Bertha in Bronte's "Jane Eyre" Book Review by Nicky

Bertha in Bronte's "Jane Eyre"
An argument that the character of Bertha becomes an outlet for Jane's suppressed emotions and an extension of her personality in Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre".
# 120417 | 1,411 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2010 | US
Published on Jun 14, 2010 in Literature (English) , English (Analysis)

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This review analyzes the significance of the character Bertha in Charlotte Bronte's classic novel, "Jane Eyre". The paper discusses how Bertha becomes the women that Jane wishes she could be when things are out of control and how Bronte strategically places Bertha near Jane so that she can be that extension and so that Jane can live vicariously through her. The paper shows how Bertha becomes an extension of Jane's character, illustrating how Bertha represents the side of Jane that longs to be free and independent of men.

From the Paper:

"Bertha's character is an emotional outlet for the emotions that Jane does not allow herself to experience. Jane is accustomed to behaving in a prim and proper manner most of the time and we see this even when she discovers the truth about Bertha. She firmly decides to tell Rochester that she needs to leave and "begin a new existence amongst strange faces and strange scenes" (Bronte 333). She wants to leave him because her option is intolerable. She struggles, however, to get to this point. Earlier, she wavers even though she knows exactly what she should do. For example, she writes that she hears a "voice within in me averred that I could do it; and foretold that I should do it. I wrestle with my own resolution: I wanted to be weak and avoid the awful passage of further suffering I saw laid out for me" (326). Her struggle is too much for her at times because just a few lines later when Rochester wonders if Jane could ever forgive him she does so "on the spot" (326) without any regret or wavering. She does forgive him but it is only a matter of the heart. She still knows what she must do to carry on with her life but it does not make her any happier. Bertha is just the opposite of this prim and proper lady. She can do crazy things because she is unstable and she can be excused for that behavior. Jane never has that luxury. Bertha's appearance allows the conflict to surface."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Auerbach, Nina. "Thornfield and Rochester." Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. Harold Bloom, ed. Bromall: Chelsea House Publishers. 1996.
  • Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. New York: Scholastic Books. 1962.
  • Makley, Arnold A. "An overview of Jane Eyre." Exploring Novels. Gale Resource Database. 1998. Site Accessed October 16, 2009. <>

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