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Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre as a Coming of Age Story

Jane Eyre as a Coming of Age Story

Charlotte Bronte’s classic, Jane Eyre, is a “coming of age” story. The main character, Jane, travels from the innocence of childhood through the maturity of adulthood. During this journey, Jane goes through the battle of education vs. containment, where she attempts to learn about herself and about the world. She must constantly battle a containment of sorts, however, whether it be a true physical containment or a mental one. This battle of education vs. containment can be seen by following Jane through her different places of residence, including Gateshead Hall, Lowood Institution, Thornfield, Moor House and Morton, and Ferndean Manor, where she is, finally, fully educated and escapes the feeling of containment which she held throughout the novel.

The story begins as Jane lives with the Reed family in their home at Gateshead Hall. Here, the theme of education vs. containment develops immediately, as Jane is kept confined indoors on a cold winter day. The other children (Eliza, John, and Giorgiana) are “clustered round their mamma in the drawing-room” (Bronte: 39) being educated, as Jane had been excluded from the group. Jane tries to educate herself by reading from Berwick’s History of British Birds, but once again, she is held back from her attempt at enlightenment by the abuse of John Reed, who castigates her and throws the heavy book at her. In anger, Jane cries out, “You are like a murderer – you are like a slave-driver – you are like the Roman emperors” (Bronte: 43). In this passage, Jane compares John Reed to a slave-driver because, like a slave-driver, he deprives Jane of her attempt at education and keeps her suppressed. Afterwards, Jane is blamed for the entire incident and…

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…ome of the modern woman, as she manages a perfect balance between both, the spiritual and the physical, which is what she really wanted in life.

Works Cited and Consulted

Beaty, Jerome. Misreading Jane Eyre. Columbus: Ohio State UP, 1996.

Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. New York: Dodd, Mead

Hamlet’s Antic Disposition

Hamlet’s Antic Disposition

In William Shakespeare’s famous tragedy Hamlet, the main character of the story is one majestically elaborated, aside from being quite complex. There are infinite volumes written about this character because Shakespeare leaves no firm proof of many of his character traits. Yet on Hamlet’s antic disposition, meaning his obviously absurd temperament or madness, Shakespeare leaves plenty of reason to believe that it is feigned, meaning that it is simply a ploy to help Hamlet carry out his plans for revenge. It is feigned, meaning that it is faked, merely put on as a façade. This is denoted in various aspects of his antic disposition. Hamlet’s antic disposition is self imposed, meaning that he himself decides to appear “mad”, assuming the antic disposition willingly because he thinks it meet. It is methodical because there is a system to it. He is able to turn it on and off when he has reason for it; other characters in the play notice it and Hamlet himself states it. Finally, Hamlet’s madness is also clever because it allows him to express himself and his thoughts clearly, and through comments full of wit that show his awareness of reality when he mocks other characters in their faces without their noticing. Therefore, Hamlet’s antic disposition is not true madness; rather it is feigned because it is self imposed, methodical and clever.

Hamlet’s antic disposition is self imposed, meaning that he chooses to impose this disposition upon himself. He willingly appears to be mad in order to obtain all he wants. This comes up in the situation after Hamlet has seen his father’s ghost and is with Horatio and Marcellus. He, on this occasion warns them that he does “think meet to put an antic d…

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… and off at his will, being it a means for an end. This again, shows that the madness is feigned because true madness lacks method. Finally, the cleverness of his madness shows it to be feigned because he expresses his true opinions through the madness, being able to even mock others willingly, a characteristic that clearly renders his madness fake. Shakespeare lets us know that his main character is mad through all these proofs he leaves behind. Yet there are many other aspects of Shakespeare’s Hamlet to be analyzed and discussed, but that you will not find here for they are elsewhere, in endless volumes of infinitely large libraries.


1. Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. New York, NY: Simon

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