While reading the first few chapters of “Jane Eyre”, I thought to myself that I have read this narrative before in the past. It was not Jane Eyre but something similar; it was not until the passage “On that same occasion I learned, for the first time, from Miss Abbot’s friends, who considered the match beneath her; that my grandfather Reed was so irritated at her disobedience, he cut her off without a shilling; that after my mother and father had been married a year.”
That I saw the comparisons to the Harry Potter series. I do not expect Jane to eventually find her way to Hogwarts but the concept is the same to a certain degree. Harry and Jane are both orphans who have to deal with abusive and morally bankrupt relatives. They also bare the same struggles more or less because of their parents marrying out of the hierarchy. The vehement disgust or just bitter indifference that both titular characters deal with is eye opening because of the fact, the settings for these books are so different; the issues with lineage should not be the same in relation to orphans.
The comparisons do not stop their because of the dynamic of the cousins are relatable. The novel starts with Jane receiving her daily abuse from her cousin John Reed, who seems highly malicious for a young man of his age. This mirrors the Harry and Dudley dynamic very well but a certain difference does exist because John applies more thought to his actions; whereas Dudley just like to hit Harry because he could hit him. The element of gender roles most likely plays a heavy hand in John’s abusive tactics towards Jane as well as everyone else’s indifference to his misogynistic behavior towards Jane.
“I knew he would soon strike, and while dreading the blow, I mused on the disgusting and ugly appearance of him who would presently deal it. I wonder if he read that notion in my face; for, all at once, without speaking, he struck suddenly and strongly.”
Mr. Reed clearly has issues he needs to resolve very much, most likely with his mother but Sigmund Freud has not been born yet. Poor Jane! The indifference from everyone else in the family strongly resembles the manner from Aunt Petunia who looked the other way various times at the abuse that Harry suffered at the hands of her son and the behavior of her husband. Mrs. Reed and all the way to Bessie, it is clear that no one finds Jane to be martyr in the slightest. The current way of thinking is that she should be happy for the life that she has been given from the Reeds. This arrogant thought is the same arrogant thought that course through the beginning of the Harry Potter novels as well. The idea that orphans are the lowest of the hierarchy and should never complain about being mistreated because begging is clearly a worse fate to be subjected to. The similarities do not stop because of the comparisons between the “Red-Room” and the “Broom Closet.” Harry and Jane also share the honor of having rooms just designated for them to be punished. I also found it to be very interesting that both of them are called by their first and last names, which must be a way to distinguish orphans from the everyday family.
The only dramatic difference that I saw from “Jane Eyre” and the “Harry Potter” series and even “Emma.” The scene where Jane meets the school master is highly morally didactic it its approach. It’s a homage of some sorts to old British children’s literature that was meant only educate young boys and girls to learn to honor thy god and help them find themselves on the right path.
“Do you read your Bible?” “Sometimes.” “With pleasure? Are you fond of it?” “I like Revelations, and the book of Daniel, and Genesis and Samuel, and a little bit of Exodus, and some parts of Kings and Chronicles, and Job and Jonah.” “And the Psalms? I hope you like them?” “No, sir.” “No? oh, shocking! I have a little boy, younger than you, who knows six Psalms by heart: and when you ask him which he would rather have, a ginger-bread nut to eat, or a verse of a Psalm to learn, he says: ‘Oh! the verse of a Psalm! angels sing Psalms;’ says he, ‘I wish to be a little angel here below;’