Childhood Trauma

GATESHEAD - This is the experience that started it all. Every hardship that Jane Eyre would come to endure was an onset of how she was improperly raised at Gateshead. She never recieved normal care or affection that is necessary for every child to grow up and blossom. This is what set her up for great difficulties that would follow. 

Jane Eyre describes her time living at the Reed Estate as a time full of neglect and indifference. Jane said that she was never properly watched or taken care of throughout her time at the Estate. Despite the idea that she was taken in, she was never really recieved as welcomed addition. "It's right there in my book," Eyre said. "You can read it yourself right before I was locked in the red room I was reading a book with such ghastly images."

It is true. In Eyre's autobiography it is stated that she was reading a book with images that might spook a child. The Eyre refers to contains the image of a devilish gargoyle, thieves, and phantom ships. "So was the black horned thing seated aloof on a rock, surveying a distant crowd surrounding the gallows," Eyre wrote.

The trauma stems from the lack of supervision. Mrs. Reed pays no mind to Jane Eyre until she recognizes that she is gone. Using her son John Reed as an extension of her will, she sends him to find her. "The way that Mrs. Reed empowered John was always so unfair to me," Eyre said. "As a child, I was rebellious against these people. Instead, of discplining me and telling me that I was wrong I was punished severly."

It is in this instant in Jane Eyre's life that it is made immeadiate clear that she does not belong in this household. "You have no business to take our books; you are a dependent," John Reed said in the book. 

Eyre said that the book is what drove her imagination that night in the red room. It caused her to lose sense of what was real and what was not. "Then finally being sent into that horrendous room by myself my mind began to wander," Jane Eyre said. "It was mostly about superstitions and what not but I know it was driven by the way I was treated. I began to relate more to those pictures than to the Reeds," Eyre said. 

This treatment that Jane Eyre documented cemented the idea that she is lowly and undeserving of a good life. As she heads through the rest of her life she will carry that sentiment with her and every obstacle ahead of her will become more and more overbearing. "It was not until I left Gateshead that my life seemed to pick up," Jane Eyre said. "For the longest time I thought I might spend the rest of my life as a burden in that house. When I was sent to Lowood I knew I had a chance to break free."

Jane Eyre recalls this first section of her book as the opening to her life. Before this moment she feared her life would be stagnant. By acting out and standing up for  herself she set herself up for a chain of events that she would never see coming.