Standing Alone: Isolation and Narration in Villette and Jane Eyre

In Villette and Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë creates protagonists who are markedly strange and isolated people. Throughout both books, their awkwardness in society and difficulty communicating is a continuous concern. These women are also our narrators. An isolated, lonely position in the world makes the dual role of protagonist and narrator especially convincing. This character is able to stand on the outskirts of conversations and social gatherings, simultaneously observing and experiencing. A quality of mystery in the imagery and language throughout both novels gives Brontë creative freedom in her fantastical plots. The odd psyches of the narrators create a unique, half-lit environment where the strange events in these stories seem utterly believable. Not only do their strange dispositions perfectly fit their role as observers, but they are able to taste freedom through language. Brontë skillfully filters her tales through these voices to draw the reader into her dark world, shining misty light into the void where the woman who stands alone strives to define herself.

There is no question that Lucy Snowe and Jane Eyre are solitary beings. This quality exists in varying forms, but with the same alienating results. As a new...

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