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Literary contrasts in Jane Eyre: a mirror of the protagonist's journey
Journal of Language and Literature 2014; 5(2), 73-82
Literary contrasts are rhetorical devices which, by combining disparate ideas, states, and scenes, consolidate authors’ tableaux and render them more impressive and pithy. This invigorating effect comes from the unexpectedness of intertwining elements that usually do not coincide. Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre abounds with contrasting situations and constituents. This paper discusses the nature of these contrasts and their contribution to Bronté’s chef d’oeuvre. Analysis reveals the significant role of literary contrasts in portraying interactions between characters and their surroundings including human beings, nature, and society. Tracing contrasting imagery depicting the progress of the protagonist’s character, one discerns a variety of messages about human experience. Of special significance is Brontë’s skill in showing how the ugly face of domestic violence can poke shamelessly into the vulnerable and innocent world of childhood. Brontë’s contrasts evoke a tinge of shock at the way humans can orchestrate miseries of their fellow humans. These miseries can cause more harm than those caused by harsh natural factors like extreme weather conditions. In addition, contrasts in Jane Eyre send strong messages about evils like hypocrisy and social inequities. As the novel unfolds, more contrasting scenes introduce internal conflicts, future prospects as well as themes relating to true love, marriage, and connections going beyond sensory experience. Fortunately, Jane manages to overcome the obstacles and work out the contradictions she faces throughout her long journey of self-fulfillment. Uncertainty and inferiority give way to confidence and sound judgment.
Book Review of Patsy Stoneman's Charlotte Brontë. Writers & Their Work.Women's Writing, Published online: 19 May 2014.
A Professorial Nation: The Pedagogical Gardens of William Crimsworth, Jane Eyre, and Lucy Snowe (2014). Masters Theses. Paper 310.
Charlotte Brontë was not an intentional pedagogue, but nevertheless, her works reflect the dynamics of an educational ideology that depends on the natural environment. In Brontë's works, including The Professor, Jane Eyre, and Villette, safe learning environments are most commonly found in gardens, providing spaces--literally and metaphorically--dedicated to individual growth. These spaces are not isolated, however, as they are located in bustling towns such as Villette and schoolyards like those of Jane Eyre. Likewise, the individual does not grow in isolation; rather, development is a process that is fostered by an individual's interaction with his or her environment. In essence, the individual grows to understand the garden, and upon this achievement, the individual experiences maximum cultivation. Such thought is the foundation of Brontë's educational philosophy. While the metaphorical garden provides structure for individual development, it also steers Brontë in her discovery of the self; she recognizes that human nature is different for everyone, and as such, this difference should not be a hindrance to personal growth.