Jane Eyre's character develops and changes as she is influenced by the people she meets in the different places she stays. Jane is an eight-year-old orphan at the beginning of the book. She is living with her Aunt Reed, and cousins, Georgiana, Eliza, and John at Gateshead. Jane is suppressed by her aunt who hates her. She was often blamed for things she did not do and was wrongfully punished. Jane's life at Gateshead was miserable.
Jane tries to keep her dignity and a sense of individuality while living at Gateshead. She tries to keep as much self-esteem as she can in her circumstances. She is forced to stand up for herself when no one else will. One day Jane finally tells off her Aunt Reed. "I am glad you are no relation of mine. I will never call you aunt again as long as I live. I will never come to visit you when I am grown up; and if any one asks me how I liked you, and how you treated me, I will say the very thought of you makes me sick ." (Bronte 30).
Jane's next residence is at Lowood School. She is very excited to be leaving Gateshead and going to school. Mr. Brocklehurst is a pastor and the founder of Lowood. He humiliates Jane in front of the whole school after he hears horrible things about her from Mrs. Reed. This causes Jane a great deal of distress because she was so happy to have a fresh start. Miss Temple was a teacher at school. She helped Jane by clearing her name at school and telling them she was free of every impunity. Miss Temple treated Jane very kindly and she was her favorite teacher. Helen Burns, an older student at school greatly influenced Jane's life at Lowood. Helen was one of Jane's closest friends at school. She got very sick when she contracted typhus fever. Her death came as a great loss to Jane. Jane goes on to spend 6 years at Lowood as a student and an additional 2 years as a teacher. Jane missed Miss Temple very much when she left school after she got married.