Jane Eyre
Updated: 12/19/2019
Jane Eyre
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Storyboard Text

  • The red room at Gateshead introduces the recurring themes of enclosure and escape in the novel Jane Eyre. For Jane as a child, this causes her to reflect on her "dismal present", leading her to break down and try to escape the room, letting out an "involuntary cry" in her desperation, fearing the idea of her uncle's ghost haunting the room (18, 21).
  • Lowood institute holds many aspects of escape within its walls. When Jane is being treated, Mr. Lloyd suggests that she goes to school, and thus Lowood serves as an escape for Jane from her abusive family (30). When typhus fever claims the life of her friend and foil Helen Burns, she states that an early death will help her "escape great sufferings" (97).
  • Thornfield Hall begins to reintroduce the theme of enclosure and escape in Jane's story. Before Mr. Rochester's arrival, she found herself climbing "three staircases" to look out of the secluded house, dreaming of "regions of life [she] had heard of but never seen" (129). Although Mr. Rochester and her affections towards him serve as an escape to Jane, it demonstrates that she may never be contented at Thornfield Hall.
  • The Moor House and Jane's relationship with St. John demonstrates once more the theme of enclosure. On St. John's proposition that Jane move to India, Bronte demonstrates the danger of matrimony to women like Jane, who at the time broke free of traditional desires and roles of women. She confides in Diana that to marry him would be to keep her as a "fellow-labourer", and that she would not marry him (478).
  • Bertha Mason, the madwoman locked in the attic for years, shows a dramatic example of the effect of enclosure on an individual. From her escapes throughout the novel, setting fire to parts of Thornfield, to the climax which lead her "smashed on the pavement", it further presses the severity of this theme in Jane Eyre (493).
  • The ending of the novel closes this theme in partial ambiguity. Although Rochester previously served as Jane's escape from Thornfield, the ending is less clear. With Rochester "stone-blind", and Jane now wealthy, she marries him (494). A strong feminist tone wraps up the novel, however the question stands on whether Rochester serves to trap Jane or help her escape her past.
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