How Is Sympathy Created for Jane Eyre in the Opening Three Chapters of the Novel?

In: Novels

Submitted By morrisjordan
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Sympathy is created for Jane within the opening three chapters of Jane Eyre in a number of different ways. It becomes evident from the very beginning of the novel that Jane is oppressed by her surroundings and the Reed family. She is physically and psychologically abused and clearly made to feel as she is worth less than the family who keep her. Despite this there is a comforting undercurrent that flows through the opening three chapters as the reader realises that Jane Eyre is recalling her troublesome childhood from a position of fulfilment.
The opening of the novel creates an instantaneous impression of sympathy through the use of pathetic fallacy. The rain in the opening paragraph is described as “so penetrating that outdoor exercise was now out of the question”. This is extremely symbolic as Jane is confined to the house because of the weather conditions. Even though it is later revealed in the next paragraph that Jane was “glad of it” what Bronte does here is confine Jane to one place because of factors outside of her control. The weather then can be seen as a metaphor for Jane being denied certain things because of factors she cannot control. For example she is later labelled “less than a servant” as she is a dependant and subsequently denied the same treatment as the other children but it is no fault of Jane’s that both of her parents have died. The weather, therefore, is reflecting this idea and creating sympathy by metaphorically representing the struggle Jane faces against her oppressors.
The physical abuse Jane receives from John Reed also makes the reader feel sympathetic towards her. Jane states that John Reed “bullied and punished” her which gives the reader the impression that he is not just unkind to Jane but extremely cruel as the word ‘punished’ has strong connotations of cruelty. Following this description John strikes Jane “suddenly and…...

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