What literary devices are used in chapter 34-38 of Jane Eyre?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Emily Bronte's Jane Eyre abounds with figurative language and various literary devices; therefore, there will be some examples provided here, but not all.

Chapter XXXIV

  • 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.

  • Simile

--"I am disposed to be as content as a queen" (stated comparison using as)

  • Personification

--"The silence dampened me" 
--"The bitter checks had wrung from me some tears"
--"Nature hews her heroes fortitude tasked."

  • Synedoche

--"the ever watchful blue eye" Jane uses this body part to represent the whole of St. John, who is critical of her actions.

Chapter XXXV

  • 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)

  • Metaphor

--"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"

  • Synedoche

--Jane contends that St. John would not "have injured a hair of my head" meaning that he would not harm her as a whole.

  • Simile

--"pure as the deep sunless source..." Jane thinks of St. John in these terms

  • Personification

--"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)

Chapter XXXVI

  • 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." 

  • Personification
  • "startled ear"

Chapter XXXVII

  • Simile

--Jane returns to Thornfield and "It was as still as a church on a week day."

  • Personification

--"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)

  • Metaphor

--"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"

  • Allusion

Bronte refers to mythological characters with "graceful Apollo" and "Vulcan."


  • Metaphor

--"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.

  • Simile

--"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..."