Narration and Conversation in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre Essay

1439 Words 6 Pages
Narration and Conversation in Jane Eyre

Throughout her life, Jane Eyre, the heroine of the novel by Charlotte Bronte, relies heavily on language and story-telling to communicate her thoughts and emotions. Not only are good story-telling skills important to Jane Eyre as a the narrator, but they are also important to Jane Eyre as a character in her own novel. From the beginning of the novel, we learn of Jane's love of books -- "each picture told a story" (40) -- and of her talent for telling her own stories. As the narrator, she makes sure the reader is fully aware of her thoughts, emotions, and the constraints put upon her as her life unfolds before us.

In the opening scene of Jane Eyre, we immediately see how Jane
…show more content…
"I am not deceitful: If I were, I should say I loved you; but I declare I do not love you . . . . People think you are a good woman, but you are bad, hard-hearted. You are deceitful" (68-69).

Throughout her life, Jane measures her relationships with others by their narrative abilities. The relationships she values the most are with those in which she can engage in story-telling. At Gateshead, Bessie is loved for her "remarkable knack of narrative" (61) and Jane delights in hearing "her most enchanting stories" (72). After becoming ill from the red-room experience, Jane awakes to Mr. Lloyd who listens to her story despite Bessie's annoying interjections. Although he does not offer much sympathy, Mr. Lloyd is instrumental in getting Jane out of Gateshead and into Lowood school. Jane respects Mr. Lloyd because, besides Bessie, he is the first person to ask to hear her account of what "things" (56) are causing her unhappiness while living at Gateshead.

During her residence at Lowood, Jane develops several close relationships with both the staff and students there. She speaks of her brief friendship with Mary Ann Wilson: "She had a turn for narrative, I for analysis; she like to inform, I to question; so we got on swimmingly together, deriving much entertainment, if not much improvement, from our mutual intercourse" (109). In this passage, the high import Jane places on
Open Document