The theme of Imprisonment in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The theme of Imprisonment in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

The theme of Imprisonment in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

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In “Jane Eyre”, Jane suffers the most from Imprisonment.

She was imprisoned from a very young age; for as long as she can remember. Brought up feeling as though she was a burden is enough to make her feel unhappy and imprisoned. She feels she can’t speak her mind because if she does, she could be beaten by her cousin John Reed. At one stage in Gateshead Jane is physically imprisoned when she is made to sit on a stool, while she is locked in the Red room.

Terror overcomes her, as she is a young girl and a victim of her own imagination.Jane wanted to go to school because it would mean her leaving Gateshead. ‘If I had anywhere else to go, I should be glad to leave it.  When Jane is sent to Lowood I think she sees this as an escape, but herself, Helen Burns, and the other pupils at Lowood are all, in fact, imprisoned.

I don’t think this is as mentally bad as Gateshead, because Jane is happier and enjoys her friends company, especially Helen Burns. However, physically, Jane is imprisoned, because there is nowhere for her to go during the holidays, therefore she must spend all her time there.The living conditions in Lowood are by far worse than Gateshead and as bad as any jail. Jane does experience humiliation and deep sorrow at Lowood, when Mr Brocklehurst stands her on a stool because she broke her writing slate, and when her friend Helen Burns dies. I still think she is considerably happier here


than at Gateshead. Although, by the age of 18, Jane feels she must break free of Lowood, and this brings her to Thornfield hall.

There are many cases of imprisonment in Thornfield hall, such as the imprisonment experienced by Adele, Grace Poole, and Bertha Mason.Jane herself experiences a sense of no freedom when she is at Thornfield and Mr Rochester has guests. When Blanche Ingram is being snobbish towards her Jane is under strict orders from Mr Rochester to remain in her presence. I think that if Jane had felt imprisoned and wanted to leave Thornfield, she would have stayed, because of Adele and Mr Rochester. Adele is Mr Rochester’s ward, and she doesn’t have the choice to come and go as she pleases either. She has been in Thornfield for as long as she can remember, similar to Jane, only Adele is treated much better.

Grace Poole looks after Bertha Mason, and must keep her under a watchful eye at all times. If she takes a break the consequence is an escaped and dangerous lunatic. It is hard on her to constantly keep and eye on Bertha; she isn’t much company and can be quite aggressive. Grace Poole is a prisoner from the outside, normal world, and must be locked in an attic, although it is her own will. Jane is not only imprisoned in the places she stays in, but in the era of time in which she lives. The fact that she is a woman imprisons her.

Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just

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as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags” (Chapter 12).Jane thinks this as she looks out of the third story at the view from Thornfield, wishing she could see and interact with more of the world. Bertha Mason is both physically and mentally imprisoned. She is kept on a secluded 3rd floor of Thornfield Hall, and is never allowed free.

She cannot be let loose for her and others safety. In Victorian times, the views on insanity were taken lightly. The likes of Bertha Mason, an upper class lunatic, would have the option to be looked after in a house such as Thornfield, or be sent to a home for the mental.She is given no psychiatric help, and so has no hope. Even Bertha’s living quarters are like a prison, ‘two rows of small black doors, all shut, like a corridor in some Bluebeard’s castle’ (chap. 11) Once Jane leaves Thornfield after the tragic almost-marriage, she finds herself in the company of St.

John Rivers. St. John Rivers is imprisoned in a situation. He wants to be in a foreign country as a missionary. He lives with his two sisters, and is quite unhappy living his boring life.

Read The Boarding House questions and answersHis sisters are his only close company which can also make him feel imprisoned. Jane experiences imprisonment while staying with St. John.

She is unhappy and has a longing for Mr Rochester, although, she can leave St. John Rivers if she pleases. She conceals her unhappiness from him, which could make her feel even more imprisoned. Meanwhile, Mr.

Rochester has tragically turned blind. He is now a prisoner in his own state of appearance, which holds him back from doing lots of things, e. g. eeing the world as he’d planned, or seeing, at all. This imprisons him in the house, and he can’t move very far without assistance. He is also deeply saddened on the inside, and without Jane, he feels trapped.

Also, Adele had been sent to a boarding school and was feeling unhappy and trapped, as these weren’t her surroundings. She might feel imprisoned as Jane did in Lowood. All in all, Imprisonment plays a very frequent role in the book. Almost every main character experiences it, but none as much as Jane Eyre herself.Read an essay on Burden of school bags

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