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Jane believes in "presentiments," "sympathies," and...
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Jane mentions all three in the opening sentence of Chapter 21, but we see these in Chapter 20, too. In her use of Romantic conventions such as its emphasis on nature and the supernatural, Brontë creates a recurring feminized image in the form of the moon, which functions as a maternal figure providing guidance and protection, a tangible representation of power struggles in a patriarchal society, and a symbol of women’s strength. Thus, when Jane sees the moon “look” at her at the beginning of Chapter 22, she notices it is “beautiful, but too solemn,” for it is watching over her to protect her from mischance (a natural sign of maternal love that she lacked as a child) and a presentiment that mischance might soon happen, as it does when she hears the screams in the middle of the night, just as she rises “and stretch[es] [her] arm to draw the curtain.” In Chapter 27 we again see the moon as an important symbol. Here, in a moment of moral strife when Jane struggles to maintain her resolve to leave Thornfield after discovering Rochester’s wife, the moon appears as a moral guide, also offering sympathy, as if she knows the difficult decision Jane is facing: “She broke forth as never moon yet burst from cloud . . . then, not a moon, but a white human form shone in the azure . . . It whispered in my heart—‘My daughter, flee temptation.’” Then, in Chapter 21, Jane has a series of dreams about an infant. How do these dreams function in the story?
Posted by sagetrieb on August 22, 2007 at 8:58 PM (Answer #1)
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