The Presentation of Isolation in Jane Eyre and the Wide Sargasso Sea

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Isolation in Jane Eyre and the Wide Sargasso Sea.
The theme of isolation is explored in Bronte’s novel; Jane Eyre. This theme is also developed in The Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys. Both pieces present different types of isolation, such as isolation due to location and the isolation of a character due to their social status, such as Jane’s status as a governess. The various ways in which isolation is present in each of the texts show how inescapable and unavoidable isolation is for the characters in both Jane Eyre and The Wide Sargasso, with it being present in such a large way in their lives. Physical isolation is present in both texts, with Jane in Jane Eyre and Antoinette in the Wide Sargasso Sea experiencing absolute isolation from society due to their location. In Jane Eyre, Jane experiences such isolation in chapter II when her outburst toward her cousin and patriarch of Gateshead Hall, John Reed, results in her being confined to ‘the red room’. Bronte writes ‘it was silent, because remote from the nursery; solemn, because it was know to be so seldom entered’. This description highlights the extent of the physical separation Jane faces whilst in the room. She is far away from any other beings, being unable to even hear other people, and with little possibility of the room being visited; it suggests there is little hope of escape from the separation from society she is presented with. By saying the room was ‘silent’, it reiterates the idea that Jane was isolated from all things and this highlights its severity and alienates Jane as she is out of touch with her surroundings, and the world. It is clear that this isolation is effective enough to have a negative impact on an individual, as Mrs Reed knowingly uses it as a punishment; this suggests that the isolation is severe. Separation for those who had committed atrocities was seen as apt in this period of 19th century Britain, as it was during this decade that ‘The Separate System’ was being...
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