by Charlotte Brontë
Analysis: Writing Style
Refined, Educated, Precise, Intricate
It ain't Hemingway, but hey—it's about as clear and concise as a nineteenth-century Gothic novel can be.
You don’t have to read very far in Jane Eyre to notice that the syntax and style of the sentences are uber-complex; phrases and clauses are elaborately interwoven, but still somehow manage to feel balanced and exact. For example, at the very beginning of the novel Jane tells us that she’s glad she can’t take a walk with her cousins:
I never liked long walks, especially on chilly afternoons: dreadful to me was the coming home in the raw twilight, with nipped fingers and toes, and a heart saddened by the chidings of Bessie, the nurse, and humbled by the consciousness of my physical inferiority to Eliza, John, and Georgiana Reed. (1.1.2)
You could convey the same information by saying, "I never liked long walks. I hate coming home in the dark and having cold fingers and toes, and I hate getting yelled at and feeling pathetic compared to my cousins." But Jane’s sentences are refined; we can tell that she’s educated, that she never over-simplifies her ideas, and that she likes to give us a series of ideas in an interconnected web instead of a group of short statements.