Mrs Reed

Outer characterization

Sarah Reed is Jane’s maternal aunt in the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. She is described as being around thirty-six years old and “a woman of robust frame, square-shouldered and strong-limbed, not tall, and, though stout, not obese” (Chapter 4, 63%). She has a large face with a strong jaw and prominent chin, darker skin, blonde hair, and “cold, composed grey eyes” (Chapter 4, 5%). 

Mrs Reed is a widow and she lives at Gateshead Hall with her three children: John, Georgiana, and Eliza. Though she is not a blood relation to Jane, she takes Jane in after her parents die because Mr Reed, on his deathbed, makes her promise to take care of Jane. Mrs Reed accepts this, although she resents Jane. 

Inner characterization

Mrs Reed treats Jane cruelly. She excludes Jane from the family and claims she should have a “ ‘more sociable and childlike disposition, a more attractive and sprightly manner’ ” (Chapter 1, 17%).  She usually treats Jane as a dependent and not as a family member, and instructs the rest of her household to do the same, saying Jane...

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