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Commentary-Jane Eyre(Red-Room) Essay, Research Paper

Commentary on Jane Eyre

This particular excerpt of Charlotte Br nte s Jane Eyre is in prose, told in a first person narrative. It is about the last moments that Jane Eyre is locked in the red room after being wrongly accused of pouncing on Mrs. Reed s son, in which her mind has drifted off to the topic of ghosts and spirits coming back from the dead to take revenge on the living and then, upon thinking she has seen a ghost, flies into a panic, waking the whole household and being severely scolded.

The first thing that caught my eye about this passage was that in the first paragraph there seems to be an abundant use of dashes. To me, the text between the dashes like for example I doubted not – never doubted – that if Mr. Reed… & (Mr. Reed s spirit) might quit it s abode – whether in the church vault or in the unknown world of the departed – and rise before me sound like a sort of aside , something not quite directed at the reader but more like an inward comment made by the narrator to herself. Br nte takes the reader further into Jane Eyre s world by giving us little glimpses of her own thoughts which are not embedded in the rest of the text, emphasising her points very well also by making us feel closer to her.

The excerpt is structured quite simply: the beginning and the end, where Jane is by herself in the room is just in prose, telling us what Jane s thoughts and feelings are whereas when Bessie, Abbot and Mrs. Reed arrive on the scene there is a dialogue. I also thought it quite curious how Br nte makes such a clear distinction between prose and the dialogue: the dialogue is continuous, all the characters speeches run into each other and one is not told what any of them are thinking except through direst speech. I personally thought one would probably expect that Jane Eyre, being the narrator, would put in a line of what she thought about the whole conversation here and there; she seems to be a by-stander in this particular part of the excerpt. Br nte might have been attempting to show how helpless Jane was, not being allowed to put a word in edge-ways to decide her own fate (she only speaks up at the very end of the dialogue) and also how little she understood the grown-ups reactions, she was just a by-stander.

There is a lot of visual imagery in the passage. Not only does Br nte describe Jane s movements ( Shaking my hair from my eyes, I lifted my head… ) but the room through Jane s eyes ( I sat looking at the white bed and overshadowed walls… the dimly gleaming mirrors ) and she takes special care in describing the light that Jane thought to be a spirit ( …while I gazed, it glided up to the ceiling and quivered over my head ). There is also sound imagery, mostly…

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