Jane Eyre: Novel Summary: Chapters 1-2

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Chapter 1: Chapter one introduces Jane, the narrator of the story, her aunt Mrs. Reed, and her cousins, Eliza, John and Georgiana Reed.  Ten-year old Jane lives at the Reed's Gateshead Hall. It becomes obvious that Jane's place in the household is not a comfortable one, and Mrs. Reed does not think highly of her.  Jane tries to remain unnoticed in the drawing room reading on a rainy day, but John Reed, the fourteen-year-old son of Mrs. Reed, soon finds her.  Jane lives in terror of John, as he bullies and punishes her without end.  John becomes angry that Jane is reading one of their books, and says that she is a dependent there, has no money, and should not "live [there] with gentlemen's children like [them]." John throws the book at Jane, causing her to fall and cut her head against the door.  Jane then fights against him, and when Mrs. Reed enters the room she sends Jane to be locked in the red-room.
Chapter 2: "I resisted all the way: a new thing for me." Jane states as Bessie, the nurse, tries to take her away.  She tells Jane that she should not act so, as she is in debt to Mrs. Reed and is not equal to the Misses or Mr. Reed.  When Bessie leaves her alone, Jane wonders why it is that she is always thought to be bad no matter how she tries to please, and why John is not punished for hitting her.  Jane thinks that Mr. Reed, her uncle who had died nine years before, would not treat her so.  The red-room where Jane is locked is the room where Mr. Reed had died, and on thinking of this, Jane believes she sees something in the room with her and rushes to shake the locked door.  Bessie soon comes running, but Mrs. Reed pushes Jane back into the room and locks the door.  Jane falls unconscious.

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