Analysis of Jane Eyre similarities between Bertha and Jane

Analysis of Jane Eyre similarities between Bertha and Jane

While Jane dominates the whole novel, it is only towards the third part of the novel that we are exposed to Bertha in person. Physically there is no comparison whatsoever, as there are no grounds at all. Jane is plain but not ugly. Bertha is grotesque. A comparison is possible only between the deeply subconscious state of Bertha and Jane’s childhood misery, where she is confined to the frightful hole and wallows in terror.
In the second chapter, the little child Jane gets scared and screams " Miss Jane screamed so loud Madam" (Bronte 12), pleads Bessie. Mrs. Reed condemns her as a "precocious actress in the eyes, a compound of virulent passions, mean spirit and dangerous duplicity" (Bronte 12). Jane is a creature of circumstances. She is unable "to bear the doctrine of endurance."
Perhaps one may attempt a comparison to Bertha in this context, far fetched though it is likely to be. Chapter 3 talks of Jane being "wretched of mind" (Bronte 14). There is wretchedness in her heart. It is there in Bertha too. Why else would a mentally deranged woman rip the wedding veil apart and crush it underfoot
Rochester in the guise of the fortune teller talks of Jane’s "melancholy arising from loneliness" (Bronte 176) as reflected in her eye. Bertha is mad. Is her madness melancholy Bertha’s reaction to the veil creates such a doubt in the reader, though one tends to squash it and attribute the action to her madness. Jane speaks of herself as "passionate but not vindictive" (Bronte 211) to her dying aunt. Bertha also is passionate – capable of intense feeling. Grace Poole calls her ‘tolerable’, ‘snappish’, ‘not ‘rageous today’ (Bronte 259)
Only the child Jane who mentions that she was beside herself or rather out of herself and is referred to as a "mad cat" can help bring comparisons to the forefront.
"Dear dear ! What a fury to fly at Master John!
Did ever anybody see such a picture of passion!" (Bronte 7)
She is said to be an underhand little thing with so much cover. Abigail says, "It was always in her" and that "I have told Missus often my opinion about the child, and Missus agreed with me. She is an underhand little thing. I never saw a girl of her age with so much cover" (Bronte 8).The little Jane revolts against injustice vigorously. Her reason screams "Unjust! Unjust!". Mr. Lloyd talks to himself and says that her nerves are not in a good state. In Chapter 6, Jane, on a wave of introspection attributes her lack of good home and parents to her abnormal reasoning – wishing the wind to howl more wildly and "the confusion to rise to clamour" (Bronte 46). The first that we hear of Bertha is her laugh "mirthless, curious, distinct" (Bronte 92)
As Dr. Sally Minogue states (Minogue, XVIII), "Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, in their groundbreaking study of nineteenth century fiction talk about psychoanalytic rather than realist terms. Following this, we can be persuaded that " Bertha’s Gothic disruptions are Jane’s rebellions writ large. Both threaten social stability, and both are contained, Bertha physically, Jane by self restraint. The red room is deliberately recalled in Bertha’s incarceration in the third storey, and the she-devil called Mrs. Reed sees in the ten year old Jane, ‘all fire and violence’ (p. 211), prefigures Bertha’s

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