Jane Eyre is a story of a girl who, after enduring many hardships in life, finally finds true love and her own bit of happiness. It chronicles her life from the age of ten. After staying with abusive relatives she is sent to a boarding school run by a stingy, cold-hearted old man named Mr. Brocklehurst. Her best friend there, Helen Burns dies when the school is hit by a fever epidemic.Guided by a kindly teacher, Miss Temple, Jane stays at the school to teach.
When she is eighteen she seeks another job teaching a young French girl named Adele at Thornfield Hall. During her stay at Thornfield, Jane falls in love with Adeles almost-forty guardian Mr.Rochester. She agrees to marry him, but on the day of the wedding Jane discovers a terrible secret. Mr.Rochester is married to an insane woman who lives on the third floor of his house. Jane leaves, angry and heartbroken. After many trials and tribulations, they find each other again and marry. Throughout the story many people touched Jane Eyre’s life. In this essay I will discuss three of those characters. Bessie, who I loved, Mr.Brocklehurst, who I greatly disliked, and Helen Burns who I would love to be friends with.
After thinking for awhile about which character I liked the best I finally came up with Bessie the nurse at Gateshead. Although Bessie was a minor character at the beginning of the book she is still my favorite. This is for a number of reasons. For starters, although my first impression of her was that she was cruel and uncaring that quickly changed when she began to show kindness to Jane. Bessie was the first character in the book that cared about Jane. Even though she scolded Jane, one could tell she wasnt meaning to be cold or evil. At the end of chapter four right before Jane leaves to go to school, she and Bessie have a conversation that proves that they care for each other. To quote evidence of this, in one paragraph Bessie says I dont dislike you, miss; I believe I am fonder of you than of all the others. She also goes on to say I dare say now if I were to ask you for a kiss you wouldnt give it to me: youd say youd rather not. To which Jane replies Ill kiss you and welcome Her and Jane had formed a definite bond. One so strong that eight years later when Jane prepares to leave Lowood Institution to go teach Adele, Bessie visits her. She brings her children to show Jane. Later over coffee they discuss the last eight years. Also when John Reed died Bessie treated Jane as an old friend with warmth and acceptance. In my opinion Bessie made a deep impact on Janes life because kindness, no matter her small and seemingly insignificant, is always greatly appreciated. Im sure that Jane greatly appreciated having Bessie as part of her life when there were so many who abused her mentally and physically.
Mr.Brocklehurst was a man one could really learn to despise. He seemed to think he was better then everyone else and shunned those he felt were below him. The way he ran the institution was, in my opinion, disgraceful. The girls there had barely enough food and insufficient clothing and he didnt even care. He seemed extremely self-righteous. He acted like everything he said came straight from God. Not to mention he was all well and pleasant in front of Janes aunt but to Jane he was a total monster. The way he disgraced her in front of the entire school was unjust and unnecessary. He actually tried to encourage the other girls to hate her by saying, if necessary, avoid her company, exclude her from your sports, and shut her out from your converse. He also made her seem like the most horrible and wretched little girl in the world by saying things like worse then many a little heathen and you must be on your guard against her. Not to mention he just stopped coming altogether when the school was hit by the fever. However good that might have been for Jane and the others it was still heartless. I could not understand how he could even think that he was better then anyone else and call himself a man of god with the way he acted. Mr. Brocklehurst was one person in Janes life that I am sure she was happy to be rid of.
As for who I would most like to be friends with, I would have to say, Helen Burns. After considering many people such as the charming Mr.Rochester, or the energetic Adele, or peaceful, just, and good-natured Miss Temple, I still came up with Helen. The reason for this is simple. Helen Burns was loyal. She stuck by Jane even when no one else would. She came to Jane after Jane had been publicly humiliated and labeled a liar. She was Janes friend to the very end. She was compassionate and sympathetic. She was always there for Jane and never let Jane feel sorry for herself. It is my opinion that Jane would not have survived the institution without such a true friend as Helen Burns.
Many people touched Jane Eyre’s life. This paper only spoke of a few, but those few made a very large impact. Without Bessie, Jane never would have learned to control her temper, and that it is better not to agitate people. She never would have been able to look at herself in such a way as to notice her good and bad points and to know what should be changed. Without Mr.Brocklehurst she wouldnt have learned such phenomenal emotional strength. And without Helen she never would have learned that she was worthwhile and deserving of a friend. She never would have built her self-esteem. Without these people Jane Eyre wouldnt have been the same person. They made an impact on her and on the reader, especially this reader. To me the book would never have been as interesting without them.