The room inspires a feeling of fear, gothiscism, and emptiness Recurrence of various shades of red – scarlet, pink, crimson – signifies passion, danger, aggression, suppression, and confinement…a way of policing female passion The red-room can be viewed as a symbol of what Jane must overcome in her struggles to find freedom, happiness, and a sense of belonging. In the red-room, Jane’s position of exile and imprisonment first becomes clear.
Although Jane is eventually freed from the room, she continues to be * socially ostracized (by Rochester’s aristocrat friends who visit Thornfield) * financially trapped, and excluded from love (asymmetry in wealth between R and J) * threatened by her sense of independence and her freedom of self-expressionare constantly The red-room’s importance as a symbol continues throughout the novel. It reappears as a memory whenever Jane makes a connection between her current situation and that first feeling of being ridiculed. Thus she recalls the room when she is humiliated at Lowood (by Brockelhurst).
She also thinks of the room on the night that she decides to leave Thornfield after Rochester has tried to convince her to become an undignified mistress (and live with him in France). Her destitute condition upon her departure from Thornfield also threatens emotional and intellectual imprisonment, as does St. John’s marriage proposal. Only after Jane has asserted herself, gained financial independence, and found a spiritual family—which turns out to be her real family—can she wed Rochester and find freedom in and through marriage. Bertha Mason
Bertha Mason She impedes Jane’s happiness and her union with Rochester, but she also catalyses the growth of Jane’s self-understanding (Jane’s double, her alter ego). The mystery surrounding Bertha establishes suspense and terror to the plot and the atmosphere. Further, Bertha serves as a remnant and reminder of Rochester’s youthful libertinism/ his life of licentiousness at Europe Critics have read her as a statement about the way Britain feared and psychologically “locked away” the other cultures it encountered at the height of its imperialism.
Others have seen her as a symbolic representation of the “trapped” Victorian wife, who is expected never to travel or work outside the house and becomes ever more frenzied as she finds no outlet for her frustration and anxiety. Within the story, then, Bertha’s insanity could serve as a warning to Jane of what complete surrender to Rochester could bring about. One could also see Bertha as a manifestation of Jane’s subconscious feelings—specifically, of her rage against oppressive social and gender norms.
Jane declares her love for Rochester, but she also secretly fears marriage to him and feels the need to rage against the imprisonment it could become for her. Jane never manifests this fear or anger, but Bertha does. Thus Bertha tears up the bridal veil, and it is Bertha’s existence that indeed stops the wedding from going forth. And, when Thornfield comes to represent a state of servitude and submission for Jane, Bertha burns it to the ground. Throughout the novel, Jane describes her inner spirit as fiery, her inner landscape as a “ridge of lighted heath” (Chapter 4).
Bertha seems to be the outward manifestation of Jane’s interior fire. Bertha expresses the feelings that Jane must keep in check. Fire and Ice Fire represents Jane’s passions, anger, and spirit, while ice symbolizes the oppressive forces trying to extinguish Jane’s vitality. Fire is also a metaphor for Jane, as the narrative repeatedly associates her with images of fire, brightness, and warmth. In Chapter 4, she likens her mind to “a ridge of lighted heath, alive, glancing, and devouring. ” We can recognize Jane’s kindred spirits by their similar links to fire; thus we read of Rochester’s “flaming and flashing” eyes (Chapter 26).
After he has been blinded, his face is compared to “a lamp quenched, waiting to be relit” (Chapter 37). Images of ice and cold, often appearing in association with barren landscapes or seascapes, symbolize emotional desolation, loneliness, or even death. * The “death-white realms” of the arctic that Bewick describes in his History of British Birds parallel Jane’s physical and spiritual isolation at Gateshead (Chapter 1). * Lowood’s freezing temperatures—for example, the frozen pitchers of water that greet the girls each morning—mirror Jane’s sense of psychological exile. After the interrupted wedding to Rochester, Jane describes her state of mind: “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 . . . and the woods, which twelve hours since waved leafy and fragrant as groves between the tropics, now spread, waste, wild, and white as pine-forests in wintry Norway. My hopes were all dead. . . .” (Chapter 26). * Finally, at Moor House, St. John’s frigidity and stiffness are established through comparisons with ice and cold rock.
Jane writes: “By degrees, he acquired a certain influence over me that took away my liberty of mind. . . . I fell under a freezing spell” (Chapter 34). * When St. John proposes marriage to Jane, she concludes that “[a]s his curate, his comrade, all would be right. . . . But as his wife—at his side always, and always restrained, and always checked—forced to keep the fire of my nature continually low, to compel it to burn inwardly and never utter a cry, though the imprisoned flame consumed vital after vital—this would be unendurable” (Chapter 34).