How Does Charlotte Bronte Use Art In Jane Eyre

Topics: Jane Eyre, Art, Charlotte Brontë Pages: 6 (1317 words) Published: February 28, 2017


By convention, artwork – both in the illustrative and written medium – serves as a literal representation of an idea. Brush strokes paint vivid colors in hopes of capturing an iconic moment, and words are deliberately structured to tell a moving story. At its core, any form of art fulfills the capacity to capture life; yet it is the hope of true artwork to not only represent, but rather provide meaning. Artwork, and in particular ekphrastic descriptions of that artwork, serve as a recurring theme placed at the forefront of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. The novel uses Jane’s myriad occurrences with various forms of artwork to provide insight into the understanding of the semantics of emotional expression, and rather than project art through...

The earliest consideration of her own artwork comes after Jane has planned to leave her position at Lowood, and in an exclamation to Bessie on her “painting over the chimney place,” (Brontë 85) Jane reflects to the reader that, “It was a landscape in water colors, of which I had made a present to the superintendent, in acknowledgement of her obliging mediation with the committee on my behalf, and which she had framed and glazed.” (Brontë 85) This small aside in their conversation, serves to impose the notion that Jane is no longer a young girl, but rather a woman who is ready to assume the duties of a governess. Furthermore, the novel introduces the concept of how art was used as a contemporary measure of capability, with Bessie responding to Jane is astonishment that, “It is as fine a picture as any Miss Reed’s drawing-master could paint, let alone the young ladies themselves...” (Brontë 85). Not only does this show Jane’s personal talents with artwork, but placed in context of the constant suppression of gratification Jane experiences till that point, her artwork begins to serve as a symbol of her capability to transcend the expectations assumed of her. Thus, the artwork presented serves not only as a...

Serving as an extended metaphor for ‘escape’ – in the physical, intellectual and emotional sense – art allows Jane to constantly question the concords of her world. Although, paintings and physical representations of art are at the forefront of this symbolic ‘escape,’ it can be argued that art is merely a purposeful means of reflection. The novel, itself a form of art, offers the narrator’s (Jane) reflections on the complexities of her life. Brontë uses this reflective nature of art to construct a novel that is consciously aware of the role art plays in understanding life. Through Jane’s artwork, both the character and the reader are allowed to reflect on the immaculate power introspection can have in reshaping...
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