Jane Eyre is a famous novel written by English writer Charlotte Bronte and was published in England in 1847 by Smith, Elder & Co. The Victorian era was a time period plagued with problems of inequalities, symbolism and independence between men and women, in this novel Charlotte Bronte uses Jane Eyre as a mouthpiece in order to express her views on such elements. The novel is about an orphan named Jane Eyre; Charlotte Bronte takes us on an incredible journey through which we see Jane Eyre’s life in the Victorian era.
Bronte uses thrilling and descriptive language to clearly describe Jane Eyre’s tragic journey. Growing up she has a sad life, from the death of her parents to her abusive and horrendous & unfair treatment from Mrs. Reed or John Reed. Jane’s tolerance of change begins very early in the novel and helps her in developing a strong sense of independence. When she moves to Lowood institute, she almost lives in a state of poverty, rationed food and poor accommodation, yet when she moves to Thornfield institute and is appointed as a governess, she meets Mr.
Rochester and her life takes a rapid turn. Bronte uses many authorial techniques such as prophetic fallacy and imagery to convey her characters feelings; she also uses techniques such as first person narration to indulge us into her Victorian novel. In this essay I will explore how Bronte prepares us for a change in Jane’s life in chapter twelve. “The promise of a smooth career, which my first calm introduction to Thornfield Hall seemed to pledge, was not belied on a longer acquaintance with the place and its inmates. ”
Jane speaks of when she was first introduced to Thornfield, she believed it would bring a promising and smooth career, her belief in this did not last long as she became familiar with the place and its ‘inmates’. Bronte uses Jane’s tone of voice to show us that Jane is bored of her new change. We can tell that Jane is not happy with her life at Thornfield. Jane goes onto describe some of the people at Thornfield hall, we don’t know much about them but we soon learn about them, in order to get an insight as to why Jane feels bored because of them.
Mrs. Fairfax turned out to be what she appeared, a placid-tempered, kind-natured woman, of competent education and average intelligence. ” Here we get a description of Mrs Fairfax, the housekeeper of Thornfield hall. Jane describes her as she ‘turned out to be what she appeared’; this gives us the impression that Jane judge’s people by just looking at them, almost like judging a book by reading its blurb. Jane goes onto describe Mrs Fairfax’s nature and intelligence, both of which seem normal, nothing peculiar or interesting.
This is only one person that adds to the boring atmosphere that Thornfield hall boasts, according to Jane. She goes onto tell us about her pupil, Adele Varens. “She had no great talents, no marked traits of character, no peculiar development of feeling or taste” Adele is Jane’s pupil, she a young French girl. Once again Jane picks on Adele’s boring edge; she describes how Adele has nothing peculiar about her. We get the idea that Adele is another ordinary person who adds to the boring atmosphere of Thornfield hall.
Adele is also a orphan, her attitude and character almost reflect those of Jane’s as a young girl at Gateshead, Adele is a orphan like Jane, she in Thornfield hall, and gains no love from no one, in chapter fifteen we learn about Adele’s history, Mr Rochester informs Jane of Adele’s history, “I e’en took the poor thing out of the slime and mud of Paris, and transplanted it here, to grow up clean in the wholesome soil of an English country garden”, We learn that Rochester brought Adele over from France.
Because of Jane’s experience as an orphan in search for love, Jane realises the importance of her role as a governess to Adele, her compassion for Adele is evident in chapter 15, “and now that I know she is, in a sense, parentless-forsaken by her mother and disowned by you, sir,-I shall cling closer to her than before” Grace pool is the maid at Thornfield hall, Jane describes Grace in such way that we get the idea that Grace is not normal, in fact mad and something peculiar, She describes Grace’s sudden laugh, and how when she first heard it, she got thrilled, also her ‘eccentric murmurs’ which are described as stranger than her laugh.
Jane goes onto describe Grace’s appearance as ‘a damper to the curiosity raised by her oral oddities: hard-featured and staid, she had no point to which interest could attach’, Once again, another character who has nothing peculiar about her appearance and nature, which adds to the boring atmosphere at Thornfield. Jane does not know that her colourless life at Thornfied will change dramatically to a more exciting and passionate love fuelled atmosphere, to the arrival of Mr Rochester. Bronte uses chapter twelve as juxtaposition to Jane’s coming future, which will bring more excitement.
Throughout the novel, Bronte uses Jane as her mouthpiece in order to make her point about female independence, gender equality and rights for women. “Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags”
What Bronte is trying to say here is that women are like men, and that they need to do the same thing as men, things such as exercise. She speaks of how they suffer from a restrain from society because of their gender, and how it is narrow minded for someone to think that women were born to do specific things like, knitting and making puddings. When ‘Jane Eyre’ was written, women of the time, were restricted to doing things that men did, Bronte used her novel to argue against this state of life, in an attempt to change the view of society and the men population of the contemporary audience.
Mrs Fairfax had written a letter which was to be posted; Jane is bored of sitting in the library, and so decides to take the 2mile journey to Hay to post the letter. “The ground was hard, the air was still, my road was lonely; I walked fast till I got warm, and then I walked slowly to enjoy and analyse the species of pleasure brooding for me in the hour and situation. ” The use of descriptive language here creates an imagery of a cold and earry wintery day; it gets us ready for what is to come, the encounter with Mr Rochester.
The fact that Jane is alone adds to the setting, and creates an eerier atmosphere. The fact that Jane is walking slowly, and is analysing the ‘species of pleasure’, shows us that she is in a calm mood, and is not expecting anything to come. Jane the describes the church bells ringing, the bells ringing adds to the earry atmosphere, and could also represent what is to come.. Jane is describing the calm and tranquil atmosphere, when a ‘rude’ noise spoils the calm. “A rude noise broke on these fine ripplings and whisperings, at once o far away and so clear: a positive tramp, tramp, a metallic clatter… ” The noise that Jane hears is a clatter, we get the idea that a horse is approaching in the distant, because Jane is on a country road. The change in atmosphere as Jane hears the noise could represent the change in her life when she meets Rochester. Bronte uses juxtaposition to emphasize the change that Jane is about to face in her life, the juxtaposition here is the calm atmosphere and the noise that breaks the calm.
The calm represents Jane’s boredom, and the noise that breaks the calm represents Mr Rochester, who is about to meet Jane and change her boring life. Bronte uses fine descriptive language to show how the noise has broken the calm and peace, she describes some of the noises that Jane hears in such way that almost the reader can hear it, ‘the fine rippling and whispering’ is an example of this technique, also ‘a metallic clatter’, we get the imagery of two pieces of metal hitting each other, we can almost hear the disturbing noise created by this.
Rochester is riding on his steed when it slips on some ice on the floor; he is accompanied by a dog, who Jane mistakes for a ‘gytrash’, a mythical character from one of Bessie’s tales, Bronte creates a mystic and scary atmosphere when Jane remembers Bessie’s tale in which the ‘gytrash’, a north of England spirit took the form of a horse, mule or a large dog, and haunted belated travellers. Bronte adds elements such as the sudden ‘rush under the hedge’, to create suspense and add to the eerie atmosphere, from Jane’s tone of voice we can tell that she is scared, as she believes that Bessie’s tale is coming to life.
Her fear soon breaks as the gytrash like dog passes her, and is followed by Mr Rochester on his steed, for she knew that the gytrash travelled on his own. When the rider falls of his steed, Jane goes over to help; the rider says that he doesn’t need help and that he is fine, he has no broken bones, just a sprain. “I could see him plainly. His figure was enveloped in a riding cloak, fur collared and steel clasped; its details were not apparent, but I traced the general points of middle height and considerable breadth of chest”.
Jane describes the rider, who is wearing a cloak, his height being in the middle and a considerable breadth of chest, the fact the rider is dressed smart, gives us a hint that the rider may be Mr Rochester himself, earlier in chapter eleven; he was described as being a gentleman. The manor, in which he spoke to Jane, was also like a gentleman, He is also heading towards Thornfield hall, in chapter eleven Mrs Fairfax told us that Mr Rochester’s visit to Thornfield is always unexpected, we have not been told that there will be any visitor at Thornfield, therefore this also leads us into thinking the rider is Mr Rochester.
Bronte almost gives us hints about who the rider is, Jane however still does not know who the rider is, Bronte uses dramatic irony. The use of descriptive language and imagery that is used to create a gloomy scene for the encounter with the rider is significant, if it was just a traveller, and not a significant character, then not much effort would have been taken to create the gloomy atmosphere. When Jane informs the rider that she is from Thornfield hall, the rider’s tone of voice changes and it seems as if he is reluctant to know more about her.
He then asks Jane a string of questions, “Whose house is it? ” “Mr Rochester’s” “Do you know Mr Rochester? ” “No, I have never seen him” “He is not resident, then? ” “No” “Can you tell me where he is? ” “I cannot. ” The string of questions asked to Jane are all about Mr Rochester, we get the hint that the rider knows something that Jane does not know, that fact that the rider himself is Mr Rochester. “You are not a servant at the hall, of course. You are–… ”
The rider then tells Jane that she is not a servant at the hall, this adds to the idea that the rider knows something about Jane. He carries onto say, ‘you are’ and then suddenly stops, it’s almost like he was going to say that Jane is the new governess, but this would blow his cover. Mr Rochester does not tell her who he is, in order to gain information out of her, this is called Socratic irony. With the help of Jane, the rider mounts onto his steed and rides off; Jane carries on her journey to Hay.
As Jane approaches Thornfield hall, she describes how she did not like re-entering. To pass its threshold was to return to stagnation; to cross the silent hall, to ascend the darksome staircase, to seek my own lonely little room… ” Jane imagines what is to come as she enters Thornfield; her negative tone of voice tells us that she is reluctant to return to the dull Thornfield. The silence and use of colour contrast portrays Jane’s feelings, boredom and sadness. What Jane does not know is that as she steps in, her life is about to change. “… to that sky expanded before me,–a blue sea absolved from taint of cloud; the moon ascending it in solemn march;”
Jane looks up into the sky and watches as the clouds disappear and the blue sky appears, the clouds could represent Jane’s boredom, which is about to disappear, the clear sky could represent a change in Jane’s life. This could also be prophetic fallacy, the idea that the clouds are disappearing, and the sky is empty, could also represent Jane’s boredom as her mind is empty.
Another sentence that reflects Jane’s gloomy and bored state of mind is when Jane describes the hallway at Thornfield. The hall was not dark, nor yet was it lit, only by the high-hung bronze lamp; a warm glow suffused both it and the lower steps of the oak staircase. ” The fact that hallway is half lit may represent Jane’s feelings, one side that is feeling bored and the other that is about to enlighten, when she hears the new about Mr Rochester’s presence. The ‘warm glow’ that shines on the staircase that Jane is about to walk up, may represent a pleasant change in Jane’s life that she is about to face.
When Jane Discover’s a dog in Mrs Fairfax’s room, she realises it is identical to the one she thought was a ‘Gytrash’, but more importantly, the dog whose name was ‘Pilot’ was with the Gentleman she met on her way to Hay, She calls the dog, to which it responds immediately, Jane now gets the faint idea that the rider she had met earlier is in Thornfield hall, what she does not know is that the rider is Mr Rochester himself. Jane wants to know more about the dog, this immediately gives us the idea that Jane is confused.
She rings the bell, and Leah attends to her, Jane asks her who the dog belongs to, and Leah tells her that it came with the master, Jane is now more confused, we can tell by her tone of voice that she has a faint idea that the rider she met earlier was in fact Mr Rochester. Jane does not show us directly that she is confused; Leah confirms that the Master was Mr Rochester; she tells Jane that he had an accident and sprained his ankle. Leah does not know that Jane had already met Mr Rochester; Bronte uses dramatic irony to bring out the significance of Rochester’s character, we know that Jane has met Mr Rochester.
We can tell that Jane wants to be alone to think about why Mr Rochester did not introduce himself initially, as she gets rid of Leah by asking her to fetch a candle, however she is not left alone for long. We can tell that Jane is in some sort of shock, maybe even excitement and is asking herself many questions as to why Mr Rochester did not introduce himself, as she dramatically exits the scene by going upstairs to get changed. Bronte does not express Jane’s feelings; I believe she does this so that she could indulge us more into her novel; she wants us to answer the questions that Jane is asking herself in her mind.
In chapter twelve we do not get a chance to know exactly why Mr Rochester did what he did, because Jane does not go to see him, so we are left to answer this. As I answer this question myself, I can tell that Jane will encounter a change in her life. My own interpretation as to why Mr Rochester did what he did is that maybe he fell for Jane’s kindness, and unnoticed beauty, he admired her but was not sure what she thought of him. When he knew that Jane was from Thornfield, he realised that he had a chance to find out what Jane thought of him.
When he learns that Jane has not met Mr Rochester (himself), he probably thought that he’d surprise her by meeting her at Thornfield hall, where he’d tell her that he is in fact the master, and that he admires her. If my interpretation to the situation is true, then Jane does not know but she will expect a change in life soon. Throughout this chapter Bronte prepares us for a change in Jane’s life by using elements such as creating a scene using imagery and then dramatically changing it. Bronte uses such techniques that only we get the idea that a change is to come, but not Jane herself.