Jane Eyre - Fire And Water

In the novel Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte recounts the story of Jane and her lovers, Mr. Rochester and St. John Rivers. Critics such as Adrienne Rich and Eric Solomon argue that Jane Eyre has to choose between the "temptation" of following the rule of passion by marrying Rochester, or of living a life of complete renunciation of all passions by marrying St. John Rivers. Fire and water imagery symbolizes these two forces competing for dominance in Jane Eyre, both on a personal and metaphorical level. Throughout the novel, this imagery of fire and water is used by Brontë, in keeping with her use of poetic symbolism, to develop character, strengthen thematic detail, and establish mood. In ...

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that would put out fire, destroy passion" (Solomon, 73). As Jane wanders between these two points of temptation throughout the novel, the accompanying imagery of fire and water is most significant to the understanding of the themes and concerns of the novel. Bronte uses fire imagery to develop Jane’s character throughout the novel. As the novel progresses, the corresponding imagery changes to show different aspects of Jane’s nature. In the beginning, Jane’s overly passionate nature is shown through her punishment at Gateshead. After being physically bullied by John Reed, her cousin, Jane shows her uncontrollable passion by striking him. As her punishment, Jane is locked up in the red- room. Here, fire imagery, in the form of the red-room with its "pillars of mahogany"(20) and "curtains of deep red damask"(20) is used to represent Jane’s overly passionate nature. Bronte makes a direct reference to fire when she writes "the room was chill because it seldom had a fire"(21), ...

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was "a genial fire in the grate"(133). There is a change in atmosphere in Thornfield upon his return. In his first meeting with Jane, Rochester tells her to "come to the fire"(138). This can actually be seen as an invitation to indulge her passions and emotions. Bronte is careful to use such fire imagery and representation as this is a central point in the thematic pattern of the novel. To Jane, Rochester represents the temptation of passion over reason. Adrienne Rich writes, "…he is certainly that which culture sees as Jane’s fate, but he is not the fate she has been seeking" (Rich, 79). Rochester’s character is all-fire. He offers Jane the temptation of finding romantic love and ...

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Added: 12/18/2005 05:22:55 PM
Category: English
Type: Free Paper
Words: 1557
Pages: 6

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