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Psychological Effects of Injustice

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Psychological Effects of Injustice

Everyone at one point or another has experienced some sort of injustice that has occurred within their lives. Injustice is defined in many different terms, but essentially it being treated unfair. One kind of injustice is abuse. In the novel Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, the main character is abused at a young age. Injustices occurred everywhere in the main character, Jane Eyre's life. Jane lived at different places throughout her life which include Gateshead, Lowood, and Thornfield. Gateshead is the location where the orphan Jane grew up with her cousins, the Reeds. Lowood is the school for orphans in which Jane is sent to at the age of ten. Finally, Thornfield is one of her final residence where she is a governess and teaches Adele, who is the daughter of Mr. Rochester, the owner. Although injustices occurred throughout Jane's life, especially during her childhood at Gateshead, the effect of being treated unfair plays a key role on her psychological state throughout the rest of her life.

While at Gateshead her aunt, Mrs. Reed, refused to allow Jane to play with her cousins Eliza, John, and Georgiana. Jane retreated to reading books by herself to pass the time. Though Jane never wanted to cause any trouble between her and her cousins, John would always provoke her. Jane says, "There were moments when I was bewildered by the terror he inspiredÐ'.....Mrs. Reed was blind and deaf on the subject: she never saw him strike or heard him abuse me, though he did both now and then in her very presence," (Bronte 8).

One time in particular when Jane was reading, her cousin John came into the room and started sticking his tongue out and doing other boorish things to her. Jane knew that he was going to continue to provoke her. Eventually John came and struck Jane with a book causing her great pain and she started bleeding. Mrs. Reed came down and immediately demanded that Jane get sent to the red-room . Mrs. Reed didn't even ask to hear the story of what happened, but immediately blamed Jane. She was physically hurt by the book and no one even bothered or cared. In the multivolume work of the Institutional Abuse of Children and Youth it says, "Children are often physically abused, neglected, and disregarded in placement by caretakers appointed to provide a positive experience for them (Gil 8). While locked in the room, Jane begins thinking why she can never be loved. Jane thinks to herself, "I strove to fulfill every duty, and I was termed naughty and tiresome, sullen and sneaking, from morning to noon, and from noon to night," (Bronte 12). Jane begins to think that she is the one who is doing something wrong. She doesn't even understand that it is not her fault at all that she is being treated unjustly.

Many abused children feel as if it is their fault, or as if they are doing something wrong. In the Institutional Abuse of Children and Youth it says, "Many abused children feel as if they are the ones to blame, not blaming yourself is a key step to moving on," (Tyler 128). Jane herself has many problems moving past this one incident, and even suggests killing herself in a gruesome manner. Jane says, "as running away, or, if that could not be effected, never eating or drinking more, and letting myself die" (Bronte 12). Jane is still a young girl at this time, and she is thinking about killing herself because of such harsh and unjust conditions that she is in. With these thoughts running through her mind at such a young age, the impact this will have on her mind is alarming. Jane is always being accused of being a liar and very naughty when really that wasn't her personality at all.

The injustice that occurs with Jane Eyre when she is completely blamed for the fight with John got me thinking about my own life. I have an older brother who is two years older than me. As hard as it is to believe I always used to get behavioral checkmarks in school for "speaking at inappropriate times." My parents thought for sure that I was just a big trouble maker. If my brother and I would

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