In Jane Eyre Chapter 4, how are Eliza, Georgiana, and John characterized as children?

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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In Chapter 4 of Jane Eyer Georgiana, Eliza and John have been instructed to stay away from Jane and not speak to her, therefore they do keep their distance and speak to Jane as little as can be managed. John is the worst of the three, though because he will not sufficiently keep the orders to stay clear of jane. He insults her when he sees her by putting his tongue in his cheek, a form of insult that has faded from american culture and so has little meaning for most of us. Suffice it to say that is a form of an unpleasant insult. He went even further on one occasion and attempted to reprimand Jane, either physically or verbally, the narrating Jane does not specify. However, Jane acts her new part and fights back causing him to run to his mother who only replies with a form of "I told you so."

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mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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In the book Jane Eyre Eliza, Georgiana, and John are the Reed children.  Their father is deceased and they are being reared by their mother with the assistance of her servants.  Eliza, Georgina, and John have been raised to regard the poor as being beneath them.  Their compassion of the poor is limited by their circumstances.  They have been taught that being poor as a very bad thing.  John is more of an antagonist against Jane.  He is spoiled and likes to start trouble by making fun of others.  Yet, when he has a consequence for his actions from another child, he runs to his mother or the servants.  The girls are always dressed nicely showing their parent's wealth. 

I do not believe that the children will become anything but what their circumstances will allow.  If the girls find a proper mate with money, they will continue to live in the higherlevel of society.  They may change as they grow older to have compassion for those with less than themselves, but it is doubtful based on the attitudes in their home.  Georgina is already selfish evident by her desire not to share her doll house toys with Jane. Eliza sells her chicken eggs to the servants and hoards the money demonstrating her greed.  John will continue to be spoiled as the male in the household.  He will most likely dominate his mother and perhaps even be a bully among others as he grows to age.  Bullies tend to target people weaker than themselves who have no from of defence.  Since he does not like to have someone fight him back, I imagine that he will fit that pattern well as an adolescent and adult.


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