Birdsong

by

Sebastian Faulks

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Isabelle Azaire’s sister. Like Isabelle, Jeanne is expected to dedicate her life to her neglectful and indifferent parents, but she has other ideas. Instead, she dreams of making her own decisions and living for herself, and in this way, she challenges traditional gender stereotypes of women as dependent upon men. Jeanne and Isabelle are very close, and when a pregnant Isabelle leaves her lover, Stephen, Jeanne takes care of her sister. She again takes care of Isabelle after she is injured in the bombardments in Amiens during the war, and after Isabelle dies of the flu, Jeanne raises her daughter, Françoise, as her own. Jeanne is gentle and kind, and she befriends Stephen during the war when he needs it the most. She falls in love with him, and while they are married after the war, Stephen never feels the passion for her that he does for Isabelle.
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Jeanne Character Timeline in Birdsong

The timeline below shows where the character Jeanne appears in Birdsong. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part One: France 1910
Love and Hate Theme Icon
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
...two eldest, Béatrice and Delphine, have formed an exclusive alliance. The second to youngest Fourmentier, Jeanne, while only two years older than Isabelle, is her only family support, and the person... (full context)
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
...seeing the marks as “the witness of an intimacy that pressed her heart.” Her sister, Jeanne, has taught her not to be ashamed of such things. (full context)
Love and Hate Theme Icon
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
Stephen and Isabelle arrive in St.-Rémy-de-Provence, near Isabelle’s cousin, and Jeanne wires them money to secure an apartment. Stephen takes a job as an assistant to... (full context)
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
Nature, War, and Morality Theme Icon
...feelings for her baby make her nostalgic for her own family, or at least for Jeanne, and she begins to feel guilty for what she has done. She has already confessed... (full context)
Love and Hate Theme Icon
Later, Isabelle writes a letter to Jeanne. She tells her of her pregnancy and her hesitancy to tell Stephen. The doctor has... (full context)
Part Four: France 1917
Love and Hate Theme Icon
...woman in the street, she appears to know him as well. It is Isabelle’s sister, Jeanne, and she agrees to talk with Stephen. He asks about Isabelle, and Jeanne claims she... (full context)
Nature, War, and Morality Theme Icon
Stephen is suspicious of her presence in Amiens, and Jeanne admits to coming to care for Isabelle. After Isabelle left Stephen, Jeanne says, Isabelle returned... (full context)
Love and Hate Theme Icon
Stephen tells Jeanne that he wants to see Isabelle. She won’t take him to her, but she agrees... (full context)
Love and Hate Theme Icon
After leaving Jeanne, Stephen walks down to the boulevard du Cange. The landscape is familiar and memories rush... (full context)
Nature, War, and Morality Theme Icon
The next night, Stephen meets Jeanne as planned, and she tells him that Isabelle has agreed to see him, and she... (full context)
Love and Hate Theme Icon
...the army. Stephen thinks he hears the sound of a child, but Isabelle claims that Jeanne has two cats. (full context)
Love and Hate Theme Icon
The next day, Stephen receives a letter from Jeanne in Amiens. Isabelle has left for Munich to be with Max (he was injured in... (full context)
Love and Hate Theme Icon
...boat home to England for his forced leave. He stops and writes a letter to Jeanne, telling her that other than Weir, she is the only friend he has. He tears... (full context)
Love and Hate Theme Icon
Nature, War, and Morality Theme Icon
Stephen heads back to France a day early so that he can visit Jeanne in Amiens. He arrives to the dark apartment and finds that in Isabelle’s absence, the... (full context)
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
Stephen asks Jeanne if she will be returning home to Rouen now that Isabelle no longer needs her.... (full context)
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Jeanne makes Stephen a nice meal, and as they eat she displays a “pleasant shyness.” In... (full context)
Part Six: France 1918
Nature, War, and Morality Theme Icon
...Stephen takes a few days to go to Rouen. Amiens has become too dangerous, and Jeanne has relocated until it is safe to return. Sitting in her small flat, Jeanne thinks... (full context)
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
Jeanne tells Stephen about the German advance on Amiens. She didn’t want to leave, but she... (full context)
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
Bérard sent her father a letter telling him about Isabelle and Max, Jeanne says, and when she wrote Isabelle, she wasn’t surprised to hear it. According to Isabelle,... (full context)
Love and Hate Theme Icon
Jeanne tells Stephen that Max is not well and that he has had to have his... (full context)
Nature, War, and Morality Theme Icon
Jeanne and Stephen go out for dinner, and afterward, they sit in the garden drinking brandy.... (full context)
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Sex and Gender Theme Icon
Later, Jeanne undresses in her bedroom. She walks naked across the room to get her robe. As... (full context)
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“Let me hold you,” Jeanne says. Stephen walks into her arms and puts his own arms around her thighs. He... (full context)
Part Seven: England 1979
Love and Hate Theme Icon
Elizabeth reads about her grandmother, Jeanne, in the journals, and notes that her grandfather refers to her as “kind” and “gentle.”... (full context)
History and the Future Theme Icon
Thinking about her grandmother, Elizabeth becomes confused again. Jeanne was born in 1878, and while she’s not exactly sure when Françoise was born, with... (full context)
History and the Future Theme Icon
Love and Hate Theme Icon
...that her own mother was not married to her father. She then tells her that Jeanne is not her real grandmother. She has wanted to tell her over the years, but... (full context)
History and the Future Theme Icon
...Isabelle in the journals. Yes, says Elizabeth, “an old girlfriend.” Françoise tells her that Isabelle, Jeanne’s younger sister, was her real mother. She had died right after the war in the... (full context)