Jane Eyre - English
Jane Eyre - English
How does Charlotte Bronte
create sympathy for Jane in the
first two chapters of the novel?
We are learning to understand how Charlotte Bronte
creates sympathy for Jane through:
• the settings she creates and how she establishes
• the language she uses to describe Jane herself
• the way the chapters are structured
We are learning to understand how the social context
of the time helps you to respond to what is written
‘Jane Eyre’ was written in 1848 during the
Victorian era. There was a strict class
structure. It was difficult to move from one
class to another. It was a patriarchal
society, men were in charge.
VICTORIAN/19TH CENTURY CLASS STRUCTURE
UPPER MIDDLE CLASS
LOWER MIDDLE CLASS
VICTORIAN/19TH CENTURY MIDDLE/UPPER
CLASS FAMILY STRUCTURE (PATRIARCHIAL)
In the middle class Reed family, because
Mr Reed has passed away, Mrs Reed is in
charge. The next most important person
is John, followed by the two girls; Eliza
and Georgina. The servants come next
but Jane is lower than the servants: ‘you
are less than a servant.’
Family and religion were important at this time.
There was an emphasis on family but Jane is an
orphan and does not have her own family, the
Reeds do not want her. Jane doesn’t fit in with
the family and this is confirmed by John Reed,
the servants and Mrs Reed. Jane’s isolation
shows loneliness and sorrow; even religion is
used for punishment: ‘God will punish her.’
Charlotte Bronte creates sympathy for Jane by
showing her isolation from the family.
Analysis of first two chapters leads to a more focused,
purposeful assignment and the opportunity to demonstrate
• What the text is about and why it was
• The style,structure and characterisation
• The relevance of the writer’s use of
• The effects achieved by the writer’s choice
of language and form
• The social and historical setting
We are now going to read chapter 1.
I need volunteers to read in role!
• What language device has Bronte used in the
opening paragraphs to show Jane’s misery?
• How is Jane treated by her cousins?
• Why does Jane read?
• How is Jane feeling at the end of chapter 1?
• Write Jane’s name in the centre of your
page and then arrange the names of all
the other characters we meet in this
chapter around Jane, in accordance with
their relationship with her.
• For example, if you think Bessie is her
closest ally, put her name close to Jane’s.
We are now going to read chapter 2.
I need volunteers to read in role!
• What impression does the description of
the red room give us?
• How does Jane feel?
• Imagine you were to stage this story.
Using detail from pages 20–21, sketch
your stage plan for the red room, with
• Charlotte Bronte creates sympathy for Jane through the
setting. In chapter one she describes the weather. She
uses pathetic fallacy; the weather which is miserable
mimics Jane’s misery: ‘cold winter wind’.
• In chapter two Bronte gives the reader an in depth
description of the red room: ‘the carpet is red’, ‘blush of
pink in the wardrobe’ and ‘curtains of deep red damask’.
This gives an impression of hell, it is gothic and ten year
old Jane is terrified. The room is terrifying and Jane is
superstitious as she thinks the room is haunted because
her uncle died in the room. The description of the room
brings out Jane’s fears and her terror creates sympathy.
• The language used creates sympathy for Jane.
John Reed and Miss Abbot use abusive
language showing the reader that Jane is not
wanted and that she is bullied and mistreated:
• Jane’s self pitying shows her torment and
depression. She shows hatred towards Mrs
Reed and her cousins. The rhetorical questions
show Jane’s torment and confusion: ‘Why was I
always suffering?’, ‘Why could I never please?’,
‘Why was it useless to try and win anyone’s
• Charlotte Bronte creates sympathy for Jane by her
structuring of the chapters. The narration is in the first
person singular, from Jane’s description of events and
what she is doing: ‘I cannot tell what sentiment haunted
the quiet solitary churchyard.’
• The dialogue shows us that Jane is bullied. The in depth
description of Jane’s feelings shows her inner thoughts
and personal feelings about her torment from the
Reed’s. It also shows her mental horror when she is
isolated in the red room: ‘I cannot endure it’, ‘I wiped my
tears and hushed my sobs.’
• The language, the structure and the
description of the settings all create
sympathy towards Jane.
• Jane is isolated and in this patriarchal
society she is even lower than the
servants. She is hated and unwanted by
the Reeds; she, a ten year old orphan, is
alone in the world.
Overall, it is Jane’s anger at her
unjust treatment, combined
with her childlike expression,
that creates sympathy in the reader.
• You will now be allocated a character from
the novel. (Jane, Mrs Reed or John)
• Make concise notes about your character.
• Think of 5 questions that you can ask
• Are you ready to be hot-seated?
The final assessment
• Group discussion exploring how Charlotte
Bronte creates sympathy for Jane in the
first two chapters of the novel.
• Oral response to question: How does Charlotte Bronte create
sympathy for Jane in the first two chapters of the novel ‘Jane Eyre’?
• We read the first two chapters of the novel and annotated it. We
focused through class and paired discussions on settings created,
language used to describe Jane Eyre, the way the chapters are
structured and the social and historical context. We were hot seated
as a character from the novel and other students asked us questions
which we had to answer in role. Our final assessment for this oral
response to ‘Jane Eyre’ involved a group discussion exploring how
Charlotte Bronte creates sympathy for Jane in the first two chapters
of the novel.