What are some major points about the theme of family in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre?
A major point Bronte makes about family in Jane Eyre is that people who are biologically related to one another—who are "family"—can be toxic to one another. Jane Eyre experiences that through her cousins, who are related to her through their deceased father, yet treat her cruelly and abusively. The most abusive is her cousin John, who torments and often physically hurts Jane on a daily basis. The fact that they are related means nothing to him.
The best thing to happen to Jane is getting out of that household and into Lowood School. Miserable as the school is physically, Jane is treated as an equal there and is able to create a "family" of good people like Helen Burns and Miss Temple, who help and affirm her.
Likewise, when she runs away from Mr. Rochester and is taken in by her cousins, she finds Mary and Diana Rivers compatible, but she knows she has to turn down the marriage proposal of her cousin St. John Rivers—he too would be toxic for her, even though she admires his upright...
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