Analyse the passage from Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre" in which Jane finds herself locked within the Red Room at Gateshead Hall, explaining its relevance to the structure of the novel as a whole.

Essay by PsammeadUniversity, Bachelor's January 2004

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Throughout the course of this essay I will be examining an extract from the second chapter of Charlotte Bront¸'s 'Jane Eyre' in which Jane finds herself locked in the Red Room. I will be looking closely at the relevance of this passage to the structure of the novel overall, paying close attention to the narrative devices used.

The novel is a fictional autobiography comprising a first-person narrative, which allows the reader to see events and characters through Jane's eyes, and therefore increases the authenticity of the text. Jane's experiences within the Red Room are also portrayed solely from her own point of view, giving the reader an insight into how Jane's heightened nerves provoke an unnatural depiction of her surroundings. The room itself is described as a 'vault', the chair becomes a 'pale throne', and the bed is referred to as a 'tabernacle'. The highly fanatical and superstitious tone mirrors the fact that the narrative is told from a child's perspective and also illustrates the more passionate attributes of Jane's character.

As Jane peers into the 'great looking-glass', a distorted reflection of herself is revealed. Bront¸ appears to use the mirror as a symbol of Jane's inner self, as after she studies her reflection the tone of the narrative changes and becomes a critical examination of her situation and character. She views her reflection as a 'strange little figure' or 'tiny phantom', and her later description of Mr. Rochester as a 'phantom' could be an echo of this portrayal of herself as a child.

Halfway through the extract, the perspective shifts to the adult Jane looking back in retrospect on her experiences within the Red Room. The 'ceaseless inward question' that could not be answered by Jane as a child is now solved, demonstrating that Jane has been able to...