Jane Eyre Essay Research Paper Analysis of

Jane Eyre Essay, Research Paper

Analysis of Nature Charlotte Bronte makes use of nature imagery throughout

"Jane Eyre," and comments on both the human relationship with the

outdoors and human nature. The following are examples from the novel that

exhibit the importance of nature during that time period. Several natural themes

run through the novel, one of which is the image of a stormy sea. After Jane

saves Rochester’s life, she gives us the following metaphor of their

relationship: "Till morning dawned I was tossed on a buoyant but unquiet

sea . . . I thought sometimes I saw beyond its wild waters a shore . . . now and

then a freshening gale, wakened by hope, bore my spirit triumphantly towards the

bourne: but . . . a counteracting breeze blew off land, and continually drove me

back"(Bront? 159). The gale is all the forces that prevent Jane’s union

with Rochester. Bront? implies that Jane’s feelings about the sea driving her

back remind her of her heart felt emotions of a rocky relationship with

Rochester and still being drawn back to him. Another recurrent image is Bront?’s

treatment of Birds. We first witness Jane’s fascination when she reads Bewick’s

History of British Birds as a child. She reads of "death-white realms"

and "’the solitary rocks and promontories’" of sea-fowl. One can see

how Jane identifies with the bird. For her it is a form of escape, the idea of

flying above the toils of every day life. Several times the narrator talks of

feeding birds crumbs. Perhaps Bront? is telling us that this idea of escape is

no more than a fantasy-one cannot escape when one must return for basic

sustenance. The link between Jane and birds is strengthened by the way Bront?

adumbrates poor nutrition at Lowood through a bird who is described as a little

hungry robin. Bront? brings the buoyant sea theme and the bird theme together

in the passage describing the first painting of Jane’s that Rochester examines.

This painting depicts a turbulent sea with a sunken ship, and on the mast

perches a cormorant with a gold bracelet in its mouth, apparently taken from a

drowning body. While the imagery is perhaps too imprecise to afford an exact

interpretation, a possible explanation can be derived from the context of

previous treatments of these themes. The sea is surely a metaphor for Rochester

and Jane’s relationship, as we have already seen. Rochester is often described

as a "dark" and dangerous man, which fits the likeness of a cormorant;

it is therefore likely that Bront? sees him as the sea bird. As we shall see

later, Jane goes through a sort of symbolic death, so it makes sense for her to

represent the drowned corpse. The gold bracelet can be the purity and innocence

of the old Jane that Rochester managed to capture before she left him. Having

established some of the nature themes in "Jane Eyre," we can now look

at the natural cornerstone of the novel: the passage between her flight from

Thornfield and her acceptance into Morton. In leaving Thornfield, Jane has

severed all her connections; she has cut through any umbilical cord. She

narrates: "Not a tie holds me to human society at this moment"(Bront?

340). After only taking a small parcel with her from Thornfield, she leaves even

that in the coach she rents. Gone are all references to Rochester, or even her

past life. A "sensible" heroine might have gone to find her uncle, but

Jane needed to leave her old life behind. Jane is seeking a return to the womb

of mother nature: "I have no relative but the universal mother, Nature: I

will seek her breast and ask repose"(Bront? 340). We see how she seeks

protection as she searches for a resting place: "I struck straight into the

heath; I held on to a hollow I saw deeply furrowing the brown moorside; I waded

knee-deep in its dark growth; I turned with its turnings, and finding a

moss-blackened granite crag in a hidden angle, I sat down under it. High banks

of moor were about me; the crag protected my head: the sky was over that" (Bront?

340). It is the moon part of nature that sends Jane away from Thornfield. Jane

believes that birds are faithful to their mates. Seeing herself as unfaithful,

Jane is seeking an existence in nature where everything is simpler. Bront? was

surely not aware of the large number of species of bird that practice polygamy.

While this fact is intrinsically wholly irrelevant to the novel, it makes one

ponder whether nature is really so simple and perfect. The concept of nature in

"Jane Eyre" is reminiscent of the majority’s view of the world: the

instantiation of God. "The Lord is My Rock"…

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Page Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. Oxford World Classics. Oxford New York,


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