Charlotte Bronte's ' Of Bertha '

1709 Words May 4th, 2016 7 Pages
Beyond the nature of Bertha’s attacks characterizing her as animalistic, the diction Jane employs to depict Bertha’s physical appearance also highlights savage features. To Rochester, Jane describes Bertha’s facial features as “Fearful and ghastly to me — oh, sir, I never saw a face like it! It was a discoloured face — it was a savage face. I wish I could forget the roll of the red eyes and the fearful blackened inflation of the lineaments! [...] the lips were swelled and dark; the brow furrowed; the black eye-brows wildly raised over the blood-shot eyes” (Bronte 371). Bronte’s characterization of Bertha demonstrates how a woman, once considered “the boast of Spanish Town for her beauty: and this was no lie. [Rochester] found her a fine woman, in the style of Blanche Ingram; tall, dark, and majestic” (Bronte 395) drastically morphed into a being Jane finds reminiscent “Of the foul German spectre — the Vampyre” (Bronte 371). The highly animalistic features that Jane observes in Bertha remind Jane of a mythological character associated with suffering and inhuman traits. The gruesome features Bertha comes to possess after fifteen years of marriage to Rochester illuminate the dehumanizing impact that her physical, mental, and emotional confinement results in. Bertha no longer resembles the beautiful woman Rochester first encountered; she has been reduced to a baser, drastically less feminine version of herself. The similarities between Jane and Bertha suggest that, should Jane…
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