Use of language in Jane Eyre

curriculum-key-fact
When analysing language, you should use this structure:
  • What has the writer done?
  • How have they done it?
  • Why have they done it?
  • What are the effects on the reader?
How has Brontë used language?Why has Brontë done this?What are the intended effects on the reader?
SymbolismBrontë uses language to symbolise how the Red Room is said to be haunted and deadly: seeing before me a terrible red glare, crossed with thick black bars.Brontë has used the colours 'red' and 'black' to symbolise how the room is, in Jane's opinion, haunted and a terrifying experience for her. Both 'red' and 'black' have connotations of death, fire, the devil and hell, therefore illustrating the room's supernatural conditions.The symbolism of the Red Room makes the reader sympathise with the situation Jane is in. It also allows us insight into Jane's character through the way that she responds to what she thinks she sees.
Descriptive languageBrontë uses descriptive language and personification to describe the atmosphere at Lowood School: While disease had thus become an inhabitant of Lowood, and death its frequent visitor; while there was gloom and fear within its walls; while its rooms and passages steamed with hospital smells.Brontë has personified disease by saying it is an 'inhabitant' and personified death by describing it as a 'frequent visitor.' This shows the frequency of death and how it is consistently at Lowood School, taking young girl's lives.This makes the reader feel sympathetic towards Jane and the other girls, as they shouldn't be living in these conditions at the school. It also gives the reader an insight into schools of this kind in this era.
Pathetic fallacyBrontë uses pathetic fallacy when describing Jane's journey to Lowood School: Raw and chill was the winter morning: my teeth chattered as I hastened down the drive.Brontë has used a cold winter morning to emphasise how gloomy Jane's journey will be and therefore how dull her time will be at Lowood. The use of the verb 'chattered' illustrates how cold Jane was, thus exaggerating the weather.The use of pathetic fallacy makes the reader realise the journey to Lowood will not be pleasant, therefore it foreshadows Jane's time at the school.
ImageryBrontë uses imagery when describing Jane's homeless state in the moors: High banks of moor were about me; the crag protected my head: the sky was over that.Brontë has used imagery to illustrate Jane's isolation and loneliness on the moors. It also illustrates its wild beauty, something which relates to Jane's wild and beautiful personality.This makes the reader wonder at the beauty of the moors but also become amazed at Jane's sturdiness and willingness to embrace the cold and wild conditions.

Analysing the evidence

In this section, Bertha has set fire to Thornfield and is standing on the roof with flames lapping around her.

quote
..she was on the roof, where she was standing, waving her arms, above the battlements, and shouting out till they could hear her a mile off: I saw her and heard her with my own eyes. She was a big woman, and had long black hair: we could see it streaming against the flames as she stood. - Bertha's final moments

Here's how to analyse this quotation looking for how Brontë describes Bertha's character:

'...she was on the roof, where she was standing, waving her arms, above the battlements, and shouting out till they could hear her a mile off: I saw her and heard her with my own eyes. She was a (1) big woman, and had (2) long black hair: we could see it (3) streaming against the flames as she stood.'

  • (1) the adjective 'big' highlights Bertha's masculinity and power, therefore making her appear as a supernatural being - as somebody who cannot be controlled.
  • (2) Brontë describes Bertha's hair as 'long and black.' The colour of black has connotations with evil, villain and witches.
  • (3) 'streaming against the flames as she stood.' - the verb 'streaming' illustrates a free movement and emphasises how Bertha is finally free from her attic and therefore Rochester's control. Bertha is able to break free from the constraints of Victorian society, with her free flowing hair as a symbol of this. The contrast between Bertha's black hair and the flames is an example of imagery.
Move on to Test
next