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Narrative Technique in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre is told by the protagonist, Jane herself. Upon its initial release, the novel featured a subtitle ‘An Autobiography,’ highlighting the fact that it was narrated by a single individual deeply connected to the story being shared. Jane Eyre delves straight into the storyline in a sequential manner from the very beginning. Despite the chronological order maintaining the coherence of the plot, Jane Eyre is truly a combination of historical and contemporary elements. As Jane is recovering from her frightening ordeal in the red room, she listens to Bessie and Abbot discussing her parents, leading to the revelation of the truth behind her orphan status to both Jane and the readers. We are there when Rochester talks about his past, when the innkeeper describes the burning Thornfield – so everything takes place in Jane’s mind, even though she wasn’t there.

Jane’s narration, being a very personal account, is indeed selective as she tends to recall specific experiences that have left a lasting impression on her memory. Nevertheless, due to the portrayal of Jane as a morally upright girl in Brontë’s characters, we trust her as a reliable narrator. We feel sorry for her because we have been informed about Jane’s life, starting from her early years. She captivates the reader with the story, establishing a connection with the reader as if they were a friend. Jane Eyre was restricted during her childhood and seldom had the chance to justify her actions. Indeed, the characters in a novel only exist through Jane’s viewpoint. This could pose a problem for our judgment, especially when it comes to Bertha Mason. Jane and Rochester, the primary figures in the novel, push Bertha aside to make way for their planned marriage. The information we receive about her is mostly presened in favor of Rochester. Bringing Bertha to England can be seen as Rochester’s duty to God and humanity. Jane, who is in love with Rochester, can depict his actions in a favorable manner.

Jane Eyre’s ability to speak surpasses the voices of the male characters. Even though Jane Eyre acknowledges the moral development of both Jane and Rochester, the perspective remains solely Jane’s. Charlotte Brontë spoke on behalf of a girl who was disregarded by society. Jane has a high opinion of herself. The novel is divided into five parts: Gateshead, Lowood, Thornfield, Moor House, and Ferndean Manor. Every time Jane transitions from one place to another, the story emphasizes that this new setting will mark a new chapter in her life. A unique tone prevails in every setting. The atmosphere at Gateshead is filled with passion, superstition, and wildness. This shows that the story concentrates on a child. Lowood’s atmosphere is cold and austere, embodying the constraints imposed on young women by religious beliefs. The narrative at Thornfield is intimate. As Jane starts to develop romantic feelings for her master, we can sense her heart rate increasing. At Moor House, the atmosphere once again becomes suffocating as Jane reverts to a more traditional demeanor. Nevertheless, upon arriving at Ferndean, we transition from being afraid to feeling joyful. The novel switches between various narratives, helping readers connect with different aspects of Jane’s life. If we replace ‘I’ with ‘she’ in any passage, something is immediately lost in the narrative.

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