In the novel Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë makes Jane explore the many class statuses throughout her life. Firstly, Jane experienced the lower class, then drifts to the middle, and after upper classes of Victorian England. Throughout Jane’s life, she lives three different types of lifestyles. Jane is very flexible towards these styles, she gains more experience, many personalities and relationships with the other classes. She has gone through many judgemental personalities, but much in the same way Jane judges them. Even though Jane goes through all of these class statuses, she stays the same character Charlotte Brontë introduces at the beginning of the novel. This shows when being apart of a certain class status, does not have to change the personalities and characteristics of the body and mind, very much like the character Jane Eyre.
At the beginning of the novel, Jane Eyre was born into the lower class. When Jane’s parents died, that made her an orphan, therefore she was adopted by her wealthy Aunt Reed. Even though Jane got treated horrendously for being an orphan, she admits she rather live here, than to live with poor people. “I should not belong to poor people” (Brontë 36) also she says, “I should not like to go a-begging” (36). Jane would rather live in a home where she is treated like an unwanted person whose does not belong than to “belong” to the poor people. At the moment Jane is living the middle-class life, but what she does not know is she will soon live as a poor person, and eventually does “go a-begging”. During her childhood when Jane lived in Gateswood, she had more of a connection and was attached to Bessie who was a servant at Gateswood.
Since Jane was an orphan and she has not had any affection of love since she lived in a home where she was treated as an outsider. Bessie was the motherly figure Jane needed, even when Bessie was only a servant, she did not care because Bessie also treated Jane as her own child. Jane says, “Bessie seemed to me the best, prettiest, kindest being in the world…” (48-49). When Jane receives the opportunity at Lowood school she is very enthusiastic. She thinks it would be a huge experience, but she did not know the type of teachers and people that will be attended there. Jane sees Mr. Brocklehurst for the first time, but she does not judge him on his class status, she judged him by his appearances and actions.
Mr. Brocklehurst was the supervisor of the boarding school, he was considered in the community of the upper class. Jane saw that since Mr. Brockhurst was in the upper class of society, he acted harshly towards everyone and bossed everyone around because they were not in the same class status as him. Jane describes him as a cold-hearted, and greedy man.
She says, “not a god; nor is he even great and admired man: he is little liked here” (78). Shows how when he is higher than everybody else, he automatically treats them like they are less than him. That should not be a reason to act this certain way towards people in a lower class.After fifteen years Jane went to Thornfield, where she met Mr. Rochester who is the owner of Thornfield, therefore he is wealthy. One day Rochester invited some of his friends from the upper class status side.
One day Mrs. Fairfax said, “she did not know the sensations of sympathy and pity; tenderness and truth were not in her.” (188). Mrs. Fairfax talked brutally about the members of the upper class, such as the Ingram family. Simply because they are a different class than she is, and she does not understand them.
Jane experienced how people tend to judge others on their statuses like Mrs. Fairfax did, but there is always a reason to it. She could possibly not understand them, or she could be jealous about their statuses. Jane does not judge people off of their class statuses, she judges them based on their actions, like she did with Mr. Brocklehurst and Bessie, “I judge from the impression made on me by her nursery tales” (49).Lastly Jane comes to experience the upper class status, when she agrees to marry Rochester, and when she inherited twenty thousand dollars from her uncle, John Eyre, he was a successful wine merchant. Even when Jane was considered rich while she was with Rochester, she did not pity, loath people who are poor and going a-begging. Instead she helped them and giving the rest of her money to them.
“A begger-women and her little boy – pale, ragged objects both- were coming up the walk, and I ran down and gave them all the money I happened to have in my purse…” (491). Jane was still selfless to help poor people out, even when she was a higher class status than her.Jane goes through to many turning points in her life, especially when her class status changes drastically. Even though she changes class statuses, she remains the same, caring, and smart girl. This novel shows how she went through so much, but stayed the same.
Her character does not change in an awful way, only changes in gaining experience and being wiser, and seeing how the world around us works. Also this shows us how we should not be judged based by our social, or class status, only based on our actions and words.