Jane Eyre - the Contribution of the Character, Mrs Reed to the Novel

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Mrs Reed plays the role in ‘Jane Eyre’ of the almost Cinderalla-like, evil aunt, showing love only towards her two precious daughters and son. The negative connotation is already prevalent in her name, Reed, which was a typical whip to punish little children with at the time. In fact, the importance of names are found commonly in the ‘Jane Eyre’ with characters such as Brocklehurst and Scatcherd, which both contain a very harsh sound to it upon pronunciation. This adds to the stereotyping of each of their personalities as hard-hearted, hypocritical human beings. As it is, Mrs Reed provided Jane with a very tiresome and unmindful childhood, continuously reminding her of the fact that she is a ‘dependant’, either through herself by stating that ‘she must exclude (Jane) from privileges intended only for contented, happy little children’, or through her Roman-emperor-like son, John Reed. In fact, book that Jane would read for interest and stimulation, John Reed uses it as a weapon against her, never really intending to read it himself. The Reeds never seemed to think of Jane as family. The famous saying: ‘Blood is thicker than water’ does not seem to apply to them at all. More than not Mrs Reed proved to abuse Jane physically and mentally. When Jane is shut up in the ‘red room’, Jane actually screams and asks for forgiveness, but Mrs Reed decides not to hear Jane at all. The fact that shutting her up there makes it even more cruel due to the fact that Mr Reed died in that specific room, and given the family’s belief in the supernatural, makes Jane imagine that Mr Reed still haunts that room by his spirit, which haunts her emotionally until she eventually faints. The significance of ‘red’ could also represent the abuse against Jane in the form of anger and violence. The ghost in the ‘red room’ adds to the Gothic elements prevalent in the novel, together with Jane’s

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