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...

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