast with Celine, saying, "You, with your gravity, considerateness, and caution were made to be the recipient of secrets...I cannot blight you..." (Ch.15) This shows how Jane's honesty has allowed Mr. Rochester to confide in her. Another example of honesty -- or lack thereof -- comes during Jane's discussion with Grace Poole on the day after the attempt on Mr. Rochester's life. When Jane questions Grace, she believes that Grace is not telling the truth when she seems to feign innocence. Jane, in return, then lies to Grace, saying that she had locked her door after hearing the laugh. (Ch.16) The lack of honesty causes Jane to be unsure of her ground and confused. She seems to feel the opposite when around Mr. Rochester. In addition to honesty, love also reappears in the same chapter, again involving Jane and Mr. Rochester. Jane, who has clearly been falling in love with Mr. Rochester, hears about Miss Ingram through Mrs. Fairfax. This produces a multitude of emotions in Jane, which she automatically tries to suppress. It suggests that love is often tumultuous and can lead to unexpected turns in a character’s life and inner self. All of these new events suggest that love and honesty will continue to be important to the message of Jane Eyre.

Celeste Yahr
1/16/2013 12:29:07 pm

2. Social class I think is one of the most important concepts you have to grasp to understand this book. You have to because the whole reason Jane is treated badly and basically the reason for the book is that she was of lower class of her Aunt and her family. If Jane was born into another higher class family and left to her Aunt she would not have been ostracized by her Aunt and cousins."Don't talk to me about her,John: I told you not to go near her: she is not worthy of notice. I do not choose that either you or your sisters should associate with her." Pg 20. This quote shows how much Mrs. Reed didn't like Jane. Mrs. Reed's dislike of Jane shows the social class right off the bat and as the book goes on we see this theme follow her where ever she goes. Like with Mr. Brocklehurst, He may have not disliked Jane so much if Mrs. Reed had never told him a lie about Jane. That would have changed her whole experience and Lowood. I would say that understanding the time period's social class is very important in understand the book in general.

Megan Wall
1/16/2013 12:40:58 pm

2. Understanding not only the different types of classes that existed in Jane Eyre's time period, but how it influences the interactions between the characters is essential for this novel. If a person were to read Jane Eyre's experience with Mrs. Reed they may think, "I can not believe this woman is getting away with locking a child in a room for something she didnt do!" However, when we step back and consider both the social class of the Reed family and Jane's parents, we come to realize Mrs. Reed could have been insecure. She could not treat Jane as one of her own, when she came from a low class, unless she wanted to be socially unacceptable. Though it is wrong and selfish, one can understand Mrs. Reed's deliema about the large difference of social class. Another example of knowing the importance of social classes comes from her conversations with Mr. Rochester. It seems odd, at first, that Jane is hesitant and seemingly caught off gard when Mr. Rochester nearly demands that she talks with him. Again, after considering the time periods and social classes, it becomes apparent that Jane is not being socially awkward for no reason, she is confused about talking to a man who is in a much higher social class. In closing, understanding social classes and the way people within them must interact with each other is essential to comprehending the dialogue between characters in Jane Eyre.

1/16/2013 01:42:39 pm

2. Social class is a huge part of this entire time period. In Jane Eyre's case, her class has been a prison for her from an early age. When living with her aunt, she would never be like her cousins because of her class. No matter how good she was the people of the house only saw her flaws and none of her good qualities. Going to Lowood is an example of her social class. She is sent to a charity school instead of a school such as her cousin went to. In Lowood, people such as Mrs. Temple were held back because of their class. Mrs. Temple is a smart, talented woman who couldn't advance in society for the simple fact that she was a woman. Once Jane arrives in Thornfield, she starts to see some of these barriers go away. The day she arrives, she is received warmly by Mrs. Fairfax and is treated with equality, something she hasn't yet experienced in her life. When meeting Mr. Rochester, they have a conversation that would never happen between people of their classes but Mr. Rochester sees something in her and enjoys talking to her. In this time period, this is unheard of. When the party happens at Thornfield though, she starts to feel some of these barriers again. The feeling of isolation returns. People ignore her because she is "only a governess" and don't invite her to play charades because "she looks too stupid for any game of the sort." The only person that has shown her any sense of equality is Mr. Rochester and this is the reason she has become attached to him. The social class is a barrier and will continue to be a barrier throughout the book and I am curious to see how she approaches it and tries to break through it.

Kendall Maslen
1/16/2013 02:11:24 pm

Early in the novel Jane encounters many foes that continually try to degrade her making her feel like less than she is. Though there are several people throughout the early chapters of the novel that treat her like dirt, Jane's reaction to them all is of the same essence. Jane stands her ground when she is spat at, she is strong willed, not afraid to speak her mind, and will fight for what is right. For example when Mrs. Reed lies to Mr. Brocklehurts about her, saying, "Above all, guard against her worst fault, a tendency to decit." (Ch.4). Jane, soon after Mr. Brocklehurst leaves, blows up at Mrs. Reed saying, " I am not decitful: if I were, I should say i loved you; but i declare i do not love you: I dislike you the worst of anybody in the world." (Ch. 4). "If anyone asked me how i liked you, and how you treated me, I will say the very thought of you makes me sick, and that you treated me with miserable cruelty." (Ch. 4). Here we can witness Jane standing her ground not willing to accept the lies told about her. Jane makes sure justice is served by clearing her title as "deceitful", arguing that if she was deceitful she would say she loved Mrs. Reed, but since she doesn't love her she won't say she does, therefore clearing her title.

We see Jane's stubbornness arise again when she is not willing to let Helen accept the way Mrs. Scatcherd treats her. "And if I were in your place I should dislike her; I should resist her. If she struck me with that rod, I should get it from her hand; I should break it under her nose." (Ch. 6). The fire in Jane to seek justice for Helen is the perfect example of Jane's approach towards all of her foes, she will not give up until justice is served. I predict Jane's strong willed personality will continue to play a big role in her interactions with other characters throughout the rest of the novel. This fire Jane has is what describes her as a character and helps drive the story.

1/16/2013 02:13:15 pm

This is #1, sorry forgot to put that.

1/16/2013 03:19:09 pm

2) Social Class is imperative to understanding events so far due to a number of reasons. First off, Jane's mother was disowned by her family due to marrying someone of a lower class. This led to the happening of everything that has and will occur in this book. Also, Jane is looked down on by her aunt and cousins due to her lower class birth, this causes Jane to take her very unique outlook on religion, love, family, and everything else in life. This outlook characterizes Jane all throughout the book. Finally, The class gap that exists between Mr. Rochester and Jane is contributory to her relationship with him. Even though he is of a higher class (or perhaps because of it) she speaks to him as an equal and is honest to the point of being frank. This of course leads to them falling in love.

Mary Sine
1/16/2013 03:19:41 pm

3. I think that the novel conveys many different messages like love, kindness, and honesty, among others, but I think one of the most important messages so far is to stand up for yourself and your beliefs. The message of standing up for yourself and your beliefs, in the face of oppression and when people try to discredit your beliefs, also ties in with the themes of love, kindness, and honesty, especially with Jane's character. Jane doesn't let Mr. Rochester push her around when they talk in chapters 14 and 15. In chapter 14, Mr. Rochester orders Jane to speak and, "Instead of speaking, I smiled; and not a very complacent or submissive smile either." Here, Jane defies Mr. Rochester and doesn't allow him to order him around, which helps cause their relationship to be less like a master and servant and more like a pair of colleagues who talk rather freely. Later in chapter 15, Mr. Rochester admires Jane for her honesty when comparing her to Celine, " had been her custom to launch out into fervent admiration of what she called my 'beauté mâle': wherein she differed diametrically from you, who told me point blank,..., that you did not think me handsome." Here he notices the contrast between Celine and Jane, when it comes to their honesty. Jane's honesty is a part of how she stays true to herself, because she doesn't lie to herself and others or try and change her beliefs for someone else or because of social demands. The theme of standing up for yourself and your beliefs in some ways is the foundation for Jane's character. Without this theme she wouldn't be defiant against injustice, or as honest as she is in the book because her character would be inherently different, making the story not happen in the same way that it does. In some ways all of the other themes are linked to and supported by this main theme, of staying true to one's self.

1/16/2013 03:21:54 pm

It is very important to understand social class in this novel. I think it is especially important to recognize the significance of the relationship between Jane and Mr. Rochester. Because Jane went to a school for orphans that was funded by charity, she is definitely part of the lower class. She is employed by a man who is of the upper class and is expected to work sort of like a slave. She does jobs that a lot of people wouldn’t really consider enjoyable, but she cant really improve her situation any farther because she is limited by her class and gender. Mr. Rochester is very well off and has had a lot of experience in life. Normally, a rich man would never even think about even talking about deep subjects with a woman, let alone one who is of a lower class than him. All of the people are friends and work with Mr. Rochester might even be ashamed of associating with Mr. Rochester if he were to make his feelings for Jane public. Jane’s mother was disowned by her family for marrying a man of lower class than her. It would be even more serious for a man to marry a person from a lower class.

Jacob Jones
1/16/2013 03:25:42 pm

2. Social class is very important in understanding the events of the novel so far. The period of time that the story takes place is in a time where social class is very important. People that are in the high class are treated with respect and the people in the lower class are treated as if they should not even be allowed to be with the high class. The lower class is treated very unjustly. In addition, if someone is in the lower class, like Jane is, it is just about impossible to get into a higher class or to be treated as an equal to someone that is in the higher class. In the beginning of the story, Jane is treated as if she is a servant. Ms. Reed treats Jane as more of a problem then part of her family, because Jane if of a lower class then Ms. Reed and her children. Even the servants at Gateshead will not do anything that she asks them because she is in the same class as them. The servants have Jane help them with what they have to do. Then when Ms. Reed sends her to school, she sends her to Lowood, which is a charity organization. So social class is very important in understand the events of the novel.

1/16/2013 04:20:04 pm

2. In Jane's world, social class limits what life people can lead. For example, Miss Temple could not go forward in her career because she was poor (and unmarried and a woman). Mrs. Reed did not consider Jane worthy of school and being with her family, as she was low social class. Jane is in love with Mr. Rochester, but she will not let herself pursue him or believe he is also in love with her. She believes that Mr. Rochester nad her cannot be together becuase of the difference of their social class. Without knowing that social class is an importand role in these circumstances, we would never know why Mrs. Reed hated Jane and her mother so much and why Jane refrains herself from loving Mr. Rochester.

1/17/2013 11:51:55 am

(2) Social class is important in understanding the events so far, because if Jane wasn't lower class than people like Mrs. Reed, they wouldn't treat her so poorly. It also prevents Jane and other people from doing things that they may want to do, like getting a better job or marrying who they want (cough cough Mr. Rochester cough cough).

1/24/2013 02:37:17 am

2. Understanding social class is vital in order to apprehand Jane's story. People in a high social class have money and experiences to go witht their money. The lower class works hard to earn what little they can get and still are looked down on and treated unjustly. Jane's social class confines her on what she is allowed to do and who she is supose to talk to to while as Mr. Rochester can make the rules and do as he pleases. Both their social clas's confine them in some way. Jane's does not let her go and experience the world, meet who she would like to and limits her dreams. Although Mr. Rochester can do has he pleases, his experiences from his past confine him and haunt him.

1/24/2013 02:40:44 am

1. As Jane is presented with these people who stand in her way, she tries her best to be civil but her honesty shines through, which ultimately makes the foes dislike her even more. We see this honesty come through when Miss Reed presents Jane to Mr. Brocklehurst for the first time at Gateshead and tells Brocklehurst to “guard against her worst fault, a tendency to deceit” (ch 4) and when Brocklehurst is gone, Jane tells Miss Reed “I am not deceitful: if I were, I should say I loved you; but I declare I do not love you: I dislike you the worst of anybody in the world except John Reed;” (ch 4) which does a pretty good job of shutting Miss Reed up. However, Jane doesn’t always think quite rationally when she is upset, for when she saw Helen getting punished for not cleaning under her nails, she told her, "And if I were in your place I should dislike her; I should resist her. If she struck me with that rod, I should get it from her hand; I should break it under her nose." (ch 6) I believe Jane has good intentions and tries her hardest to be honest yet respectfully, but she gets upset when people treat her unjustly. I like how she always stands up for herself and doesn’t lie to make it sound better, however I think she lets her temper get the better of her at times.

1/24/2013 04:38:31 pm

2. It is important to understand social class because it dictates Jane's entire world. The Reed family treated her unfairly because of her social class. She attended Lowood because of her social class. Mr. Brocklehurst enforced strict rules for her and her peers because of their social class. Conditions at Lowood were unreasonably poor because of low funding...because of their social class. She had an akward relationship with Mr. Rochester because of her social class. Every aspect of her life throughout her entire history was dictated by her social class. Without understanding this concept, many things events in the book wouldn't make complete sense, or any sense at all.

9/27/2013 05:51:27 pm

A little off-topic but just wanted to say I liked the layout of the site


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