Jane Eyre

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Jane Eyre Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Two servants, Bessie Lee and Miss Abbot, haul the wildly struggling Jane upstairs. Shocked at her violent outbreak, they scold her for disrespecting Mrs. Reed, her benefactress and master. They tell Jane that she depends on Mrs. Reed's generosity. Without it, she would have to go to the poor house.
Because of her uncertain status in the family and in the social hierarchy, Jane is a prisoner of Mrs. Reed's "generosity" as well as the red-room. Adopted children like Jane had few, if any, options of their own.
Themes
Love, Family, and Independence Theme Icon
Social Class and Social Rules Theme Icon
They lock Jane alone in the red-room. Jane catches sight of her gaunt reflection in the mirror and broods on the injustice of Gateshead Hall, where she is always being insulted and punished while the Reed brats enjoy every privilege. She knows that the kindly Mr. Reed would never have treated her so badly. Mr. Reed brought her to Gateshead, and it was his dying wish that Mrs. Reed raise Jane like one of her own children.
Alone with her reflection and her thoughts, Jane starts to realize what she deserves as an individual, and what was promised to her by Mr. Reed—to be treated with love and respect. Though she is powerless, she knows that she deserves better.
Themes
Love, Family, and Independence Theme Icon
Social Class and Social Rules Theme Icon
Jane thinks about the dead and how, when wronged, they can arise to seek revenge. Suddenly, Jane is overwhelmed with a sense of Mr. Reed's presence in the room. Convinced she sees his ghost, Jane screams in terror. The servants open the door, but Mrs. Reed refuses to believe Jane or to let her out. Locked back into the red-room again, Jane faints.
Imagined or not, the ghost sets the tone for many of the supernatural elements in the novel. Jane wants revenge, but it takes a terrifying form in Mr. Reed's spirit. Jane must learn another, more controlled way to confront injustice.
Themes
Love, Family, and Independence Theme Icon
Feeling vs. Judgment Theme Icon
The Spiritual and the Supernatural Theme Icon