Bertha Mason

Outer characterization

Bertha Mason is an important character in the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. She is a Creole woman from a wealthy family in Spanish Town, Jamaica, and has one older brother, Richard Mason, and a younger brother who has an intellectual disability. Bertha suffers from hereditary insanity, her mother having been admitted into an asylum for insanity.

Her father and Rochester’s father arrange a marriage between Rochester and Bertha to increase their wealth. Five years into her marriage with Rochester, he takes Bertha to Thornfield in England and confines her to a room on the third floor under the watch of her keeper, Grace Poole.

Bertha is described as a very beautiful, tall, and large woman, with dark skin and long curled black hair. When she first sees Bertha at night, Jane describes her as having a purple face and grotesque appearance: “the lips were swelled and dark; the brow furrowed: the black eyebrows widely raised over the bloodshot eyes” (Chapter 25, 81%). 

Inner characterization

Bertha’s characterization in the novel is largely symbolic. She appears directly only briefly and most information a...

The text shown above is just an extract. Only members can read the full content.

Get access to the full Study Guide.

As a member of PrimeStudyGuides.com, you get access to all of the content.

Sign up now

Already a member? Log in