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What does the red room symbolize in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre?

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erdoganselim | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 16, 2013 at 12:54 PM via web

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What does the red room symbolize in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre?

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted August 21, 2013 at 9:51 PM (Answer #1)

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The red room in Bronte's Jane Eyre is the place where Jane's uncle died when she was one year old.

"Mr. Reed had been dead nine years; it was in this chamber he breathed his last; here he lay in state; hence his coffin was borne by the undertaker's men; and, since that day, a sense of dreary consecration had guarded it from frequent intrusion" (11).

Not only is the red room a symbol of death because someone actually died there, but Jane has an awful experience that she felt could have taken her life. She thinks she sees her father's ghost at one point which makes her pass out. Further, the room of course is all red with color which symbolizes blood--an intense symbol for a little girl of ten years old. To make matters worse, she is left alone at night in the room as a punishment for merely existing. It is as if Jane is thrust into the pit of hell and must face everything fierce and horrible about her social status in life as an orphan. Does she emerge triumphant? Luckily, yes she does, but it takes many more hard knocks before she finally succeeds.

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