Essay 4 (Option A)
Charlotte Bronte, the author of Jane Eyre, alludes to the corridor in the story of “Blue Beard” by Charles Perrault. This allusion plays an important function in chapter eleven of Jane Eyre and is connected with the rest of the novel.
The story of “Blue Beard” consists of a man with a blue beard who is deemed ugly and frightful to all the ladies of the village, therefore is unable to obtain a wife. After allowing many residents of this village, including the ladies, to take full advantage of his wealth and possessions by permitting them to use all his apartments and houses, many of the women realize that this ugly, wealthy man was not so frightful. As a direct result of his generosity, he obtained a wife, one of the village girls. He lavished his new wife with admittance of entry into all his apartments, although forbidding access to his secret closet. Predictably, the wife disobeys her husband and is discovered guilty of entering this prohibited room.1
Bronte chose to allude to this mysterious corridor while describing Jane’s tour of her new residence and workplace, Thornfield Hall. Mrs. Fairfax, the housekeeper, introduces Jane to the third story of the mansion. This particular floor consisted of a long hall with two rows of small black doors, all shut, adding to their mystery, similar to the secret closet in Blue Beard’s castle. Bronte included this description of the third story hallway because it reveals Jane’s curiosity of discovering what these rooms contained.
Another similarity between this novel and “Blue Beard” is what the mysterious room symbolizes. Both enclose the secret of each master’s, Blue Beard’s and Mr. Rochester’s, past. In “Blue Beard”, Blue Beard is hiding the degrading and disgusting fact that he murdered all his previous wives and has kept their bodies in this secret closet, while Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre keeps his insane, but fully alive, Jamaican wife in a hidden third-story room. The opening of these...