Theme of Isolation in Jane Eyre

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Jane Eyre, a gothic novel by Charlotte Bronte, depicts the orphan Janes experience of isolation and alienation in Gateshead Hall. She is physically locked in the red-room. The red-room, a prominent symbol in this novel, represents isolation, terror, and represents a prison for Jane.

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In the first few chapters of the book, Jane describes the red-room, noticing how it was a spare chamber, very seldom slept in, and having a bed supported on massive pillars of mahogany, hung with curtains of deep red damask. Jane also described the carpet to be red, the table to be covered with a crimson cloth, the walls having a soft fawn colour, with a blush of pink in it, and the wardrobe, the toilet-table, the chairs were of darkly-polished old mahogany in order to emphasize the significant presence of the color red in that room.

Red is normally referred to the color of extremes, and the color of this room represents how Jane is trapped in a dark and oppressive stage in life. This refers to the red-room symbolizing a prison for Jane because of the mistreatment and class conflicts that exist between her and the Reed family, as John called her a dependant. John implies that his family is in a higher class than Jane, and as a result of their quarrel, Jane is ordered to go to the red-room. Jane also describes her feelings in the red-room after using a disheartening tone stating I was a discord in Gateshead Hall; I was like nobody there; I had nothing in harmony with Mrs. Reed or her children, or her chosen vassalage. She also calls herself a heterogeneous thing a noxious thing, and a useless thing to portray how shes useless at Gateshead. Jane feels isolated when she used the words nobody and discord, and makes it seem like shes locked out of society also. This reveals how Jane feels out of place in Gateshead Hall, due to the oppression she felt from the Reed family. This as a whole connects to the red-room representing Janes isolation.

Finally, the red room is also a place of terror for Jane. As Jane is trapped inside the red- room, she saw a streak of light and convinced herself that it was her Uncle Reed who was rising from the grave. To support that, she mentions I thought the swift-darting beam was a herald of some coming vision from another world. This supernatural gothic experience had brought fear at the same time when Jane felt oppressed, abused, and alienated. This relates to the symbolism in the red-room because she expresses her true feelings of fear and isolation as shes in the room experiencing the rising of her Uncles ghost who wouldve saved her from trouble. This portrays violence surrounding Jane in a prison, and Jane should use this room to overcome her struggles in life and find freedom and happiness. In conclusion, the red-room is a prominent symbol that represents imprisonment, isolation, and terror, and this symbol will continue to be prominent throughout the novel as many events will take place.  

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