Language

Style of language

The language in the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is mostly formal, which reflects Jane’s education and the fact that she is writing her autobiography for an unknown reader. The narrative uses long sentences with a very complex structure, such as: 

It was a wet and windy afternoon: Georgiana had fallen asleep on the sofa over the perusal of a novel; Eliza was gone to attend a saint’s-day service at the new church – for in matters of religion she was a rigid formalist: no weather ever prevented the punctual discharge of what she considered her devotional duties; fair or foul, she went to church thrice every Sunday, and as often on week-days as there were prayers. (Chapter 21, 83%)

This style of language is, to some extent, typical of Victorian literature. At the same time, it is also particular of Jane’s overly descriptive style and her focus on details. The novel also includes many rich descriptions of Jane’s surroundings or people’s appearance. 

When it comes to the dialogue, this is mostly natural and reflects everyday conversation between people, even allowing for pauses or interruptions, such as: 

‘It is a long way off, sir.’

‘No matter – a girl of your sense will not object to the voyage or the distance.’

‘Not the voyage, but the distance: and then the sea is a barrier –’

‘From what, Jane?’

‘From England and from Thornfield: and –’

‘Well?’

‘From you, sir.’ (Chapter 23, 38%)

At times, the dialogue also reflects characters’ backgrounds and their dialects. For example, Hannah, the Rivers’ housemaid speaks with a Yorkshire accent and her dialogue is related with incorrect grammar and spelling, which reflects the regional dialect and her social class: “ ‘Ah childer! that’s t’ last o’ t’ old stock – for ye and Mr St John is like of different soart to them ‘at’s gone; for all your ...

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