Hey everyone! I'm having trouble with my essay introduction. I'm supposed to be writing about the loss of innocence in three books, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, The Catcher in The Rye by J.D. Salinger, and the short story “The First Day” by Edward P. Jones. I want to say that the loss of innocence is due to society's harsh ideals. Here is my introduction so far: In society, there comes a time in one's life when innocence is lost as a result of an experience or a gain of knowledge. This catharsis in one's life is unavoidable, and can be urged due to the accredited ideals of society. When one is not adequate to society’s ideal, society tries to conform them into their ways, corrupting their innocence. This is exemplified in the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, The Catcher in The Rye by J.D. Salinger, and the short story “The First Day” by Edward P. Jones. The recognition of the flaws of society, highlights an emotional juxtaposition between one's innocence, and the truth of growing up. The harsh reality of society’s callous notion for one to adhere to it’s ideals, leads to the prevailing deprivation of innocence. My thesis is bolded. I'd like to make my thesis stronger. I'm not really sure how to talk about the loss of innocence in Jane Eyre, so if anyone can give me some examples of the loss of innocence in Jane Eyre, that would greatly appreciated. Furthermore, how can I form a thesis that closely highlights the loss of innocence due to the harsh reality of society's expectations? Do you think my thesis and introduction are okay? If anyone could help me out with this, help would be much appreciated!     

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Jane Eyre is my favorite novel, so it's a pleasure to help you write about it in your essay . I normally tell students to try and avoid generic phrases using the word "society" because it can seem very vague and generic. The way to try and use more exacting...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Jane Eyre is my favorite novel, so it's a pleasure to help you write about it in your essay. I normally tell students to try and avoid generic phrases using the word "society" because it can seem very vague and generic. The way to try and use more exacting language is to ask yourself what you mean when you refer to "society" and its expectations. Do you mean a specific culture at a specific time and place? Are you referring to the different socioeconomic groups that make up society and how social expectations differ among classes? Certainly the issue of class is an important one in Jane Eyre, since Jane's early years are directly affected by her relatives' decision to more or less disown her after the death of her parents. Instead of giving a comfortable life as a ward who is provided for, she is abandoned to an orphanage and a life of hardship. This affords her many lessons at an early age. Children who experience cruelty and hardship while young miss out on the joy and carefree enjoyment of childhood, and Jane's childhood at the orphanage was not a happy one.

The first example of a loss of innocence that affects Jane is the death of her friend Helen in the orphanage. Helen has tuberculosis which worsens over time, and the poor living conditions of the orphanage make it impossible for her to get better. Helen is Jane's only friend, and this loss is a major event in forming Jane's character; she learns to be extremely self-reliant and independent, and is wary of trusting others or asking for help when she needs it. This loss of innocence at an early age, i.e. the realization that she cannot rely on others to do the right thing, makes her somewhat cynical but also instills a deep sense of integrity that is tempered by her honesty and compassion.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team