Jane’s maltreatment as a child is disturbing. At the beginning of this book, we are told that Jane was raised as an orphan at the hands of her Aunt who treats her rather cruelly and sends her to the “red room” in which her Uncle died in as punishment.
Jane’s Aunt also tells her school that she is a “compulsive liar” when she is not, and evidently causes a lot of stress for Jane. This is obviously abusive, seeing as how Jane’s Uncle made her Aunt promise to raise Jane as her own, and yet mistreats her so by punishing her in ways that are despicable, such as lying to her school and holding her power as an adult over Jane’s head.
When Jane is sent to school, she finds out it is in fact a school for orphans. There is of course the unlivable conditions of the frozen water pitchers, and Jane is punished by Mr. Brocklehurst who is also notable for his reputation as being cruel to the students. One of the punishments for Jane is standing in front of the class and telling people she is a liar. Jane’s new school almost seems like another sort of “red room” for her, similar to the one her Aunt put her in when she was being punished.
What is the significance of the “red room?” Is it significant of a sort of prison for Jane? A reminder of her childhood? Of grief for her Uncle? Or is it much greater than that, perhaps a symbol of the inescapable “red room” Jane is in now?
I am not sure entirely, but I think the significance of the “red room” isn’t just a symbol of the abuse she endured, but also a greater metaphor for her stature in society as a whole.