Jane Eyre in Flash Fiction Chapter 1
How I came to be locked in the red-room
There was no possibility of taking a walk that chilly November afternoon.
My cousins Eliza, John and Georgina were clustered around their mother and my aunt, Mrs Reed, in the drawing room, while I was kept at a distance, accused of insolence.
I made myself at home on the window-seat in the breakfast-room, behind a heavy curtain, reading Berwick’s History of British Birds, with its eerie pictures, which told mysterious stories of marine phantoms, churchyards, torpid seas and gallows.
My cousin, John, who at fourteen was four years older and twice my size, interrupted my solitude, ordering me to return his book because I was a penniless orphan and an unwanted guest at his house.
I did as requested and he threw the book at my head with such force that I fell and hit my head on the door. Blood trickled down my neck. “You are wicked like the Roman emperors,” I said, because I had read all about Nero and Caligula in Goldsmith’s History of Rome.
He called me a rat and pulled my hair viciously. I fought him off frantically and when his mother found us; I was accused of aggressive behaviour and dragged upstairs to be locked in the red room.
The first chapter of Jane Eyre is impressive. The reader is thrust into a brave, intelligent and abused ten-year-old’s struggle to survive in a hostile world.
The story begins in Jane’s lowest moment; orphaned, unloved, bullied, physically beaten, silenced and locked in a room. It may not be a coincidence that at this precise moment, Bertha Antionetta Mason, the first Mrs Rochester, was also locked in the attic at Thornfield Hall.
We learn that Jane is an orphan who lives with her unloving aunt and nasty cousins, much like Cinderella, but with a bullying boy added to the picture. We also know she is an intelligent child who reads and understands books for adults about Roman emperors and birds.
We feel immediate compassion for the child, but we are also aware that she is not to be pitied. Jane is an intelligent and spirited girl who is prepared to face her bullies and fight for her freedom.
The summary is based on the free ebook by planet books which you can find here.
Here’s a post I wrote about the books Jane Eyre read.
Here’s a post I wrote about the first line of Jane Eyre: “There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.”
I’ll be posting a chapter of Jane Eyre in flash fiction every Friday. If you’re wondering why, read all about it here.
So if you’d you’d like to Reread Jane Eyre with me, visit my blog every Friday for #JaneEyreFF posts.
See you next week for chapter 2!
Images from Pixabay