On a dreary afternoon in Gateshead Hall, the ten-year-old Jane Eyre, forbidden by her tyrannous aunt from playing with her cousins, finds a curtained window seat where she can read. Jane’s bullying cousin John Reed barges in and insults her, riling Jane to fight for the first time in her life! Stunned, John goes crying to Mrs. Reed, his mother. Mrs. Reed, despite Jane’s protests, forbids Jane to be seen and locked in the red-room, a lavishly furnished and rarely used bedroom where Mr.
Reed had passed away in. During her time in the room Jane catches sight of her cadaverous reflection in the mirror and sulks about the injustice of Gateshead Hall. Suddenly, Jane senses Mr. Reed’s presence in the room. Convinced she sees his spirit, Jane shrieks in horror and faints.
Furthermore, Jane wakes up in the nursery, being cared for by the local apothecary, Mr. Lloyd. Mr. Lloyd asks her about her well-being. Jane confesses her unhappiness which leads Mr.
Lloyd asking Jane if she’d like to attend school. Later, Jane overhears Bessie telling Miss Abbot the story of Jane’s family and how Mrs. Reed promised to raise Jane like one of their own childrenJohn, Eliza, and Georgiana. For two months, Jane anxiously waits for her schooling to start. Finally, she is interviewed by Mr. Brocklehurstthe stern headmaster of the Lowood school. He lectures Jane about the importance of religion, That proves you have a wicked heart; and you must pray to God to change it: to give you a new and clean one: to take away your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
- (Bronte 32) Jane explains to him she is hurt from Mrs. Reed’s false accusation, exclaiming that her aunt makes her sick and is herself a brutal and deceitful person. Yet Jane reveals to Bessie how she adores her the most. Four days later, Jane leaves Gateshead to start her new journey at the Lowood school, a charity school for orphan girls. On her first day, Jane witnesses the strictly regimented routine for the school. Despite this, Jane is fond of the school’s superintendent, Ms. Maria Temple. Later, Jane spots a solitary girl, Helen Burns. Although, Janes hermit personality restricts her to talking to strangers, she feels an immediate connection to Helen.
On the second day, Jane is overwhelmed by the lessons, but is fascinated by watching Helen Burns across the room. From enduring the strict and onerous rules, Helen emphasizes to Jane her philosophy of turning the other cheek, Yet it would be your duty to bear it, if you could not avoid it: it is weak and silly to say you cannot bear what it is your fate to be required to bear. -(Bronte 58) and her belief about the beautiful afterlife gives her hope and patience to sustain suffering in this world. The conditions at Lowood remain bitter, as Mr. Brocklehurst enforces that all the girls’ hair be cut off for the sake of modesty. Jane terrified that Mr. Brocklehurst will remember his oath to Mrs. Reed to expose that Jane is deceitful and to avoid her sinister character. After school is dismissed that evening, believing that everyone loathes her, Helen reassures Jane that she is pitied by her peers. Moreover, Ms. Temple promises to write to Mr. Lloyd confirming Jane is not a liar. Jane realizes now she prefers the impoverished Lowood to the luxuries of Gateshead. Spring brings better weather, but an epidemic of typhus has infected the school. In the midst of spring’s renewal, Jane contemplates death for the first time. Jane soon learns that Helen suffers from consumption (tuberculosis), in desperation to see her friend Jane sneaks into Helen’s bedside, comforting her. Jane soon learns Helen is not afraid of dying because she will be leaving behind the suffering of the world and going to God, I am sure there is a future state; I believe God is good God is my father, God is my friend; I love him; I believe he loves me. -(Bronte 90) By morning, Helen is dead. Helen is buried in an unmarked grave word “Resurgam”Latin for “I will rise again.