Jane Eyre - Analysis of Nature

Essay by MitchsnakeHigh School, 11th gradeA, May 2006

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Charlotte Bronte makes use of nature imagery throughout "Jane

Eyre," and comments on both the human relationship with the outdoors

and human nature. The Oxford Reference Dictionary defines "nature" as

"1. the phenomena of the physical world as a whole . . . 2. a thing's

essential qualities; a person's or animal's innate character . . . 4.

vital force, functions, or needs." We will see how "Jane Eyre"

comments on all of these.

Several natural themes run through the novel, one of which is the

image of a stormy sea. After Jane saves Rochester's life, she gives us

the following metaphor of their relationship: "Till morning dawned I

was tossed on a buoyant but unquiet sea . . . I thought sometimes I

saw beyond its wild waters a shore . . . now and then a freshening

gale, wakened by hope, bore my spirit triumphantly towards the bourne:

but .

. . a counteracting breeze blew off land, and continually drove

me back." The gale is all the forces that prevent Jane's union with

Rochester. Later, Brontë, whether it be intentional or not, conjures

up the image of a buoyant sea when Rochester says of Jane: "Your

habitual expression in those days, Jane, was . . . not buoyant." In

fact, it is this buoyancy of Jane's relationship with Rochester that

keeps Jane afloat at her time of crisis in the heath:

"Why do I struggle to retain a valueless life? Because I know, or

believe, Mr. Rochester is living."

Another recurrent image is Bronte's treatment of Birds. We first

witness Jane's fascination when she reads Bewick's History of British

Birds as a child. She reads of "death-white realms" and "'the solitary

rocks and promontories'" of sea-fowl. We quickly see how Jane

identifies with the bird. For her...