Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

May 25, 2017
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In chapters 4-16 of Jane Eyre, Jane continues to be set apart from her co-worker’s and friends in regards to her otherworldliness. Jane is separate from the people around her because she concerns herself with what is important for herself and the advancement of her own life in the most selfless and spiritual way. Jane values thoughtfulness and strength of mind, and these qualities help her during her special transition to Thornfield Hall as well as her encounters with the otherworldly Mr. Rochester. Both Jane and Rochester are described in other-worldly terms that set them apart from other people in their lives.

In contrast to the many characters in the novel who are very much of this world, and concerned with worldly matters, Jane is repeatedly associated with the supernatural. Jane’s own last name, Eyre, is suggestive of the “up in the air” environment in which birds live, and birds are considered otherworldly creatures because of their unique ability of flight. Along with her otherworldly surname, Jane has quite a few supernatural experiences throughout the novel. Predominantly in chapters 4-16, Jane is referred to as a magical creature. While briefly glancing in the mirror in the red room, Jane describes of her reflection, “all looked colder and darker in that visionary hollow than in reality: and the strange little figure there gazing at me, with a white face and arms specking the gloom, and glittering eyes of fear moving where all else was still, had the effect of a real spirit: I thought it like one of the tiny phantoms, half fairy, half imp.” (chapter 3). This is one of the many references to mythical creatures being connected to Jane, and these references further the point that Jane is a very unique character. From the beginning of her unloving past at places such as Gateshead and Lowood, Jane was separated from the rest. She was always in her own world, enamored by a book, lost in artwork, imbibed in translation, and most importantly, speaking her mind and standing up for her own opinions no matter what the circumstance, which was not very common of a women in the time period of the novel. Most of the women in the novel like Blanche Ingram and Mrs. Reed are very concerned with worldly matters, such as social class and wealth. In fact, after Jane bravely berated Mrs. Reed for condemning her to Lowood Superintendent Mr. Brocklehurst, Mrs. Reed was “lifting up her hands, rocking herself to and fro, and even twisting her face as if she would cry.” (chapter 4).  Jane clearly has an otherworldly effect on the people she meets, and this is known to a deeper level when Jane first encounters Mr. Rochester.

Not only is Jane associated with the supernatural, but also the capricious heir of Thornfield Hall, Mr. Edward Rochester. This man is nothing like Jane has ever before encountered in her life. His language, presence, and mood instantly capture her senses and elevate her imagination. While Jane was on the way to Thornfield Hall to begin her employment as a governess, she encountered a strange man on his horse accompanied by a supernatural looking dog. The experience unfolds as follows, “it was exactly one form of Bessie’s Gytrash— a lion-like creature with long hair and a huge head: it passed me, however, quietly enough; not staying to look up, with strange pretercanine eyes, in my face, as I half expected it would.   The horse followed,— a tall steed, and on its back a rider.   The man, the human being, broke the spell at once.” (chapter 12). The man turned out to be Rochester, and the “gytrash” turned out to be Rochester’s trusty dog, Pilot. The sight of Jane completely threw off Rochester’s train of thought, and he proceeded to fall of his horse. Pilot the dog is a representation of Mr. Rochester’s sexual nature, and the dog leaping and bounding ahead of him reveals that his sexual instinct is a predominant feature amidst his personality. Thus, when he falls off of his horse, this is an indication that he has been thrown completely off track and his life will never be the same again. Also, Rochester himself refers to Jane supernaturally when he calls her saying, “now, fairy as you are…” The fact that Rochester refers to Jane as this and recognizes the otherworldliness in her shows that he himself possesses otherworldly qualities and can relate to Jane. Another peculiar instance of Rochester’s otherworldliness is relevant when he disguises himself as a curious gypsy fortune teller in order to elicit information from his new love interest, Jane. Mr. Rochester is bursting with imagination and will stop at nothing to light the flame between him and Jane. Just like Jane, he longs to live a fulfilling life, and is never failed by his imagination.

Perhaps by making these supernatural associations with her two lovers, Bronte is attempting to portray just how magical a thing love is when it comes along. Jane and Rochester’s relationship vivaciously lights up the page.  The two lovers belong together - set apart from the rest in their grasp of a finer world - a world of a love that is based on the spirit instead of on material considerations.  Rochester is so little bound by the world and worldly concerns, he is willing to ignore all social rules and commit bigamy while maintaining a voracious passion for Jane. Jane herself, bearing a name associated with birds and referred to as mystical creatures, is completely focused on living a fulfilling life of true love and spirit. The two compliment each other with seamless ease, and their elements of otherworldliness in chapters 4-16 exemplify the unbreakable strength of their love “in the clouds.”

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