Jane Eyre, Hamlet And Keats Essay

This essay has a total of 1657 words and 7 pages.

Jane Eyre, Hamlet And Keats




To convey a sense of argument, imagery and perspective, authors use various types of
language, syntax and vocabulary to achieve this. An extract from Jane Eyre, by Charlotte
Bronte, a soliloquy from Hamlet, by William Shakespeare and Ode to Autumn, by John Keats
all have a number of striking similarities between them, as well as a few differences,
which will be analysed to show.

Unlike Hamlet and Autumn, the extract from Jane Eyre, doesn't have any particular
argument, but the use of language is similar to that of Keats and to some extent Hamlet.
Jane Eyre is a character existing in a narrative in the first person, as is Hamlet in his
soliloquy. This brings a sense of identification and realism to the reader, "I did not
feel the cold, though it froze keenly" (Bronte, p143) indicated the narrator's feelings
and experience. The narration is written in the past tense, "in those days I was young"
(p143) to add to the affect of a recollection and to bring the sense of an autobiography.

Jane is not an omniscient narrator, like Hamlet, therefore the reader can see things she
does not, such as the gloomy significance of the extract and how it is an indication of
her future relationship with Mr Rochester, and Thornfield. The whole of the novel is
written in elaborate, complex sentences, which perhaps is the author's way of
demonstrating Jane's intelligence and eloquence. The style of language and it usage is
similar to that of Keats. Bronte uses active verbs such as "rising moon" and "blended
clouds" (p143) and "noise" breaking out, and integrates them into the elegant prose to
bring a sense of movement to Jane's surroundings. An idea of sound is also achieved by the
use of onomatopoeic words such as "tinkle of the nearest stream" and "whispering" (p143)
this brings a sensuous aspect to the prose, something that Keats also manages to achieve
in his Ode to Autumn. There is even a small degree of alliteration "wave wanderings"
(p143) something, which Keats also uses.

The imagery in Jane Eyre is plentiful, for instance the moon is personified as female,
"The rising moon . . . she looked over Hay" (p143) the images are conjured up through
pictorial descriptions used by Jane, as with Keats. We get the impression that Thornfield
is slightly intimidating, we know the hall is "grey and battlemented" (p143) and that the
woods are "dark". The descriptions of the town in the distance hills are insightful, "blue
smoke" is sent up from the few chimneys and Jane claims she can hear "plainly its thin
murmurs of life." (p143) Jane dwells on the effects of the industry beyond, "metallic
clatter" can be heard, as the foreground and the backgrounds appear to merge, the "solid
mass of crag" invokes images of trees in the near and far distance. Jane herself says
that, "tint melts into tint." (p143) It is an image of a Victorian town full of industry,
which would have been bourgeoning in 1847 when Jane Eyre was originally written.

There is a slight dark and light contrast in the extract. Jane gives the impression that
it is just after sunset, the sun has gone down "sank crimson" (p143) and it is "dusk". The
rookery is said to be "dark" as is "the great oak" and the childhood thoughts Jane
recalls. Contrastingly she describes the moon as "brightening momently" and that the
horizon is "sunny". Alongside her dark childhood reminisces, Jane recollects "fancies
bright," from this we get a sense of Jane's ability to find brightness in a dark, dusky
atmosphere. Jane is in the denouement of autumn heading toward winter, like Keats, but
conversely she does not share his sense of sadness or regret.

Ode to Autumn is similar to Jane Eyre in its depiction of autumn, however it is more a
valedictory poem, a fond farewell to the season. It is a literary poem full of
description, similar to Jane Eyre. The language is set out to achieve balance. Critic
Helen Vendler (1983, p32) noted the "symmetry and parallelism" used in the syntactical
units of each stanza. For instance, in stanza one Keats deals with the parting of high
autumn with "mellow fruitfulness" and "maturing sun". (Keats, p197) He then reflects on
the feelings of late autumn with its "winnowing wind" and "half-reaped furrow", (p197) and
ends with the remaining baroness in stanza three, "soft dying day" and "stubble
plains"(p197).

John Keats uses pictorial, sensuous language to convey the very nature of autumn. There
are descriptions of landscape and nature throughout. The three stanzas have eleven lines
each, which is one more than any of Keats' other odes. This extra line could indicate
Keats' need to prolong the season, and his unwillingness to let it go. The language is
Continues for 4 more pages >>




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