Jane and cousin john

Words: 401-500

Skills: Character Traits Context Clues Point of View

Grades: 6th 7th 8th 9th

Topics: Realistic Fiction

Genres: Prose

Lexile Range:

Lexile Measure:

CCSS: Reading: Literature

Themes:

Jane and Cousin John


by Charlotte Brontë from Jane Eyre

Chapter I passage: Charlotte Brontë published her novel "Jane Eyre" in 1847. It is the much-loved story of the young Jane growing to adulthood while facing numerous challenges. Students will read the passage and respond to questions on the characters, the point of view, and the language.

Reading Comprehension Passage

Jane and Cousin John

by Charlotte Brontë from Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre is the story of a young orphan girl from childhood to adulthood. At the beginning of the story, Jane is 10 years old. Her uncle and his family have cared for her since her parents died a few years earlier.

In this passage, the uncle has died, and Jane is left with her aunt and cousins, none of whom are kind to her. Her cousin John is sitting in a chair and has called Jane to come over to him.

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John Reed was a schoolboy of fourteen years old; four years older than I, for I was but ten: large and stout for his age, with a dingy and unwholesome skin; thick lineaments in a spacious visage, heavy limbs and large extremities. He gorged himself habitually at table, which made him bilious, and gave him a dim and bleared eye and flabby cheeks. He ought now to have been at school; but his mama had taken him home for a month or two, “on account of his delicate health.” Mr. Miles, the master, affirmed that he would do very well if he had fewer cakes and sweetmeats sent him from home; but the mother’s heart turned from an opinion so harsh, and inclined rather to the more refined idea that John’s sallowness was owing to over-application and, perhaps, to pining after home.

John had not much affection for his mother and sisters, and an antipathy to me. He bullied and punished me; not two or three times in the week, nor once or twice in the day, but continually: every nerve I had feared him, and every morsel of flesh in my bones shrank when he came near. There were moments when I was bewildered by the terror he inspired, because I had no appeal whatever against either his menaces or his inflictions; the servants did not like to offend their young master by taking my part against him, and 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, more frequently, however, behind her back.

Habitually obedient to John, I came up to his chair: he spent some three minutes in thrusting out his tongue at me as far as he could without damaging the roots: 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. I tottered, and on regaining my equilibrium retired back a step or two from his chair.

Passage Only

Reading Comprehension Questions

1. What are three character traits of John Reed?



2.  What are three character traits of Jane?



3. What is the point of view in this passage?



4. What does antipathy mean here: "John had not much affection for his mother and sisters, and an antipathy to me"?