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How is bullying presented and overcome in the novel Jane Eyre through Jane and other...

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cdames | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 21, 2007 at 2:51 AM via web

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How is bullying presented and overcome in the novel Jane Eyre through Jane and other characters?

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cmcqueeney | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted September 21, 2007 at 6:10 AM (Answer #1)

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Bullying is presented in this novel as a character flaw.  The way to overcome it is by being a person of character and internal strength.  The most obvious example of bullying occurs when Jane is living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins.  Her cousin John tortures Jane mercilessly and cruelly.  Jane is completely afraid of him, but she does not wimper and cower under him.  She does try to avoid him, but when that is impossible, she stands up to him and to her aunt who defends John over Jane regardless of the circumstance.  By being the 'bigger' person throughout the novel, Jane prospers and grows while John's life goes nowhere.

Another bullying situation occurs when Jane goes away to school.  Jane is 'bullied' by the headmaster and some of the teachers.  Again, her strength of character helps her in this situation and she eventually becomes a very good teacher at the same school.  Jane also learns how to handle bullying by watching her friend Helen Burns.  Helen is a very humble little girl who accepts whatever punishment comes her way because she knows she will be rewarded from God when she dies for persevering and trying to better herself.

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