According to R. B. Martin, Brontë achieves many of her "finest effects by lurid contrasts of illumination and shade, by the relentless light of rational day set against the menacing shadows of dead of night ('ever the hour of fatality at Thornfield')" (58)

The primary impression of Miss Bronte's first masterpiece is of anguished torment and nearly intolerable happiness. Because she believed that life's joys are few beside its sorrows . . . the reader's strongest recollection is probably of the blinding fierceness of the rebellion of Jane's lonely heart against the loveless tyranny of Gateshead, the pangs of her physical and emotional hunger at Lowood, the aching frustration of her first love of Rochester, the death-in-life of her discovery that he is already married, the solitary agony of her night on the moor, her merciless grinding under the juggernaut of St. John's ambitious piety. The fitful ecstasy of Jane's joy is made brighter by being thrown in relief against her trials and by the rareness of its visitation: the lyrical garden scene when Rochester pours out his love against a counterpoint of the nightingale's song; the night when he swoops her into his saddle before him like a demon lover enveloping her in his cloak; the muted, autumnal delicacy of their reconciliation at Ferndean, poised between laughter and tears. [57-58]

Other comments on Jane Eyre by R. B. Martin


Martin, Robert B. Charlotte Brontë's Novels: The Accents of Persuasion. NY: Norton, 1966.