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What were the use of symbols in the book "Jane Eyre"? What were three examples?

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dnelson33188 | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 16, 2008 at 11:46 AM via web

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What were the use of symbols in the book "Jane Eyre"? What were three examples?

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 17, 2008 at 3:57 AM (Answer #1)

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The author uses nature and the images of nature as primary symbols in Jane Eyre. For instance:
1. She uses the weather often to symbolize the character's emotional state of minds. At the beginning of the novel, Jane mentions the "cold,winter wind" and the "clouds so sombre and a rain so penetrating." This symbolizes the emotional atmosphere of Gatehead for Jane.
2. The author uses trees and flowers to indicate passion."Critic Mark Shorer has noted that 'nearly every important scene in the
development of the passion of Rochester and Jane Eyre takes place among trees—in an orchard, an arbor, a woods, a 'leafy enclosure.'"
3. After the wedding is called off, Austen writes, "the woods which twelve hours since waved leafy and fragrant. . . now spread, waste, wild and white as pine-forests in wintry Norway." This, of course, symbolizes a beautiful scene turned ugly with the news that Rochester is already married.
4. Ferndean, where Rochester goes after his home at Thornfield burns down is described as" hidden by "thick and dark . . . timber . . .
of the gloomy wood about it." "The house itself can scarcely be distinguished from the trees; when Jane arrives there, she also notes that 'there were no flowers, no garden-beds.'" Once again, this symbolizes Rochester's mood and the fact that he was blinded and disabled by the fire at Thornfield.

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