The Role of Nature in Jane Eyre


In Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte’s employment of nature imagery is quite abundant throughout the novel. Natural objects such as birds and trees- among others- are endowed with symbolic significance in the novel.

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In this critical essay, the role of nature will be explained and illustrated by some of the examples presented in this novel.

To start with, some definitions of the word “nature” provided by OED are the following ones: “1) the phenomena of the physical world collectively…2) the innate or essential qualities or character of a person or animal. 3) vital force, functions, or needs”.

Charlotte Bronte, born on April 21, 1816,was an English novelist and poet, the eldest of the three Bronte sisters who survived into adulthood, whose novels are English literature standards. She wrote Jane Eyre under the pen name Currer Bell.

In 1847, Bronte published the semi-autobiographical novel Jane Eyre, which was a hit and would become a literary classic. Her other novels included Shirley and Villette. She died on March 31, 1855, in Haworth, Yorkshire, England.

Charlotte Bronte employs a figurative language, including the use of the metaphor and personification that pervades the text and gives the novel a poetic air. For example, when Jane left Thornfield with no friend to go to and no money or job to support her need, she personifies “Nature” as the “universal mother” which was now her only friend (Jane Eyre. Chap. 28, p.389). She sees Nature as ” benign and good” and believes that will protect her in her time of need (389). This “mother”, she thinks, “would lodge me without money and without price (389). She sleeps that night in the arms of her “mother nature”, trusting he more than she has ever been able to trust someone to care of her. “I again nestled to the breast of the hill, and ere long in sleep forgot sorrow” (Jane Eyre: Chap 28, p.390)

Jane finds refuge in Nature and feel more safe than she ever has felt i…