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Jane Eyre- An Autobiography


									Charlotte Bront first published the novel Jane Eyre as Jane Eyre: An Autobiography.
Although the title has since been changed, many readers still perceive it as a story
about Bronts own life. Reading Jane Eyre as an autobiographical novel is just one of
various options. This point of view allows the reader to understand the character of
Jane through the life of Charlotte. Although it is obvious that Jane and Charlotte did
not live the same lives, they share many characteristics. The most efficient and
effective way to read Jane Eyre is with an autobiographical mindset because the
reader can find many similarities between Jane and Charlotte such as their
personalities, families, childhoods, societies, journeys, and romantic relationships.

One major similarity between Jane Eyre and Charlotte Bront is their personalities.
Both can be characterized as plain and outsiders. Jane struggles to find where she
belongs and Bront tries to find herself. When Bront was a child, her life could be
described as chaotic, just as Janes could be. Bronts frenzied child-life was a cause
from experiences such as the many deaths of people close to her. Jane has many
preternatural experiences that frighten her, but at the same time, make her stronger. A
major preternatural experience was her being locked in the red room as a child. While
she was in the red room, she saw a ghost of her dead uncle. In the beginning of the
novel, Jane makes various references to books that she is reading or has read. She
seems to enjoy reading because she can escape from the real world. Bront and her
sisters all loved to read as well. The region were Bront lived also relates to the setting
of Jane Eyre and Jane herself. The Bronts lived in the countryside which is known as
a mysterious, stormy area. This stormy weather is used in the novel to describe Janes
mood. For example, in the first few lines of the book, the weather is described; but
since dinner . . . the cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so somber, and a rain
so penetrating (1). These few lines relate to Janes mood when she lives with the Reeds.
They are not welcoming or caring towards Jane and the weather reflects it. These
characteristics of having chaotic lives and similar interests show that Janes personality
is parallel to Bronts throughout the story.

Jane and Charlotte also have very similar families and went through like childhoods.
Charlottes mother died when she was only 5 years old. Jane Eyres parents both died
from typhus shortly after Janes birth. In the novel, Jane is then raised by her aunt, Mrs.
Reed. Charlotte expresses her pain of growing up with one parent through the
character of Jane. In the society where Charlotte grew up, children who lost their
parents had to life with relatives or were sent to orphanages. The adults in charge of
these orphanages had complete control, just as Mr. Brocklehurst does at Lowood.
Children of Charlottes time had very few rights, just as Jane does. She is humiliated
by lots of people she interacts with in the story. In chapter seven of Jane Eyre, Mr.
Brocklehurst embarrasses Jane in front of the whole school. He tells everyone that she
is a liar and he allowed no one to talk to her for the day. Beating and public
harassment was acceptable in Charlottes time, and that is reflected in Mr.
Brocklehursts treatment of Jane. Bront writes about her humiliation through Janes
experiences. The disrespect Jane endures is a reflection of Bronts. This shows the
disrespect that both Jane and Charlotte endured. They have similar experiences in
their families and in growing up.

The societies that Jane Eyre and Charlotte Bront live in are also similar. In Bronts
time, teachers have no authority in schools. In the story, Miss Temple wants to help
the students, but she, as both a teacher and a woman, has no power. As men had the
dominant role when the author was young, women were taught to be lady-like and
proper. They were taught to cook, clean, and raise children, and it was rare for a
woman to earn a living. Bront was rebellious because she became a writer; Jane
expresses her rebelliousness when she stands up for herself throughout the novel, such
as the time when she fights back to her cousin John. At Lowood, Jane meets Helen
Burns. Helen is lady-like and accepts her role in society. Jane learns from Helen how
girls are expected to act, but she still disagrees. During Bronts time, it was most
common for people to accept their family religion, and have a simple faith. Jane is
daring by going against this when she makes religious references or when she talks
about her supernatural experiences. Jane tells Mr. Brocklehurst that she finds the
Psalms interesting. This isnt acceptable for the time, so it seems to be a big deal.
These characteristics are shared between Jane and her creator.

As the story progresses, Bront reveals more about herself through the heroines actions.
Throughout the book, Jane grows mentally and spiritually. During her childhood at
Gateshead, Jane allows her emotions to control her actions; these times are some of
her most painful memories. She learns to rule her heat with her mind though the rest
of the plot. When Jane decides to leave Rochester, in fear of being hurt, she uses her
mind over her heart. In this part of the story, Jane travels far to a distant land.
Charlotte Bront, like Jane, traveled to wondrous lands, but only within the limits of
her own mind. Bront may have used Jane to share her imagined journeys. In 1826,
Bronts father gave Branwell, Bronts brother, a box of wooden soldiers for him to play
with. The Bront siblings, while playing with the soldiers, created and wrote in great
detail about an imaginary world, which they called Angria. Some of their writings
may have been transferred into Jane Eyre. In 1821, Bront became a teacher at the Roe
Head school. While she was there, she grew nervous about her siblings back at home,
so she spent much of her time thinking about wild landscapes and travels to distract
her. Bront was once quoted saying, What I imagined grew morbidly vivid. Her visions
of Angria were reflected in her story of Jane Eyre. Along with this similarity of travel,
one can also say that Bronts diversion of imagination is similar to Janes of reading.
The author uses her personal stories and memories in the conception of the character
Jane Eyre.

A final, very similar quality shared between Bront and Jane is their relationships. Both
Bront and Jane fall in love with a married man. The author falls in love with the head
schoolmaster, who is married. Jane, similar to Bront, falls in love with her master, Mr.
Rochester, who is also married. Another connection between the two womens love
lives is that they both reject marriage to a reverend. In the story, Janes cousin, St. John,
asks Jane to be his wife and travel to India with him. She rejects him just as Bront had
rejected a man in her life. A final similarity is that both Bront and Jane did not find
love until later in their lives.

Charlotte Bront may have produced Janes character in order to voice her opinion and
personal memories from her life. Bront and Jane both struggle to discover stability in
their lives and to find others who can identify with them. Bront uses Jane to express
her feelings on society, gender, religion, and other various topics.

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