What is vengeance in Jane Eyre, chapter 4?
Jane will soon be on her way from Gateshead to begin her new life at school. As one can imagine, Jane is mightily relieved that she will soon be shot of the loathsome Mrs. Reed and her revolting brood, who've made Jane's life an absolute misery ever since she arrived.
But before she can leave, Jane has to endure the ordeal of an interview with the stern, puritanical Mr. Brocklehurst, supervisor of Lowood School. He tests Jane on her knowledge of sin, hell, and the Bible, and is positively scandalized to learn that Jane regards the Psalms as "not interesting." It's clear that Lowood will have its work cut out in instilling the appropriate values into this willful young lady.
The interview is made all the more uncomfortable for Jane by the presence of Mrs. Reed, who calls her niece a liar, and tells Brocklehurst that Jane's worst characteristic is her deceitful nature. Once upon a time, Jane would have had to eat up such outrageous insults, but not now. As she'll soon be leaving Gateshead for good, she can afford to give Mrs. Reed a piece of her mind.
When Mr. Brocklehurst leaves, it's time for Jane to give Mrs. Reed some good old-fashioned payback. She gives her revolting aunt both barrels, insisting that she's not a liar, that she's glad that Mrs. Reed isn't her relation, and that she, Mrs. Reed, is also hard-hearted. "Thrilled with ungovernable excitement" Jane doesn't hold back. She's been waiting to say these things to Mrs. Reed for such a long time, and now that she has feels a sense of triumph and exaltation. As Mrs. Reed slinks sheepishly out of the room after this violent tongue-lashing, vengeance must feel very sweet for Jane indeed.
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