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Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte applauds Jane's attempts to improve herself and maintain her independence despite the odds being stacked against her and reveals Jane's indomitable spirit. The reader is allowed to trace Jane's personal development as each of her experiences teaches her something and helps her mature.
Pathetic fallacy belies its name and is a term coined to describe potentially exaggerated expressions of emotion, especially at times when people are especially vulnerable, tending to over-state a situation or make claims that, on face value, may seem insincere. It attaches human characteristics, much like personification, to inanimate objects or naturally- occurring phenomena but does more than personification as it is intrinsically linked with the emotions of the speaker.
In the case of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte's use of pathetic fallacy allows the reader, from the very first chapter and paragraph, to sense Jane's desolation and begin to understand what motivates her. Jane's own emotions are linked to what she perceives as, "clouds so somber, and a rain so penetrating,"(Ch1), which create a situation she seems powerless to evade.
The surroundings are quite different later when Jane compares her new circumstances at Thornfield with Lowood's "rules and systems," (Ch 10). Jane is pleasantly surprised because, "The chamber looked such a bright little place to me as the sun shone... that my spirits rose at the view," (Ch 11).
When Rochester reveals his intention to marry in chapter 23, Jane is confused and overwrought and steeling herself to leave her beloved Rochester, thinking he will marry Blanche. The reader can sense her confusion as, "a waft of wind...trembled through the boughs of the chestnut: it wandered away... it died."
Jane's confusion will be replaced by sheer joy when Rochester reveals that Jane is the one he wants to marry and foreshadowing, a technique used by Charlotte Bronte in preparing her readers, is used to great effect as, "the great horse-chestnut....had been struck by lightning...and half of it split away." Jane will learn soon enough that Rochester is in no real position to marry her.
There are many examples of descriptive language and these include the reference to Rochester's wife Bertha who is portrayed in such a way as to put fear in the reader to whom she is revealed as a "beast" in chapter 26; "A figure ran backwards and forwards. What it was, whether beast or human being, one could not, at first sight, tell: it grovelled, seemingly, on all fours; it snatched and growled like some strange wild animal." She is further described as "the lunatic (who) sprang and grappled his throat viciously, and laid her teeth to his cheek..." There are also many opportunities to witness the passion and fervor that Jane and Rochester both display. When Jane once again finds Rochester in chapter 37, the reader is left in no doubt as to Rochester's desperate situation as he has been, "Doing nothing, expecting nothing; merging night into day, feeling but the sensation of cold...of hunger...and, at times, a very delirium of desire to behold my Jane again."
At the beginning of almost every chapter in Bronte's Jane Eyre, a romantic description of the natural surroundings (i.e., mountains, sky, weather) creates a mood for the topic at hand. Nature is closely tied with the Romantic's presentation of a character's inner feelings. When and where certain experiences happen are quite thoughtfully planned out for the story of Jane. The setting, in doors, too, is also important to signify to the reader mood and intensity of a situation. For example, the most horrifying experience of her childhood happens in a blood-red, deathly, and mysterious room that scars her for life. On the other hand, Rochester's proposal happens on a sunny day in the garden. Sadly, after the proposal, nature warns Jane by turning dark and rainy; and, in fact, a statue in the garden where he proposed is struck by lightning right afterwards. Signs from the natural and supernatural are literary techniques that help to cause tension, present a sense of mystery, and foreshadow future events.
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