Jane Eyre

Chapter 1-5
Jane Eyre opens immediately with the voice of the narrator, a young orphan girl named Jane Eyre, who is living with her aunt Mrs. Reed, and her aunt's three children, Eliza, John and Georgiana Reed. Both Jane's mother and father are dead, her father having been a clergyman. Mrs. Reed is a rich, pretentious and condescending woman, and her children are terribly spoiled, cruel and rude. Jane is not a welcome member of the Reed household, at Gateshead Hall--she was born of a different class--and is continuously being criticized for her behavior and personality by both the Reeds, and their nurse, Bessie. A comment by Ms. Reed gives an indication of Jane's personality and her treatment:
"'She regretted to be under the necessity of keeping me at a distance; but that until she heard from Bessie and could discover by her own observation that I was endeavoring in good earnest to acquire a more sociable and childlike disposition, a more attractive and sprightly manner--something lighter, franker, more natural, as it were--she really could must exclude me from privileges intended only for contented, happy, little children.'" Chapter 1, pg. 5
Jane, an intelligent, mature for her age, often cynical, passionate, questioning and moody child, does crave affection and love from her relatives and those she meets. But she is always excluded from family events with the Reeds. Jane often retreats to the window-seat in the drawing-room, to escape in the fantasy of words and pictures in books.
Topic Tracking: Female Protagonist 1
It is at the beginning of the novel that she is seated thus, reading Bewick's History of British Birds, behind a curtain and hidden from sight, until John Reed enters the room and calls for her. She tells us of John, that he is fourteen, eats too many sweets, is cruel, abusive ("He bullied and punished me...once or twice...[a] day") and spoiled by his mamma. John then begins more abuse; he sticks out his tongue at her, and smacks her. He tells...