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Who was John Reed? What kind of a person was he? How was his relationship with his mother and sister? Why did he hit Jane Eyre?

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John Reed was the son of Mrs. Reed. He was a schoolboy of fourteen years. By nature he was wicked and cruel. He ate a lot and he was large and stout for his age. His mother had brought him from school for few months because of his 'poor health'. His mother Mrs. Reed never seemed to check him. Instead, she told him that Jane Eyre's father did not leave her any money, which encouraged him to treat her as a servant. On the whole he was an unkind boy.

John Reed did not like his mother and sisters too much. As for Jane, he bullied her and punished her continuously.

One cold afternoon Mrs. Reed, Eliza, John and Georgiana were sitting in the drawing room. Jane was not allowed to sit near them. She slipped into and adjacent room and was absorbed in a book. John Reed called her and asked what she was doing. Jane boldly asked him what he wanted. John asked her to address him as master Reed. Then he called her to come near him. When she came he struck her. He told her that being a dependent she had no right to take their book. Then she was to stand by the door. She stood there and then John hurled the heavy book at her. The book cut her head and she fell down.