GATESHEAD - Jane Eyre spent her childhood stuck with a family that refused to tolerate her at the Gateshead Estate and instead treated her as an outcast that walked among them. Early on Jane is infused with the idea that she deserves nothing.
While Eyre stayed at Gateshead with the Reed family she was constantly victimized and tortured. One event in particular left her traumatized after being locked in a room alone as punishment for reading and defending herself from her cousin.
At Gateshead, Eyre found it hard to abide by the strict rule of the Reed family. It was made evident that she was a bother, something they had to care for. Many times, Eyre would find herself attempting to fit in and do as was expected of her.
Most of the time her efforts were lost to the Reeds. They simply did not care how much she tried to fit in. They seemed to always find something she was doing wrong and point it out.
When at Gateshead Jane Eyre spent quite a lot of time trying to fit in with her cousins. In fact, when going out of her way, she actively acknowledged how she much she had to work. "I was endeavouring in good earnest to acquire a more sociable and childlike disposition, a more attractive and sprightly manner," Eyre wrote.
This scene that Jane Eyre captures in her book shows how she can already understand the view that her community is projecting onto her. Her role in this household is as a subject. It is evident in how John Reed said, "Say 'What do you want, Master Reed?'"
In the community of this estate Jane Eyre is forced into the role of a sevant. Since she is a mere child and cannot pay her way, or do real work she is undesirable to the family.
Eyre said that the shift from Gateshead to Lowood was a defining moment for her life as a person. "Finally standing up to the way I was being treated inadvertently got me cast out," Jane Eyre said. "However, I believe this to be the first real step into how I wanted to live my life."