Please provide a summary of chapter 2 of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre.

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In chapter 2, Jane has been consigned to the red room. Previously, in chapter 1, John Reed had attacked Jane for daring to read one of the books from the Reed family library.

We learn that John is fourteen, while Jane is ten. They are cousins. Since Jane is an orphan, she is currently lodging with the Reeds. Her cousins (John, Eliza, and Georgina) treat Jane as their inferior. In chapter 1, John physically abuses Jane for what he considers her impudence. Oppressed beyond endurance by his cruelty, Jane fights back.

This is why she is confined to the red room in chapter 2. The house servants, Miss Abbot and Bessie, drag Jane to the room. On the way, they scold her for her behavior, reminding her that John is her master. However, Jane disagrees with them. She tells the women that she is not a servant and therefore, John cannot be her master.

Bessie and Miss Abbot ignore Jane's argument. Instead, they advise her to humble herself before the Reeds, so that she will not be consigned to the poorhouse.

The women then lock Jane in. The red room is considered a sacred domain in the Reed household. This is because Mr. Reed (Jane's uncle) died there nine years ago. So, the room is preserved in its original condition.

For her part, Jane is still too angry about her mistreatment to think about her surroundings. Her thoughts center on how she is abused and harangued every day, despite her best efforts to do as she is told. In fact, John is allowed to terrorize Jane with impunity. For her part, Mrs. Reed remains oblivious to her son's depravity. The text tells us that Mrs. Reed promised the dying Mr. Reed that she would care for Jane as her own. However, it does not appear that she has kept her promise at all.

Jane's anger percolates until the sun sets. Then, fear takes over. When a mysterious light moves across the room, Jane imagines that she is being visited by her uncle's ghost. So, she screams loudly, alerting both Miss Abbot and Bessie. The women come running, and Jane begs to be let out. The noise brings Mrs. Reed to the scene. She chastises Jane for trying to trick others into letting her out. Maliciously, Mrs. Reed tells Jane that she must remain for another hour in the red room.

Upon hearing this, Jane becomes inconsolable. Her desperate fear leads her to faint away. So, we leave chapter 2 with Jane being unconscious.

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tinicraw eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Jane Eyre finds herself locked in the red room, where her uncle died, because of a fight she had been in with her older male cousin. It is in chapter 2 that we discover that Jane lives with an Aunt who does not want her and even despises her. At first Jane is angry and feels the pangs of one who has been dealt with unjustly. As she settles down, though, she gets caught up in the superstitions of the red room and freaks out. She thinks she sees her uncle's ghost, freaks out, runs to the door, and asks to be released. The servants become worried and hope to let her out, but the Aunt refuses. In response, Jane faints from fright.

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