What character differences are there between Jane Eyre and Bertha Mason in the book Jane Eyre?

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Lucienne Quitzon eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Jane and Bertha are both women who suffer at the hands of their families: Jane endures abuse at Gateshead, which causes her to experience an episode of apparent madness, and Bertha was pushed into a hasty marriage with a man she barely knew because her father wanted her gone before she began showing signs of the mental insanity that ran in the Mason family.

After Jane's brush with "madness," however, she begins to dedicate herself to self-improvement. At Lowood, Jane "set to work afresh, resolved to pioneer [her] way through every difficulty; [She] toiled hard, and [her] success was proportionate to [her] efforts." Rather than lapse into despair about her plight, Jane seizes control of her life, knowing that she controls her fate and future happiness.

When Bertha's madness strikes, however, it quickly leads her to a constant state of insanity. She becomes an almost feral creature, crawling on her hands and knees, wild and violent and, to use Jane's own adjective, "savage." Bertha succumbs...

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