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In "Jane Eyre", what are some examples of characters who have been described...

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karma93 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 11, 2008 at 12:30 PM via web

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In "Jane Eyre", what are some examples of characters who have been described physically in ways that indicate their personalities?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 11, 2008 at 2:58 PM (Answer #1)

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Jane's tormentor at Gateshead, John Reed, is described as "large and stout for his age, with a dingy and unwholesome skin, thick lineaments in a spacious visage, heavy limbs...a dim and bleared eye with flabby cheeks".  John's appearance is dull, unsavory, and brutish, which corresponds with a personality that is self-absorbed, plodding, and cruel (Chapter 1).

Mr. Brockelhurst's "features...and all the lines of his frame are...harsh and prim", reflecting his cold, hypocritical treatment of the girls at Lowood Institution (Chapter 4).

Jane's first impression of Edward Rochester is of a lionine man with "broad and jetty eyebrows...(a) sweep of...black hair, decisive nose, more remarkable for character than beauty, his full nostrils denoting...choler, his grim mouth, chin, and jaw".  Mr. Rochester is an enigma, undeniably forceful and masculine, quick to anger, interesting and mysterious rather than handsome, with a deep, brooding melancholy underlying (Chapter 12).

Blanche Ingram, Mr. Rochester's intended, has a "low brow...high features...pride", a "satirical" laugh that corresponds to the "habitual expression of her arched and haughty lip" (Chapter 17).  Her appearance exudes artificiality, and her personality is "not genuine...her mind (is) poor, her heart barren by nature...she (is) not original...tenderness and truth (are) not in her" (Chapter 18).

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