What purpose do the descriptive passages from Bewick's History of British Birds serve at this stage of the text?

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In chapter one, the child Jane is reading Bewick's History of British Birds after she is excluded from being in the presence of her Aunt Reed, who dislikes Jane's quiet, melancholy disposition (compared to the other more extroverted kids). Jane picks this particular volume because it has pictures in it, but it is the prose which sets her imagination racing.

In this passage, we learn a good deal about Jane and see things that have been inherent to her character since childhood. She is imaginative, sensitive to beauty, and fascinated by danger. Jane imagines phantoms to be present on the stormy seas and solitary rocks the book describes, foreshadowing her bad experience in the Red Room, where she thinks she sees her uncle's ghost.

That she's reading a book about birds is also significant given the bird imagery in the novel. Jane often imagines herself as a caged bird, particularly when she later finds...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 492 words.)

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