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Symbols and Themes in Jane Eyre

By: Aditya Ramaswamy, Jeremy Peterson, Kyle Ramsager, and Julian Bernard
by

Aditya Ramaswamy

on 8 May 2013

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Transcript of Symbols and Themes in Jane Eyre

Symbols of Jane Eyre Jeremy Peterson
Aditya Ramaswamy
Kyle Ramsager
Julian Bernard Romantic Elements Food Importance of food Emotion Vs. Intellect Gothic Elements
Mystical Elements Importance of Sunshine in Jane Eyre Importance of Wind and Snow Weather In the novel Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, good weather is Bronte's tool to foreshadow positive events or moods.

The imagery affects the physical side of warmth and heat making the reader feel like they are outside exposed to UV rays.

Whenever Bronte expresses detail in the sun or heat from the sun then the novel relaxes to a point where the reader understands only positive events will occur. using this type detail in the book can easily catch the reader off guard and surprise them with negative events, although Bronte didn't do that, she was able to capture the reader's senses with her imagery of sunshine. "The chamber looked such a bright little place to me as the sun shone in between the gay blue chintz window and carpeted floor, so unlike the bare planks and strained plaster of Lowood, that my spirit rose at the view" (90). Not only does Jane take special interest in the images of birds in arctic landscapes when she’s reading Bewick’s British Birds as a child, as an adult she draws a fantasy landscape filled with ice and snow that seems to have special meaning for her. When she decides that she has to leave Rochester, she tells herself that she "must be ice and rock to him" instead of letting him know that she returns his passion. Jane’s fascination with ice seems to be the result of her hotheaded nature – she herself may seem cold, but she’s actually incredibly fiery and passionate, and she gets really angry about injustice. As a result, she’s mesmerized by all things frozen and icy, because she can’t be that way.

In Ch. 23, ''A waft of wind came sweeping down the laurel walk'' after Rochester proposes. This shows how Mr. Rochester is taking a huge and potentially risky step in his life. For a long time, his life has been stagnant-motionless, stale. He wants a new fresh start and marrying Jane is his way of completing that task. Throughout Jane Eyre, Bronte alludes to sprites, elves, fairies, and many other creatures of fantasy.
On page 300, Bronte says, " It was a fairy, and come from Elf- land, it said; and its errand was to make me happy:..."
Fantasy creatures were very prominent in Romantic Elements as they often displayed the character traits of the living characters in the novel. As Jane is referred to a Fairy, it means that she is free- spirited. Jane Eyre exemplifies the passion and emotion that existed in the Romantic Era. Gothic Elements played important roles throughout Romantic novels as they brought in descriptions of human nature from that period in time. Love and Romance is a major element in Romantic Novels
In the novel, Jane falls in love with Mr. Rochester. Their love grows slowly as the novel progresses.
A distinction between rationality and emotion can also be viewed through love; as Jane chooses her loving relationship with Mr. Rochester over the proposal of St. John. Food is used in Jane Eyre to symbolize her social status
When Jane is living among hard times, her food is scarce and often inadequate
When Jane lives among a higher social class, her food is elegant and plentiful
Food is also used for communion, mostly in the form of tea time. Food in Jane Eyre represents the social status of different people she meets
Gentlemen and ladies eat fine food, while poor people eat bread and cheese.
Beggars eat the food that no one else will eat
Twice, Jane eats burnt porridge when there is nothing else to eat. Once at Lowood and once while she is homeless.
When the lady says "give it to her, the pigs don't want it", it could be a way of calling the children at Lowood lower than pigs. What Food Represents "From school duties she was exonerated: Mrs. Fairfax had pressed me into her service, and I was all day in the storeroom, helping (or hindering) her and the cook; learning to make custards and cheese-cakes and French pastry, to truss game and garnish desert-dishes." (187) Food represents generosity of people Jane meets.
Generous people, such as Mr. Rochester and St. John, feed Jane well.
People who are not as generous, such as Mr. Brocklehurst and the villagers, do not feed Jane well. "'Oh, madam, when you put bread and cheese, instead of burnt porridge, into these children’s mouths, you may indeed feed their vile bodies, but you little think how you starve their immortal souls!'”
(75) "'She will have nothing to eat: you will starve her,' observed Adèle.'I shall gather manna for her morning and night: the plains and hillsides in the moon are bleached with manna, Adèle.'” (299) Food vs. Social status "A little before dark I passed a farm-house, at the open door of which the farmer was sitting, eating his supper of bread and cheese." (369) “'Well lass,' replied a voice within, 'give it her if she’s a beggar. T’ pig doesn’t want it.' The girl emptied the stiffened mould into my hand, and I devoured it ravenously." (369) In the beginning of the novel, Helen Burns talks to Jane about confronting her passion.
Helen preaches about enduring pain with silence, patience and solitude.
On page 66, "It is far better to endure patiently a smart which nobody feels but yourself, than to commit a hasty action whose evil consequences will extend to all connected with you"
This quote shows how Jane battles with her passion and has to learn to hold her tongue.
Jane's experience at Lowood demonstrates how Jane learns to be silent and very laconic in her statements. This not only foreshadowed the positive mood of Jane, but also the experience she would have in the near future living in Thornfield. She would soon discover her husband to be Mr. Rochester and appreciate her companies such as Mrs. Fairfax and Adele, who for the first time in her life treat her as an equal. When Jane arrives at Thornfield Hall, she learns to communicate more openly.
Mr. Rochester kindles Jane's ideas of love and romance.
Mr. Rochester removes Jane's social restrictions, allowing her to add passion and emotion to her lifestyle once again.
On page 153, Mr. Rochester says, "...: no, on the contrary, affectation, or coldness, or stupid, coarse- minded misapprehension of one's meaning are the usual rewards of
condour."
This quote shows how Mr. Rochester is slowly teaching Jane to give her true opinions during their evening conversations. In the opening of the novel, when Jane was living in Gateshead, she was reading while an unpleasant visit of John Reed was foreshadowed: "After it offered a pale blank of mist and cloud: hear, a scene of wet lawn and storm-beat shrub�" (2) Jane confronted John Reed and was sent to the red room that she dreaded. Importance of Rain or Storms Rain and storms foreshadow destructive events in the novel Jane Eyre

Later in the novel, when Mr. Rochester proposed to Jane, the departing of the two was strongly foreshadowed when [the tree] had been struck by lighting half of it split away (244). Following this description, the truth of Mrs. Rochester was later revealed and Jane forced herself to leave Mr. Rochester. This assures the accuracy of the predicting weather.

Rain really draws out the emotions while foreshadowing by setting a depressing mood. when it is raining in the novel every event seems more negative then it would if Bronte gave a sunny backdrop

Rain also appeals to imagery, when Bronte mentions rain in the novel, the reader begins to visualize gloomy skies and dark clouds. Architecture All the buildings and houses are in Gothic structure
They all are very large castles/ manors, that tend to have many rooms
They often have many Great Rooms as to entertain large parties of guests.
The castles, like Thornfield Hall, have many entrances, with towers. Omens During Jane's life at Thornfield, she experiences many dreams and strange occurrences.
The omens and portentous imagery in Jane Eyre are typical parts of Gothic Romance
On page 316, Jane says, "I dreamt another dream... that Thronfield Hall was a dreary ruin, the retreat of bats and owls".
This quote shows a Gothic foreshadowing of the fire that takes place at Thornfield in the future. Ghosts and Gloom Much of the novel is characterized by sullen moods and imagery.
There is also much allusion to ghosts
Jane says on page 24, " ... I deemed the rushing of wings: something seemed near me"
This quote is Jane's encounter with the spirit of Mr. Reed. This shows the employment of supernatural elements in the novel.
Also On page 317, Jane says "Of the foul German spectre - the vampyre".
Though there are no actual vampires in the novel, Bronte's allusion is characteristic of the Gothic time period. Love of Rochester
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