Symbols and Motifs

There are multiple Symbols and motifs that are found in Jane Eyre. Some examples of some motifs include ice, fire, food, etc. Some examples of symbols would include Bertha Mason, the splintered chestnut tree,  and the Red-room.

Fire is the most prominent motif throughout the book, and it represents Jane’s passion and spirit, her oppression and her vitality. It first start in the Red-room, where the fire and Mr. Reed’s ghost knock Jane down from fear. The fire also represents Jane’s brightness and warmth.

The second major fire inference was when she saves Mr. Rochester from the fire set to his bed by Bertha Mason. The third most major fire was When Thornfield was burnt to the ground, again, because of Bertha Mason.

 

 

 

Ice can be referenced to coldness, isolation, loneliness, and even death. This can reflect Jane’s psychological exile at Lowood institute, where when she first came, she was very cold and it was very desolate. They woke up every morning to a frozen pitcher of water and had horrible apparel.When she finds out about Mr. Rochester’s wife, she states, ““A Christmas frost had come at mid-summer: a white December storm had whirled over June; ice glazed the ripe apples, drifts crushed the blowing roses; on hay-field and corn-field lay a frozen shroud . . .” (Chapter 26).

 

The Chestnut tree splits in two right after two people right beside it decide to get married. This is a great omen of what is to happen to that couple, which in this case is Mr. Rochester and Jane Eyre. The tree in itself would just represent Mr. Rochester. He is Shot from God, and the part that falls is Jane, who flees from Mr.  Rochester to avoid Temptation. The book even states, “I am no better than the old lightning-struck chestnut-tree in Thornfield orchard…And what right would that ruin have to bid a budding woodbine cover its decay with freshness?” (3.11.109).

The Red-room symbolizes Jane’s exile and imprisonment. It became what she had to overcome, to gain freedom and independence. Because she is locked up due to her status, it represents Jane’s struggles concerning her orphan and governess status.

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