Compare and Contrast the Techniques Used by Bronte in Describing Thornfiled Hall in Chapter 11, with those used by Woolf in Describing London
Jane Eyre’s tone is both gothic and romantic, often conjuring an atmosphere of mystery and secrecy. Her description of Thornfield in chapter 11, is very Victorian and thorough, which draws us into the novel. On page 122 of Chapter 11, when approaching the third floor, Jane uses a visual first person narrative text. When Bronte writes, “Mrs Fairfax stayed behind a moment to fasten the trap-door”, she is giving us an aspect of ambiguity, the word ‘fasten’ emphasises the refusal of entry.
The description of the staircase in Thornfield Hall illustrates the rigid and constricted atmosphere, as they are described as ‘the narrow garret staircase’. Bronte uses alliteration when stating, “lingered in the long passage”, to emphasise the description of her movement in the surroundings. The phrase ‘separating’ used in the passage exemplifies the secrecy within Thornfield, which also intrigues us.
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The use of semicolons and commas in the passage, adds to the appeal of Thornifield, illustrated when Bronte writes, “the third story; narrow, low, and dim”.
These techniques disrupt the flow of the sentence to show the fascination and anxiety that she has for the attic. This allows the structure of the sentence to be sharp, with short gaps to keep the reader curious and interested. The depiction of the building demonstrates the typical Victorian accommodation, of small, gothic and narrow appearance. Furthermore, the conclusive text of the ‘little window at the far end’ shows the isolation within Thornfield, as light can barely enter the house. Bronte shows the seclusion in addition to this, as Jane says “with its two rows of small black doors”.
The technique of colour imagery used here, exemplifies the obscurity and secrecy, which adds to the suspense of Thornfield. In Jane, Bronte gives us a detailed description of the events that occur in her life. Despite these Gothic elements, Jane’s personality is friendly and the tone is also affectionate and confessional. Her unflagging spirit and opinionated nature further infuse the book with high energy and suspense. Mrs Dalloway is written in the first person narrative and so all her images are also very thorough. The dialect used by Woolf is very energetic and visual.
This is immediately demonstrated on the first page, as Woolf uses onomatopoeic terms such as “What a lark! What a plunge! ” The use of exclamation marks also illustrates the exuberant atmosphere in London. The opening paragraph is also heavily punctuated, but the technique used by Woolf is less symbolic in contrast to Jane Eyre. We get a great image of the frantic and constructive lifestyle Mrs Dalloway has in London, as Woolf uses terms such as ‘traffic’ and ‘solemnity’. The dialect is very active in comparison to Jane Eyre, as the onomatopoeic image of Big Ben is described as “There!
Out it boomed”. Here Woolf is utilising heavy sounding terms, to attract the reader into the novel and to allow us to appreciate all the elements of London city. The long sentences used by Woolf and constant repetitive descriptions anchor the dialect in the novel and help hold the prose down. Woolf also frequently uses semi-colons rather than commas in Mrs Dalloway, to break the language and interpretation of the novel down, to prevent an easy and fluent read.
This is illustrated when Woolf writes, “and swinging; brass bands; barrel organs; in the triumph… nd the strange high singing of some aeroplane overhead was what she loved; life; London;” The tone that Woolf takes is very sensitive in contrast to the solid language used by Bronte. Woolf has a poetic rhythm in her prose, illustrated when she writes, “there was a beating, a stirring of galloping ponies, tapping at cricket bats”. The consistent use of this sound imagery, also exemplifies the typical buoyant London atmosphere. In contrast to Jane Eyre, Woolf uses a positive colour imagery to show the attractive London environment, when writing “soft mesh of the grey-blue morning air”.
Furthermore when entering the park, Woolf uses a technique of alliteration, to show the contrasting atmosphere of London city, to the park when writing “the slow-swimming happy ducks”. A more calming and subtle dialect is now used, in comparison to Jane Eyre, where Bronte uses a sharper and more emotional tone. The main contrasts between the two novels are the different use of punctuation in each. Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway, although heavily punctuated, employs a more simple style. The descriptions, although very thorough, are basic to interpret, to compliment the simple imagery used.
However Bronte uses the technique of punctuation in Jane Eyre, to compliment Jane’s feelings. Though both novels use similar techniques of punctuation, Bronte’s utilises this aspect to compliment her novel more, which adds to the element of suspense and mystery. This intrigues the reader and allows us to feel Jane’s emotions at the current time. The technique and punctuation that Woolf’ uses, helps to elevate the environment of London and help create a very expressive novel, which concentrates more on the surroundings.