hen Jane Eyre returns to Thornfield at the end of the novel, the reader waits anxiously for her to catch a glimpse of the house, for this view will surely foreshadow the fate that has befallen Mr. Rochester. "The lawn, the grounds were trodden and waste: the portal yawned void. The front was, as I has once seen it in a dream, but a shell-like wall, very high and very fragile looking, perforated with pane-less windows: no roof, no battlements, no chimneys--all had crashed in" (374). This view is far from what Jane expected as she anticipated the "bold battlements that will strike the eye nobly at once" (372).
When Jane later observes Rochester, she notices a similar change in him. Just as Thornfield was perforated with pane-less windows, Rochester has sightless eyes. The shell-like walls of Thornfield reflect the change in countenance that Jane observes in her lover, "he looked desperate and brooding--reminded me of some wronged and fettered old beast or bird, dangerous to approach in his sullen woe" (379). The connection between Rochester and his home creates suspense and depth for this crucial scene in the novel. The link also serves to strengthen the impact of Rochesters' suffering, thereby suggesting that the depth of despair that Rochester felt at Jane's departure was enough to destroy a strong, majestic house.
Content last modified December 1993