Why is Jane staying with the Reeds?

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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In the novel 'Jane Eyre' by Charlotte Bronte, the heroine Jane is living with her nearest kin because she has been orphaned.

Her mother was cut out of the family will because in their opinion she didn't marry well (within her class) but married ,perhaps for love a poor clergyman. Sadly, now both of her parents are dead (they contracted typhus when she was a baby) and her kindly old uncle has also passed on. Mrs Sarah Reed, as the widow of the dead uncle is now mistress of Gateshead Hall. She blames Jane for a row during which, feeling bullied, Jane retaliates to defend herself. Jane is accused of starting the fight and as a punishment, gets locked in the 'Red Room' where her uncle died. It is possible that Charlotte Bronte is remembering an incident where her own more wilful younger sister got locked in a room at The Parsonage for misbehavior in real liffe.