2. Based on what you have read, would you like to live in the world Jane inhabits?

From what I have read, I would not have liked to have lived in a similar position to Jane. The world she inhabits is a world of firm and often unjust authority where she is constantly repressed.

At Gateshead, Jane is an outsider. Her uncle Mr. Reed died leaving orders for Jane to be taken care of by Mrs. Reed. Jane is therefore a burden, despised, excluded and bullied. She is constantly labelled "deceitful", and when Mrs. Reed tells this to Mr. Brocklehurst the Headmaster of Lowood School where Jane intended to make a fresh start without this label, Jane is indignant: "Now, uttered before a stranger, the accusation cut me to the heart. I dimly perceived that she was already obliterating hope from the new phase of existence which she destined me to enter." 

Lowood school provides girls with an education and holds strong Christian values, but it is effectually an orphanage, and reminds me more of an orphanage than anything else. Mr. Brocklehurst is in control of the school and places an emphasis on frugality and keeping running costs low. Food is scarce and of bad quality,and clothing is insufficiant to protect from the cold in winter during the hour each day the girls are required to spend outdoors. In its emphasis on modesty, Mr. Brocklehurst goes as far as to cut off the girl's curly hair, ordering her not to "conform to nature". This is a clear example of the Headmaster's hypocrisy as, with ironic timing, his wife and two daughters enter, lavishly dressed.

 Jane's future holds no promise of Excitement or great freedom. She becomes a govorness, the only occupation suitable for her. At this time, it was unthinkable that a woman could become a doctor, run a business or become mayor. These times were far removed from our modern ideas of equality.


1. What is your first impression of Jane Eyre, the character? Support your points with close reference to the text.

My first impression of Jane Eyre is that she is a very neglected child. Her story opens in Gateshead, her home in name alone. Her aunt, Mrs. Reed is tyrannical, and favouring towards her own children. She makes the absurd point that maternal warmth and affection are "privileges reserved for contented, happy little children", whe the fact that Jane has always been denied these "privileges" of love and belonging is whatkeeps her from being happy and contented. Jane is bullied, and Mrs. Reed joins in the bullying, punishing Jane by locking her in the Red Room, where Mr. Reed is believed to have died. 

Despite, or perhaps because of, the emotional hardship with which Jane has been raised, she possesses a strength and self-reliance far beyond her ten years. Quite sadly for such a young child, she is very much aware of her lack of physical beauty, readily acknowledging the fact that if she were "an handsome, romping child - though equally dependent and friendless" she would be treated with marginally less contempt.

Jane is naturally fiery, and defiant when she knows she is being treated unfairly. She claims to have "resisted all the way" as she was brought to the Red Room by Abbot and Bessie, the maids at Gateshead. Another examplke of Jane's defiance is her backlash against Mrs. Reed before she leaves for boarding school, insisting that "I am not your dear...send me to school soon Mrs. Reed, for I hate to live here!"

After befriending the serene, angelic Helen Burns at Lowood school, Jane is inspired by her calm demeanour and Christian values. Helen accepts whatever punishments are thrust upon her, however unfair. Jane learns to do the same when the Headmaster, Mr. Brocklehurst, warns the other girls to reject Jane on account of her alleged "deceit" and makes her stand on a stool in front of the entire school. Jane finds the strength to do so without fuss or complaint, "I mastered the rising hysteria, lifted up my head and took a firm stand on the stool".






Mr. Rochester - First Impressions

My first impression of Mr. Rochester is that he is very much used to being the "man of the house" and having all around him at his beck and call. He is very direct, admitting himself that he forgets to use "civilities", justifying this by explaining that "I am used to say "Do this!" and it is done". he has a changeable personality, sometimes conversational, at other times distant to the point of being icy. Jane does not take this personally, as she soon realises that his mood towards her "depended on causes quite disconnected" with her. He is consistently distant with Mrs. Fairfax, the housekeeper, and Adéle, the little girl who adores him like a father,showing little affection towards the little girl and claiming rather tactlessly not to like "the society of children and old women".

 Mr. Rochester appears to have a tendency to bear severe grudges. We learn that, following a quarrel with his father and brother over inheritence, he "broke with his family". Both his father and brother are now dead, and we as readers are given no hint that they ever reconciled. 

An impression I have of Mr. Rochester is that he is quite accusing and belittling, and would be an uncomfortable prescence in reality. When Adéle suggests a "cadeau" or present be given to Jane on Rochester's return to Thornefield, he accuses Jane of "beating around the bush", even though she expressed no interest in any sort of gift. When, as requested,she shows him her artist's portfolio, he wrongly makes the assumption that "probably a master" helped her.

I can't see how Mr. Rochester is supposed to be the "love interest" in this novel - I for one do not find his character remotely attractive.


The Scriptwriter

The Scriptwriter is a one-man show by Gerard Carey, the creator of Psycho Spaghetti. Scriptwriter was classed under the E Word..Educational theatre! Barney, Hi Five and Ballamory also fit this category, so my doubts weren't completely unfair. Scriptwriter however, is more like stand-up comedy than anything else. Gerard Carey managed to hold the attention of a theatre full of mixed Transition Year students for well over an hour and a half, which is no mean feat (just ask Ms O' Sullivan!). He gave his opinions and advice on Irish teenagers, Friends, the effects and ploys used in advertising, what a frightened giraffe sounds like... oh and writing scripts. Props were used sparingly, but were appropriate and sometimes hilariously random (eg. a lamp-post on wheels for the purpose of leaning against). Without realising it until later, I learned a lot about TV techniques, auditioning and advertising. I would definately reccommend The Scriptwriter for any TY group.

Vanishing Acts (Fast-Paced and Thought Provoking)

Title: Vanishing Acts

Author: Jodi Picoult


Pages: 417

Rating: 9/10

Vanishing Acts is the story of Delia Hopkins. She leads a normal life in New Hampshire with her widowed father ,Andrew, fiancé ,Eric, and daughter Sophie, and finds missing people for a living. One day, a knock on the door changes everything. It's the police, there to arrest Delia's father for her kidnapping 28 years ago. In an instant, everything she thought she knew about herself is snatched from her. Her name, age and place of birth are all fake, and her mother is not dead, but living in Arizona. Andrew is taken to prison to await trial in Arizona and Delia's "family" also moves to Arizona: Delia to support him, Eric to represent him in court as an attorney and Delia's best friend, Fitz, to secretly cover the case for the New Hampshire Gazette. Delia finally meets her mother, a Mexican bartender who used to be an alcoholic and realises that no story is black and white and no person is completely right or wrong. Meanwhile, her father has turned to fighting and drug-smuggling in order to get by in prison and his case does not look good. Delia can't remember anything before her abduction.

Jodi Picoult's other books include "The Pact", "Perfect Match" and the award-winning "My Sister's Keeper". "Vanishing Acts" is told from multiple viewpoints, but this does not slow the story down. Each character is really believable, flawed and so convincing that it is impossible to side against any of them. The story is fast-moving, with twists right up until the end. The storyline has many underlying themes such as friendship, family, and conflict between the good and evil in everyone, making it thought-provoking and a story you will want to read again. 

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