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Free Study Guide-Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte-Free Booknotes Summary
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Chapter 3


On waking, Jane feels relieved to find herself with Bessie and the apothecary, Mr. Lloyd. However, Mr. Lloyd soon leaves, and Bessie tells her that she fell ill with crying in the red room. That night, while Bessie and Sarah sleep, Jane remains in dreadful wakefulness.

The next day, although Jane is better, her nerves are in a dreadful state. She finds herself alone with Bessie after the Reeds have gone out in their carriage. Bessie offers her a tart on a brightly painted china plate, but Jane cannot eat. Bessie asks if she wants a book, and Jane chooses Gulliver's Travels, but the same pictures which had once charmed her now appear frightening. When Bessie sings, Jane finds in the melody an indescribable sadness comparable to the wretchedness of her own mind.

When the apothecary comes again, he wants to know the cause of Jane's cheerless disposition and extracts from her an account of the events that have strained her nerves. When Jane confesses that she has no one who loves her at Gateshead, Mr. Lloyd asks her if she would like to go live with her father's relatives instead. Jane refuses the offer because they are poor, and she does not see how poor people can possibly support more dependents. Mr. Lloyd finally recommends that she be sent to school. This seems more than acceptable to Mrs. Reed.

From the conversations between Miss Abbot and Bessie, Jane learns some information about her parents. Her mother offended her grandfather Reed by marrying a poor clergyman, and as result, she was left with no inheritance. She also learns that her parents, neglected by their family, died of typhus fever.


Jane's red room experience leaves her so strained and terrified that the effects last for a very long time. Afterwards she is unable to enjoy food, music and books the way she used to, and she remains wrapped up in the inevitability of her own melancholy. The servants find her orphaned situation pitiable but are unable to express much kindness towards her. This is because she has become a "firesome ill-conditioned child," always watching and, as Mrs. Reed observes, violent and pretentious. Her appearance also alienates her from others, for she is not an attractive child.

This chapter examines Jane's unfortunate social position and her inferior status. She is frightened to think of living with her poor relatives. Jane finds small comfort in the intervention of people like Mr. Lloyd and the servants. In the final analysis Jane is a little girl on her own, deeply vulnerable to the uncaring adults around her. With the loss of her parents, Jane lost her only chance for love in her childhood.

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Free Study Guide-Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte-Free Plot Summary Synopsis


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