This GCSE English Literature quiz takes a look at language. Language in Jane Eyre draws on emotion, ideas of justice, nature, law, education and religion. Descriptions of people are detailed in terms of their physical appearance and behaviour; these portrayals are explicitly linked to inner character. The natural environment is depicted through language which is lyrical and evocative. Jane’s powerful emotions are effectively conveyed through Charlotte Brontë’s mastery of the affective vocabulary, that is to say, language related to feelings.
Texts are understood primarily through the language with which they are written and read. Authors choose individual words with precision.
By paying close attention to individual words and phrases, you will begin to understand the symbolic meanings and associations that lie beyond the obvious literal meanings. Authors create imagery, such as metaphor, simile and personification, and other literary effects, through the thoughtful use of language. An author’s skill in deploying language allows the effective creation of setting, characterisation and dialogue.
You can increase your understanding of a text enormously by paying very close attention to the detail contained in its language. Spend time lingering over the words and imagery used, considering the potential for multiple meanings rather than immediately settling for the surface meaning. Ask yourself what each individual choice of words, or combinations of words, might suggest. Notice the ideas that come to mind as you read. The time and care which you devote to the language will be repaid by an improved ability to analyse literature.
Answer the questions below to develop your understanding of the way language choices affect the reader’s interpretation of Jane Eyre.