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Romantic poetry and ninetheenth century novel - Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and Tintern Abbey by William Wordsworth

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Introduction

Title: Romantic Poetry and the Nineteenth Century Novel The texts studied offer a variety of human situations. In some, the principal character or characters are obviously social beings; in others, they are isolated, either literally of figuratively. Considering two of them assess the ways in which the main protagonists are presented. In literary terms, how effectively do the writers explore the life stories of such individuals? 'Jane Eyre' by Charlotte Bronte and 'Tintern Abbey' by William Wordsworth both integrate characters that appear to be isolated. In these two texts it is interesting that the poetic speaker and the fictional narrator are the isolated characters and that Bronte and Wordsworth have both taken events from their own lives and adapted them into these texts. The main idea that I am going to discuss relates to the view that the two characters in the texts are both similar in the way that they are both seen to be isolated. Although they do show appear social at times, the fact that they are isolated is most obvious. In many ways the speaker in the poem and the fictional narrator choose to be isolated and bring isolation upon themselves. They both make choices which affect their isolation. In 'Tintern Abbey' the speaker chooses to go walking alone and seems happy with his isolation. It is not something that he is afraid of, if anything he embraces the opportunity to be detached and reflects on the advantages of being in a remote place alone. ...read more.

Middle

She has to continually try to gain respect in a society that does not value her or her talents throughout her life journey. As she grows into an adult and finds love in Rochester Jane begins to feel happier. However she is forced to isolate herself by fleeing Thornfield when she finds out Rochester is already married. Throughout the novel Bronte shows the reader how Jane develops during the journey of life and the reader can identify how she is isolated. At Gateshead she is still a child and is bullied and locked in the red-room, when she leaves for Lowood she moves into girlhood and is isolated once again when her friend Helen Burns dies. Jane is an adolescent when first at Thornfield, is forced to leave here at one point and is destitute for several days. Jane also seems to grow psychologically in Volume I Chapter10 shown by the use of repetition "I desired liberty; for liberty I gasped; for liberty I uttered a prayer." Jane realises that she has the inner resources to escape her isolation at this point in her life. Jane eventually reaches maturity at Marsh End and becomes fulfilled with her marriage to Rochester. The structure is suggestive of growth and supports the theme by showing the reader how Jane is isolated as she develops. The structure of the novel is therefore effectively that of a Bildungsroman, or a 'novel of development', in which the protagonist's growth is traced through childhood, into adulthood and maturity. ...read more.

Conclusion

There are many references in 'Jane Eyre' to nature, in particular birds and Jane is aware of her isolation when she likens herself to the "stray and stranger birds" that Rochester throws crumbs to. After Jane has run away from Rochester her heart becomes "impotent as a bird" that "with both wings broken...still quivered its shattered pinions in vain attempts to seek him", again Jane is aware that she has made herself alone and isolated and she cannot cope. When Jane has fled from Thornfield and she is destitute and starving for days, looking for someone to give her a home St John likens her to "a half-frozen bird, which some wintry wind might have driven through their casement." These many references to birds and nature to reflect Jane's isolation compare to 'Tintern Abbey' in several ways. The whole poem is structured around the theme of nature and how the speaker walks alone and appreciates the nature and the sounds of nature that surround him. It is therefore clear that in both 'Jane Eyre' and 'Tintern Abbey' nature is symbolic of the main protagonists' isolation. The two texts are both written in the form of first person narrative. Because 'Jane Eyre' consists of a first person narrative we largely see events and characters from Jane's point of view and this gives the story a high degree of authenticity. This also creates a very close bond between the narrator and the reader, therefore we are able to really comprehend how isolated Jane feels, her thoughts about it and we are able to empathise with her. ...read more.

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