my question is on Jane Eyre please help!In Jane Eyre, she says "I was a discord in Gateshead Hall; I was like nobody there" What qualities make her the outsider, the other and what is her attitude...

my question is on Jane Eyre please help!

In Jane Eyre, she says "I was a discord in Gateshead Hall; I was like nobody there" What qualities make her the outsider, the other and what is her attitude as an adult toward the way she was treated as a child in the Reed household?

Expert Answers
MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are several qualities that make the Reeds regard Jane as an outsider. First, she is an orphan, and Mrs. Reed seems to consider giving her a warm place to sleep and some food as though she saved her eternal soul. The Reed daughters mostly ignore Jane, but John Reed makes her life hell. He beats her, verbally abuses her, and constantly reminds her that she is poor, the Reeds are rich, and there's nothing she can do about it. She is treated as less than a servant by all members of the family. Mrs. Reed is perhaps the worst, because she really does seem to think that she has taken Jane into the family. But she repeatedly locks her up, forces her apart from her own children, and lets Jane know that the only reason she's there is because Mr. Reed made his wife promise on his death bed that she would care for Jane.

In addition to being a physical outsider by virtue of relation (or lack thereof), Jane is also a psychological outsider, if that makes sense. She is a passionate girl, and it often gets her in trouble. For example, she stands up to John when he hits her, and of course he immediately runs back to his mother and whines. Jane is then punished for her temper, when she was merely defending herself. She also argues for her rights, telling Mrs. Reed that she has done nothing wrong. This simply makes it worse.

Finally, these things might have been overlooked if Jane was more attractive. It sounds terrible, but the other characters (especially Bessie and the other servants) often talk about how wonderful Georgiana is with her beautiful blond curls. Yet Jane says that Georgiana is more of a troublemaker than herself, a little girl who is cruel and spoiled. But she gets away with it because of her physical attractiveness. Jane, on the other hand, is short & plain. She is often told that because she is considered ugly, she needs to have a sweet personality in order to win anyone over.

As an adult, Jane forgives Mrs. Reed for her treatment. She also befriends the Reed sisters when they are adults. John Reed dies before Jane can make amends, but overall, she comes to terms with her childhood. Although she still smarts at the injustice and cruelty she suffered in the Reed household, she forgives those responsible.

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Jane Eyre

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