Jane is treated very cruelly by her aunt Mrs. Reed. Eliza, Georgiana and John under instructions from their mother Mrs. Reed ignore her completely. Once John and Jane quarrel and Jane almost smashes his nose but he runs to his mother who tells him:
"I told you not to go near her; she is not worthy of notice; I do not choose that either you or your sisters should associate with her."
When Jane heard this she screamed to the two of them from the top of the stairs, "They are not fit to associate with me." On hearing this Mrs.Reed became furious and rushed up the stairs and grabbed Jane and,
"swept me like a whirlwind into the nursery, and crushing me down on the edge of my crib, dared me in an emphatic voice to rise from that place, or utter one syllable during the remainder of the day."
Jane tries to defend herself by saying that Uncle Reed is watching from heaven all the ill treatment meted out to her by her aunt. At once Mrs. Reed physically assaults her by boxing her ears. This was followed by a long sermon by the maid Bessie who convinces Jane that she "was the most wicked and abandoned child ever reared under a roof. "
The net result of all this commotion was that Jane became very depressed and actually believed all what Bessie had preached to her. This situation exposes how vulnerable and defenseless Jane felt both physically and emotionally after Mrs.Reed had assaulted her :
I half believed her; for I felt indeed only bad feelings surging in my breast.
After Jane has recovered from her illness she goes downstairs where the Reed children have been told not to interact with her. During her previous outburst the days before she had gone after John like “a mad cat” (30) The boy sticks his tongue at Jane and she becomes frustrated. She spouts back at them "They are not fit to associate with me" (30). Mrs. Reed grabs Jane up and takes her to the nursery where she slams her onto the bed. She proceeded to box Jane's ears. Bessie then puts Jane down. Jane begins to feel like the most wicked abandoned child that ever existed.