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The two Mrs Rochester's- compare Charlotte Bronte's 'Jane Eyre' to Jean Rhy's 'Wide Sargasso Sea.'

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Introduction

Sarah Dean 11N The two Mrs Rochester's- compare Charlotte Bronte's 'Jane Eyre' to Jean Rhy's 'Wide Sargasso Sea.' This chapter opens with the wedding drawing ever nearer. As the wedding day draws near Jane grows more and more sceptical about her marriage to Edward Fairfax Rochester. As we have previously seen, she is dubious about marrying Mr Rochester already and with the day drawing nearer Jane grows increasingly nervous. At the preceding evening, Jane's dress arrives, as does a wedding veil. This is the same wedding veil that Antoinette wears when she marries Mr Rochester. Jane is blissfully unaware of the fact that Edward Rochester was previously married, and technically still married to Bertha. By this point Bertha Rochester has been imprisoned in the attic of Thornfield manor for many years and that has mentally disturbed her and has led to insanity. Bertha is aware though; that Mr Rochester is planning to wed again and through revenge decides that she would like to make a statement about her views. In the night, Jane experiences a strange and disturbing dream where she is cradling a crying child in her arms whilst trying to reach Mr Rochester. Jane looses grip of the child and drops it. This disturbs Jane and she wakes up. ...read more.

Middle

The colours associated with dark are blacks and purples, all which appear sinister and eerie. The use of darkness brings up the subject of gothic imagery. This gothic imagery is typical in a book written in Bronte's era. It depicts the colloquial image of old manor houses, evil women locked away, a heroine and the darkness of the land around- all of which are present in Charlotte Bronte's novel. The darkness of Bertha also reflects the weather outside and the mood that Jane is in (microcosm and macrocosm.) Bertha is depicted as having long, wild hair trailing down her back. This is a traditional view of a sexually rampant woman. This long hair also seems to symbolise an animal, again Bertha is being referred to as an animal on heat. Jane continues to tell of the image she has seen by describing the garments that the 'ghost' is wearing. This is described as a gown sheet or shroud. Jane says 'I know not what dress she had on: it was white and straight; but whether gown, sheet, or shroud, I cannot tell.' Charlotte Bronte's use of white may indicate innocence and purity. We have learnt from Jean Rhy's book that Bertha was brought as a foreigner to England and when Mr Rochester learnt about hereditary madness in the family, was unfairly locked in the manors attic. ...read more.

Conclusion

Again colour is used to create atmosphere. This time purple is used to emphasis the gothic theme and again the description of black gives an eerie feel. Jane says that the woman reminds her of a vampire, a blood sucking being- just like Bertha, Bertha has had her life and identity sucked out of her. The climax of the scene is where Bertha decides to tear the veil in two. This can represent the tearing of the marriage between Jane and Mr Rochester. It confirms Jane's suspicions and she becomes even more dubious about her forthcoming marriage. Some can say that the ripping of the veil could be seen as the ripping of Jane's virginity and her beginnings as a sexual woman. Jane recites the happenings to Mr Rochester in the morning. Of course he is aware that the character that visited Jane was his first wife Bertha. He tries to make Jane believe that it was a ghost or a figure of Jane's imagination. Rochester will try anything to convince Jane that it was her imagination. When Jane reveals to Rochester, the broken veil, he says that the woman must have been Grace Pool, the maid. Jane as the subsiding woman decides to accept that opinion but dwells upon the happening. This is the first sighting of Bertha Rochester in the house and the savage and colourful imagery depicts Jane's inner most thoughts, whether to marry Mr Rochester or not. ...read more.

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