Compare Charles Dickens’ description of Miss Havesham’s dressing

Compare Charles Dickens’ description of Miss Havesham’s dressing room with Charles Bronte’s description of the red-room. In ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens, and ‘Jayne Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte, there is a description of a room. In this essay, I will compare the similarities and differences of the two rooms. The two stories were written thirteen years apart, in the 19th century. In ‘Jayne Eyre’, the red room is decorated in bright colours, in comparison to ‘Great Expectations’, which is a faded white room. They are both large, and ornately furnished.

In ‘Great Expectations’, the little boy is narrating (first person narrator), ‘I answered, more in shyness than politeness’, this quote supports two facts, one that it is a first person narrative, and that the feelings of the boy are quite uncomfortable and slightly timid about the situation he’s in. ‘Don’t be ridiculous, boy’, this shows that the first person is in fact a boy, therefore suggesting a young na�ve nature in the story’s narrator. This reflecting the reader’s view on the happening’s in the story, but more precisely the extract on this particular subject. Like ‘Great Expectations’, ‘Jayne Eyre’, has a first person narrative, Jayne, herself. The narrator in ‘Jayne Eyre’, is actually older than the narrator in ‘Great Expectations’. The narrator seems less anxious than the boy in ‘Great Expectations’, there seems to be no signs of nervousness or anxiety in the passage of ‘Jayne Eyre’ from the narrator.

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Both the rooms in the two stories are parts of rich, wealthy, large houses. ‘One of the largest and stateliest chambers in the mansion’, and ‘massive pillars of mahogany’ support my statement for ‘Jayne Eyre’. In ‘Great Expectations’, ‘large room’ and ‘a fine lady’s dressing table’ also strengthen my statement. Both the rooms in the two stories have been kept as almost museums, as if time stood still at one point and never restarted. In ‘Great

Expectations’, the room creates this impression from remarks from the boy (the narrator), such as, ‘No glimpse of daylight was to be seen in it’, this suggests how no light has entered Miss Havesham’s dressing-room since whatever happened when time effectively ‘stood still’. ‘She had not quite finished dressing’, as if she had started but then suddenly frozen half way through, forgetting about it and everything else in her world. ‘Half packed trunks, were scattered’, this also suggests the ‘stopping of time’. It says in the passage about how everything used to white, but had no faded and was a pale yellow colour, ‘had been white long ago’, ‘was faded and yellow’. ‘No brightness left’, this also suggests that time has stopped.

In ‘Jayne Eyre’, ‘Very seldom slept in’, this suggests loneliness to the room, where nothing breathes in it, like it’s also been frozen in time. ‘Blinds always drawn down’, this suggests that no light is allowed into the room, therefore leaving it in darkness, like Miss Havesham’s dressing room. ‘This room was chill’, this suggests loneliness in the room, expressing lack of happenings in the chamber. Words used to describe the room such as, ‘silent’, and ‘solemn’, also show that the room has effectively been frozen in time. These words are also reflected in ‘Great Expectations’, as the boy enters the room, he is greeted with utter silence and a solemn atmosphere. The sense of a ‘chill’ is also reflected in a way in Miss Havesham’s dressing-room, with all the bland, cold, faded, white colours, you also interpret a cold atmosphere.

The use of colour and light in the two passages are also very effective on the affect it’s having on the reader. In the red room, it is filled with deep reds and whites (hence ‘the red room’). These colours offer warmth and maybe innocence. In Miss Havesham’s dressing-room, the whole room is that of a faded white colour, showing maybe faded innocence, or purity which has lost it’s initial form.

The mentioning of people in the paragraphs helps to create certain atmospheres within the rooms. In ‘Great Expectations’, Miss Havesham, makes a strong impression on the room. She is wearing all white, (suggesting that she was a bride-to-be when ‘time froze’) although the white is faded, turning to a pale yellowy colour. Expressing the room’s coldness and staleness. When the boy describes her as a ‘waxwork and skeleton’ that had eyes that moved and looked at him’, this is also expressing the feelings of Miss Havesham reflecting on the room’s atmosphere aswell. In the red-room, there isn’t actually a person physically present in the room as such as Jayne is describing it to you (the reader), although it does mention certain people. Mr. Reed is a man that had ‘breathed his last’ in this room.

This sends an eerie feeling into the room, a very uncomfortable feeling wraps itself around the room. The fact that nobody actually enters the room often at all gives you an idea of the room’s loneliness aswell. ‘A sense of dreary consecration had guarded it from frequent intrusion’, this also supports my statement of the room’s lack of feeling or love. A very lonely room is felt by the fact that nobody wants to enter the room. This is obviously given through the fact of Mr. Reed’s death.

I think my response was stronger to ‘Great Expectations’, as I found it more intriguing. One of the main causes of this would be that there was actually a person present in the room as it was being narrated. A very interesting person aswell, somebody that can capture your attention. I would imagine so because I simple don’t hear of people who lock themselves up like that, although it is a fictitious character. I didn’t get into ‘Jayne Eyre’ as much, it seemed to float past me as I went through it without making much of an impact. As I said a few moments ago, it is probably as there isn’t a person in the room as I’m reading the story to interest me as such. I felt that the writing in both stories conjured up a respectful amount of imagery in my mind, but in all I think my preference has swayed towards ‘Great Expectations’.