It is said that art is like a mirror to the soul, a way to see what
the artist is feeling deep down in their heart. It is as if their most
personal thoughts and ideas are reflected in their work, either consciously
or unconsciously. Charlotte Brontë utilizes this fact in her imagery and
portrait of Jane Eyre. Color and vivid description play a vital role
explaining the process of emotional and physical maturation throughout the
novel, from young Jane's recollection of the red room in Gateshead to her
final reminiscence of Ferndean's gloomy facade. There is no better example
of this process than Jane's own artistic abilities as they progress through
To best examine and explore the progress of Jane's emotional and
temperamental development, it is important to construct a frame of
reference, to have a base from which to work towards her final character.
Her childhood home, Gateshead provides the groundwork of her
emotional/character being, which at the beginning of the story is an
isolated creature, devoid of loving and nurturing contact and shunned by
humanity. Two excerpts from her stay at Gateshead illustrate this fact,
her reading of Bewick's "History of British Birds," and her punishment for
striking Master John, the stay in the red room of Gateshead. In the
opening scene, Jane is found perusing a copy of Bewick's "History of
British Birds," concentrating on the descriptions of the certain landscapes
in which some of the birds live. Her words paint a mental picture, one
that represents her childhood,
"Of these death-white realms I formed an idea of my o...
... middle of paper ...
...ituality from Helen Burns" is by no means
meaningless, but it lacks depth. To present another facet into the story,
imagery reflects the conditions of Jane's life, conferring a tangible and
viable outlet for her imagination, and a vehicle to her soul. As her life
develops, so does her ability, and the enjoyment she receives from this
talent. Truly, Jane Eyre would still be a great novel in the absence of
the painting, but it would make it that much harder to touch the fabric of
it's character's being.
Brontë, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin's Press,
1) Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin's Press,
1996), p. 21.
2) Brontë, p. 131.
3) Brontë, p.132.
4) Brontë, p. 233.
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