Commentary Chapter Iv 1 Fg


Published on

Published in: News & Politics, Technology
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Commentary Chapter Iv 1 Fg

  1. 1. Gervais Flora Jane Eyre, Commentary chapter IV from p 28 to 31 After the event of the red-room causing Jane’s illness, Mr. Lloyd tells Mrs. Reed it would be better for Jane to send her to a school. Jane is longing for this day to come but, still traumatised, she apprehends the meeting with Mr. Brocklehurst, who is to decide of her entering the school of Lowood. This extract occurs just after the meeting, during which Mrs. Reed criticized Jane. This is a relevant passage because it’s the first time Jane rebels herself against her aunt and it depicts the end of an age. This extract also presents Jane as a child living in a world, where values are reversed. We will also focus on the strategy of the narration. This extract of Jane Eyre depicts a world where values and roles are reversed. It opens on the description of Mrs. Reed, the first and only one in the novel. Here, Mrs. Reed is the one embodying authority. The narrator gives her masculine physical traits such as her “robust frame, squareshouldered and strong-limbed”; also, her under-jaw is much more developed and her chin is large and prominent. All these physical characteristics reinforce the notion of authority embodied by Mrs. Reed. Since there is no father figure, Mrs. Reed needs to replace it. Mrs. Reed’s description is very negative: Jane saw in her her torturer. “ Her household and tenantry were thoroughly under her control; her children, only at times defies her authority”, from this quotation the narrator demonstrates that Mrs. Reed’s authority was respected and thus it will be even more impressive to see Jane rebelling herself against Mrs Reed. The values of the
  2. 2. Victorian era are not respected: a child needs to obey to the parents, otherwise he/she will be punished, but here the contrary happens. “It seemed as if an invisible bond had burst”, this is the observation made by Jane. We realize, as she does, that roles are inversed between Jane and Mrs. Reed in this specific moment of her childhood. In fact, in the second part of the extract, Jane rebels and attacks verbally Mrs. Reed. Mrs. Reed imposes her authority by ordering Jane to return to the nursery but Jane refuses and comes closer to her in order to talk to her: “speak I must; I had been trodden on severely, and must turn”. Thus, Jane has a violent discourse against Mrs. Reed accusing her of being deceitful and cruel. Jane even threatens her aunt to tell the truth to everybody in Lowood, which would inevitably threaten her future as a respected woman in the society. This inversion is amplified at the end of the extract, which can be illustrated by the enumeration of the frightened questions of Mrs Reed “Jane, you are under a mistake: what is the matter with you? Why do you tremble so violently? Would you like to drink some water?” answered by a calm and strict “No, Mrs. Reed.” Jane has become the authoritative figure and she dominates Mrs Reed, who completely looses her composure at Jane’s rebellion. Jane acknowledges that she shouldn’t be acting that way when she says to the reader “ she asked, in the tone in which a person might address an opponent of adult age than such as is ordinarily used to a child» but this is exactly what she wants. The code of values is not respected by both characters since Mrs. Reed addresses to Jane calling her by her full name “ How dare you affirm that, Jane Eyre?» Now Mrs. Reed seemed to be full of politeness and kindness towards Jane because she is afraid of her. The second element introduced by this extract is Jane as a child. This description of Jane will help the reader understanding Jane’s personality and actions as an adult. Jane acknowledges that she was a wild child, especially when she lived at Mrs. Reed’s house. Jane refers to it several times during the narration of the fight with Mrs. Reed when she says “ a passion of resentment fomented now within me” or “Shaking from head to foot, thrilled with ungovernable excitement”. Jane was a passionate and ungovernable child and
  3. 3. this is why Mrs. Reed has so much difficulty with her. Jane was always trying to challenge her authority, which was unacceptable at that time. Mrs. Reed had always been respected by her own children and she feels she did her best with Jane and that there’s nothing more she can do for that child, illustrated by Mrs. Reed rhetorical question “What is the matter with you?» Moreover, the fight with Mrs. Reed is even more impressive because of the violence of Jane’s discourse and her behaviour. One could think that Jane suffers mentally. But Jane gives reasons for her behaviour. Firstly, she is mad and aggressive because of what had just happened. Mrs. Reed told Mr. Brocklehurst that Jane was a deceitful child and that she had a bad character. Mr. Brocklehurst is the symbol of Jane’s only way out from this prison and now that Mrs. Reed talked badly about her, she feels that she will be locked up here forever. To Jane, her rebellion is completely justified because of her aunt’s behaviour. Another reason of Jane’s temper is the absence of love. She exclaims to her aunt “ You think I have no feelings, and that I can do without one bit of love or kindness; but I cannot live so”. Jane suffers from the absence of her family and above all, from the absence of love and tenderness. Jane mentions the event of the red room as a third explanation for her current wilderness. In fact, Jane will never forget her aunt for having locked her up without any mercy in the room where her uncle died. This room traumatised her “ into the red- room, and locked me up there, to my dying day; though I was in agony; though I cried out, while suffocating with distress, “Have mercy! Have mercy, aunt Reed!””. When we read this extract, we can note an ambiguity in the focalisation. Is it Jane as child or as an adult talking? There are two points of view: the child perspective and the adult watching and observing the scene from a distant eye. It becomes difficult for the reader to distinguish who is narrating. It comes from the fact that Jane pretends to be a child when she narrates the event but she uses a researched vocabulary that wouldn’t be used by a child. If we take the example of the description of Mrs. Reed, we see that the narrator wants to convey us the feelings of the child but it’s the adult Jane, who finds the right
  4. 4. words to describe Mrs. Reed and the feelings she experienced. It is clear that some remarks about the situation come from the adult Jane such as “Mrs. Reed might be at that time some six or seven and thirty”. Others from the child when Jane thinks “Speak I must”. The ambiguity concerning the focalisation comes from the fact that child memories are told and observed by the adult Jane. The goal of the narrator is to force the readers to side with her. Her strategy is to pretend to be a child. In fact, she tells the story from the child perspective because she knows we will pity her after all the things she suffered in her childhood. In order to do so, she gives a very negative description of Mrs. Reed presenting her as her torturer, who has no compassion for Jane, neither kindness nor love. Jane’s behaviour thus becomes all the most justified. This extract is part of the general strategy of the narrator: she’s building up the background, her childhood, which can justify her character and behaviour as an adult. This extract depicts the end of an era in Jane’s life. Soon after the fight with Mrs. Reed, Jane will leave the house and she will never talk to her again. Jane managed to go beyond her limits by challenging her aunt’s authority and reversing the roles. In the next chapters, Jane will behave differently in Lowood. It’s the starting of a new life. This extract gives us an example of the strategy of the narrator. Jane is manipulating us so that we might side with her. She is not an objective and thus not a reliable narrator.