How Is Sympathy Created for Jane Eyre in the Opening Three Chapters of the Novel?

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Sympathy is created for Jane within the opening three chapters of Jane Eyre in a number of different ways. It becomes evident from the very beginning of the novel that Jane is oppressed by her surroundings and the Reed family. She is physically and psychologically abused and clearly made to feel as she is worth less than the family who keep her. Despite this there is a comforting undercurrent that flows through the opening three chapters as the reader realises that Jane Eyre is recalling her troublesome childhood from a position of fulfilment. The opening of the novel creates an instantaneous impression of sympathy through the use of pathetic fallacy. The rain in the opening paragraph is described as “so penetrating that outdoor exercise…show more content…
Sympathy then is created as Bronte cleverly criticises the British class system because, as I believe Bronte is implying, it is a sad state of affairs when someone is trapped within an abusive family because they cannot move to poorer relatives as being poor and living in the type of poverty that entailed would be no better. Despite the abuse Jane endures in the opening chapters and the sympathy this subsequently creates the reader can take some comfort in knowing that Jane is recalling this from some place in the future and this therefore implies that Jane has reached some sort of fulfilment. The reflective nature of which Jane retells some of her stories reflects this idea. Jane states that she could not answer the question of “why I thus suffered” but declares “now I see it clearly.” This suggests that Jane has given her childhood sufferings much thought and has found solace in answering her question of why. As Jane Eyre is a bildungsroman the sympathy one may feel towards Jane is weathered slightly by the knowledge that she is writing her story from a place of peace and suggested self-content. To conclude much sympathy is created for Jane within the opening three chapters as she is clearly oppressed by those immediately around her and by society as a whole. The reflective nature of Jane gives the reader hope that she has found herself a happier existence and this, coupled with the sympathy created, intrigues the reader and urges them to read on to find

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