Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë
Jane, who is ten years and one who is narrating this story, is not of the same father or mother as the other children, Eliza, John, and Georgiana Reed; and she is, therefore, verbally and physically mistreated by, at least for now, John, age fourteen. In this chapter, she is secluded in a separate room from the rest of the family and sets to reading a book in a window seat, but when she is accosted by John for reading his book, she is accused of attacking him and sent again into seclusion.
Jane tells of how she came to be at Gateshead Hall: the mistress of the Hall, Mrs. Reed, was married to Jane’s uncle, her father’s brother, Mr. Reed, who died nine years earlier, who also brought Jane into the home when she was only an orphaned infant; Mrs. Reed promised to care for Jane as one of her own children. Jane is still confined alone to the bed chamber where Mr. Reed had died, and while lamenting about the miseries of her life at Gateshead and how she is the scapegoat of the family, she considers how much better it would be to die or, better yet, that Mr. Reed’s ghost should come back to avenge her oppression, and that is when suddenly she sees a light move upon the wall, which frightens her, though her scream does not provide an escape but only further secures her imprisonment.
Because of her strange reports from that room, and there were more than just lights, Mrs. Reed orders the apothecary, Mr. Llyod, to see her. Jane tells him honestly why she is so miserable at Gateshead, such as being locked up in the room with Mr. Reed’s ghost, but she can not express in words all that she is experiencing; Mr. Lloyd suggests that school may be a good change, and she is encouraged by that. In addition, Jane learns through conversation between Bessie and Abbot, the nurse and maid, of her father and mother’s history, who they were and how they died from illness one month apart.
Jane is a brave little girl to speak so earnestly toward Mrs. Reed, or maybe it is true since she claims that it is as if someone else is speaking through her; nonetheless, because of it she is kept separate from the remainder of the household where she is left to dwell on her lack of being loved. One day a Mr. Brocklehurst arrives to discuss taking Jane away to school, and in front of Jane, Mrs. Reed gives a false report about Jane being a liar and full of deceit until Jane defends herself with all freedom and liberty leaving Mrs. Reed speechless and unable to remain in Jane’s presence. (I feel like I am getting Mommie Dearest flashbacks!)