What are some similes, metaphors, and hyperboles in Jane Eyre?

Quick answer:

An example of a simile occurs in Jane Eyre when Jane says that Mr. Brocklehurst's face is "like a carved mask." An example of metaphor occurs at Thornfield, where Jane describes the night sky as "a blue sea absolved from taint of cloud." An example of hyperbole is Bessie calling Jane "the most wicked and abandoned child ever reared under a roof."

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

A simile is a comparison that uses the words "like" or "as." An example of a simile is when Jane says that Mrs. Reed "swept me like a whirlwind into the nursery." Mrs. Reed, in this comparison, is being likened to a whirlwind or tornado in the speed and force of her action.

In another example of a simile, Mr. Brocklehurst's face, when Jane first meets him, is described as "like a carved mask" that Jane looks up at.

When Jane is heading from Lowood School to Thornfield to start her new job as a governess, she says that:

A new chapter in a novel is something like a new scene in a play.

This, too, is a simile.

Two examples of metaphor, a comparison that does not use the words like or as, occur as Jane returns from her meeting with the mysterious man who she does not yet know is Mr. Rochester.

Jane comes back to Thornfield and states that in doing so, she is

slip[ping] again over my faculties the viewless fetters of an uniform and too still existence

Fetters are bonds, and Jane is using a metaphor in likening her life as a governess to being fettered or bound up in a too regular and quiet life.

Jane uses a metaphor when she calls the night sky she sees "a blue sea absolved from taint of cloud." She is comparing the sky to a clear, deep blue sea but without using the words like or as.

Hyperbole is exaggeration. One example of hyperbole occurs when, after the young Jane's fit following John Reed's attack on her, Bessie delivers a homily or lecture in which she

proved beyond a doubt that I [Jane] was the most wicked and abandoned child ever reared under a roof.

Clearly, Bessie is exaggerating: Jane is hardly the most wicked child ever raised, but the hyperbole helps readers understand how other characters perceive her.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial