Jane Eyre

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Jane Eyre Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
For two months, Jane anxiously waits for her schooling to start. She is finally interviewed by Mr. Brocklehurst—the aloof and stern headmaster of the Lowood school. He lectures Jane about religion, especially about the virtue of consistency. Mrs. Reed warns him that Jane is a liar, and Mr. Brocklehurst promises to inform her future teachers.
Another painfully ironic moment—as will become clear, Brocklehurst is hardly pious or consistent, while it is Mrs. Reed who is the liar. Once again, Mrs. Reed does harm to her niece, whom she should protect.
Themes
Love, Family, and Independence Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Jane is so hurt by Mrs. Reed's false accusation that she can't stop herself from angrily exclaiming that her aunt makes her sick and is herself a cruel and deceitful person. Mrs. Reed is dumbstruck and subdued by Jane's bold criticism. Afterwards, Jane feels a thrilling mix of victory and fear at her uncontrolled passions.
Jane's passionate nature arises. By asserting herself, she stops others from misrepresenting and taking advantage of her. But she also knows that because of her social position, her outburst is out of line. She must learn to control her passions.
Themes
Love, Family, and Independence Theme Icon
Social Class and Social Rules Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Feeling vs. Judgment Theme Icon
The Reeds continue to shun Jane during her remaining time at Gateshead. Yet Jane makes friends with Bessie and speaks to her with a new "frank and fearless" attitude. Bessie treats her to stories and cakes and tells Jane she likes her better than the Reed kids.
Jane is beginning to mature because she sees through—and speaks out against—the hypocritical and cruel conventions that silence and repress her.
Themes
Love, Family, and Independence Theme Icon
Social Class and Social Rules Theme Icon