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Writing about Jane Eyre

Victoria Elliott | Wednesday September 07, 2011


Jane Eyre & AO2

Form, structure and language - is often considered to be the hardest Assessment Objective to cover in A level essays. In fact, all three of these in Jane Eyre contribute to the development of themes, characters and plot, so they should be form an integral part of any discussion of these. Integrating points about form, structure and language into other discussions is a better way of including them than constructing a paragraph specifically to address AO2. Here are some ideas about ways it can be tied in:

A paragraph about Jane Eyre’s structure in an essay can be used to hit AO2 and AO4, as the tripartite structure is so typically Victorian, driven by the publication in three parts. These three parts also support the genre of the Bildungsroman, as they show the growth of different areas of Jane’s life – first her physical growth into adulthood, then her personal growth into romance, and finally her spiritual growth which makes her into the complete adult Jane. The three part structure may be dictated by the context of production, but Brontë makes it work for Jane, whose development is dominated by her interactions (‘dialectic’) with three main places and the people within them.

The form of first person limited narration also supports the Bildungsroman genre, dealing as it does with personal change. It also allows Brontë to emphasise the struggle between love and autonomy in Jane’s mind, because the conceit of her telling us her thoughts at the time does not appear forced, as it might in a third person narrative. It adds to the realism, since we are not reliant on an omniscient narrator; thus Brontë’s exploration of a complex female character is less easy for the reader to write off as a fantasy, as it might well have been at the time of writing.

Quotation from the novel used to support any points can always be commented upon for its linguistic content in order to demonstrate understanding of how the...

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