“Freedom vs. Restraint: Bird Imagery in Jane Eyre and Sula”
“Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte and “Sula” by Toni Morrison are two classic works of novels. Both are two completely different stories. One tells the life story of an orphan who was raised by her cruel Aunt and was later sent away to school, worked as a teacher and a governess, experienced sleeping on the streets and begging for food, inherited a fortune from her father, discovers lost relatives and marries a previous employer whom she fell deeply in love with. This story, “Jane Eyre,” was in England during the Victorian Era and it deals with many different themes such as love, religion, social class and gender issues.
“Sula,” however, was in Ohio during the first half of the twentieth century, nearly 100 years after “Jane Eyre”. It is the story of a young woman who was raised by her mother and grandmother whom both did not have a good reputation in the town they lived in. Sula later leaves the town for a period of 10 years, has many affairs and lives a wild life. When Sula returns to the town, many people look upon her as evil because of how she lives her life. Sula’s story is contrasted with that of her best friend Nel, who was raised by a family with more social morals and later chose to settle in a life as a wife and mother. “Sula” deals with several different themes like race, family, gender and social conventions.
Although “Jane Eyre” and “Sula” are two completely different stories that were written in different eras and take place in two completely different settings, they both address the issue of women’s rights. For centuries, women have been considered as less equal than men and they have struggled for equal treatment and opportunities. Both stories r...
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...nities that were previously seen as off limits to them.
Birds are truly amazing creatures and all of their characteristics allow them to be used as symbols to express a variety of things. They can be used as symbols of love, of peace, of life, of death, of people, of freedom and restraint. “Jane Eyre” and “Sula” are two examples of how one symbol can have multiple uses. In both books, birds were used to develop the identities of the characters, to foreshadow different events in the stories and help develop the plots and settings of the stories. I believe both Charlotte Bronte and Toni Morrison made great literary choices by choosing to use birds as symbols in their stories. Both stories are beautifully written with their metaphors of birds. I think that it is great that one symbol can be used to express two opposing views – one of freedom and one of restraint