Jane Eyre - Gender - RoleofMenvs.Women FireandIce Charlotte Bronte associates fire and passion with love and beauty In describing Helen Burns Charlotte

Jane Eyre - Gender - RoleofMenvs.Women FireandIce Charlotte...

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Role of Men vs. Women Fire and Ice Charlotte Bronte associates fire and passion with love and beauty. In describing Helen Burns, Charlotte Bronte uses diction such as “brilliant fire”, “kindled”, “glowed bright” (page 74). Although Helen is not originally described as beautiful, Jane recognizes Helen as beautiful because she is passionate and warm. Similarly, in describing Rochester, Jane recalls “fiery eyes” and that “his presence in a room was more cheering than the brightest fire”. However, Charlotte Bronte also presents the idea that fire (passion) is dangerous. We see this through Bertha who is Jane’s antithesis (she sets two fires in Thornfeild). It is important to remember that Bertha was known for being beautiful in her youth. Other characters associated with fire are Jane and Miss Temple. Contrastingly, ice is portrayed as destructive, desolate and hateful. We have St. John who is constantly associated with cold. He lacks passion and is willing to sacrifice his love for his work as a missionary. Moreover, he wants to marry Jane and asks her to live her life with him even though he knows he feels no real emotion towards her. Jane herself describes him as “cold as an iceberg” (483). Similarly, upon her arrival to Marsh house, Jane is described as a “half-frozen bird”. Here, the theme of fire and ice is used to show that without Rochester, Jane loses all her passion and her warmth. Her wings (we must now relate back to the idea that Jane being compared to a bird is Bronte commenting on the theme of liberty) are frozen and she can no longer fly- although she has freedom at Marsh house she has no motivation to soar. The Reeds and are also associated with ice. its important to have a balance: too much fire (bertha) is bad (Helen dies too) and too much ice (john who dies alone) is bad too. The strange thing about St. John is that he might at first seem like an obsessive-compulsive, cold-blooded freak, but actually he is what Jane’s been trying to become: someone who makes relationship decisions based only on logic and practicality. Once Jane realizes that he’s the natural end point of that philosophy, she goes running back to her true love, Rochester, as fast as she can, Bertha or no Bertha. ….. I did. Mr. Rochester, reading my countenance, saw I had done so. His fury was wrought to the highest: he must yield to it for a moment, whatever followed; he crossed the floor and seized my arm and grasped my waist. He seemed to devour me with his flaming glance : physically, I felt, at the moment, powerless as stubble exposed to the draught and glow of a furnace: mentally, I still possessed my soul, and with it the certainty of ultimate safety. The soul, fortunately, has an interpreter--often an unconscious, but still a truthful interpreter--in the eye.

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