Emily Bronte's Jane Eyre abounds with figurative language and various literary devices; therefore, there will be some examples provided here, but not all.
- Metaphors (unstated comparisons)
--Jane says that she wanted to "arrange every chair and table with mathematical precision," with "mathematical precision as a comparison to Jane's exactitude.
--St. John tells Jane not to "cling so tenaciously to ties of the flesh." Comparison here is made with physical desires.
--Jane is told that she was going to be "flying off on some excursion," a metaphor for hurrying out.
--"The humanities and amenities of life" is a metaphor for things that make ones life more enjoyable.
--St. John declares "The battle is fought and the victory won." He compares his religious work to a battle.
- Figures of Speech
--"I was given CARTE BLANCHE..." This means that she was allowed to do whatever she wanted.
--Jane narrates that she tried to give her new students "a beau-ideal of a welcome." This means the highest standard of excellence.
----Jane describes "the bustle of a house turned topsy-turvy." This means there was much activity and moving around.
--"I am disposed to be as content as a queen" (stated comparison using as)
--"The silence dampened me"
--"The bitter checks had wrung from me some tears"
--"Nature hews her heroes fortitude tasked."
--"the ever watchful blue eye" Jane uses this body part to represent the whole of St. John, who is critical of her actions.
- Biblical allusions
--"He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God and he shall be my Son" (Revelations 21:7-8)
--"seventy and seven times (Matthew18:21)
--"his eye was a cold, bright blue gem; his tongue, a speaking instrument"
--"the slow fire of indignation" "a trembling trouble of grief" (These are unstated comparisons)
- Alliteration [the repetition of initial consonant sounds]
--"fast-falling tears"; "banished and banned"; "seventy and seven times"
--Jane contends that St. John would not "have injured a hair of my head" meaning that he would not harm her as a whole.
--"pure as the deep sunless source..." Jane thinks of St. John in these terms
--"My fast falling tears blistered the page"; "Had I attended to the suggestions of pride and ire" (Jane gives pride and anger human powers); "I know where your heart turns and to what it clings" (heart has the powers of a being)
- Prophetic Fallacy - The attributing of human traits to nature as prophesy of things to come.
--Jane "recalled the voice with all its unspeakable strangeness." She hears Rochester calling to her.
- Simile, Metaphor, Biblical Allusion
--"The wondrous shock of feeling (this is a metaphor) had come like the earthquake which shook the foundations of Paul's (Biblical allusion) and Silas's prisons."
- "startled ear"
--Jane returns to Thornfield and "It was as still as a church on a week day."
--"The caged eagle whose gold-ringed eye cruelty has extinguished." (Cruelty is given human power to put out something.)
--"My heart struck my ribs loud and fast" (Heart is given the human power to hit)
--"A neglectful handful of fire" (an unstated comparison of a small bundle is made to a ""neglectful handful")
--Rochester speaks of Jane's "sweetness of your consolation"
Bronte refers to mythological characters with "graceful Apollo" and "Vulcan."
--"torrent of wordy wonderment"; "the door of that sanctum"; "bone of his bone"; "flesh of his flesh"; "I know no weariness of my Edward's society" --these are all unstated comparisons of Jane's feelings about Edward Rochester.
--"For us to be at once as free as in solitude as gay as in company" (comparisons using "as")
- Biblical Allusion
--St. John quotes from the New Testament, "...whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself..."