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What is the metonymy in the sentence from Jane Eyre: “…the reader knows I had...

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annabanana61 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 30, 2013 at 2:26 AM via web

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What is the metonymy in the sentence from Jane Eyre: “…the reader knows I had wrought hard to extirpate from my soul the germs of love there detected; and now at the first renewed view of him, they spontaneously revived, green and strong!”

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 30, 2013 at 5:31 AM (Answer #1)

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"The germs of love" is representative of metonymy in the above quotation from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. The conflict and intensity of feeling as Jane "wrought hard to extirpate from my soul... " is a recognizable consequence of loving someone so much; love often bringing with it unpleasant results. Metonymy often makes use of already understood and easily recognizable sequences (such as the effects of intense love) . The connection is indirect but very real and makes the argument for the negative effects of loving someone to the point that "the germs of love...spontaneously revived, green and strong." The vivid image is left with the reader who has no doubt about Jane's struggle with her feelings. 

The bad weather, as reflected in Jane Eyre,  is another example and is symbolic of a far bigger circumstance and often used to foreshadow events to follow. The reader understands this right from the beginning; "the cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so sombre, and a rain so penetrating,..." 

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