Imagery in Jane Eyre

Charlotte Bronte uses vivid imagery of nature and the English countryside to indicate characters’ moods, as well as to foreshadow impending events. For example, following a dramatic reveal from Mr. Rochester, a nearby tree is struck by lightning, which hints at upcoming challenges.

Imagery Examples in Jane Eyre:

Chapter XIII 1

"elfish..."   (Chapter XIII)

Note how Rochester uses more fairy-tale imagery to describe Jane’s drawings. Jane is a talented artist, and the subjects of her drawings are rather dark and complicated. This contrasts with Jane’s unassuming appearance. She continues to reveal surprising qualities or talents as the novel progresses.

"bird through the close-set bars of a cage..."   (Chapter XIV)

Jane Eyre was considered a radical, feminist novel when it was first published, and many of the issues it deals with are still relevant. Images of birds appear throughout the novel as a symbol of Jane’s feelings of, as a woman, being trapped, desiring freedom and independence.

"a flock of white plumy birds..."   (Chapter XVII)

Throughout the story, Brontë uses bird imagery to represent Jane’s desire for freedom from the social constraints that being a woman entails. Despite their wealth, beauty, and luxury goods, the women here are also compared to birds, suggesting that a woman will be metaphorically caged no matter her social standing.