Longing for Home: A Treatise upon the Alienations and Benefits of Exile, as Exposed in Jane Eyre. Jordan Todes, Samuel Chiu, Candice Suitor, Maegan Mendoza, Sahil Shete. The literal interpretation of the prompt is literally.
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Jordan Todes, Samuel Chiu, Candice Suitor, Maegan Mendoza, Sahil Shete
“Palestinian American literary theorist and cultural critic Edward Said has written that “Exile is strangely compelling to think about but terrible to experience. It is the unhealable rift forced between a human being and a native place, between the self and its true home: its essential sadness can never be surmounted.” Yet Said has also said that exile can become “a potent, even enriching” experience.
Select a novel, play, or epic in which a character experiences such a rift and becomes cut off from “home,” whether that home is the character’s birthplace, family, homeland, or other special place. Then write an essay in which you analyze how the character’s experience with exile is both alienating and enriching, and how this experience illuminates the meaning of the work as a whole. You may choose a work from the list below or one of comparable literary merit. Do not merely summarize the plot.”
This prompt asks the writer to accomplish three things:
Identify an exile from “home”.
Analyze how the character’s exile augments and isolates said character.
Show how the exile is integral to the novel.
“It is not my house, sir; and Abbot says I have less right to be here than a servant... If I had anywhere else to go, I should be glad to leave [Gateshead]... I should indeed like to go to school” (Bronte 20-21).
Post-Red Room punishment, Jane suddenly feels isolated from Gateshead. The things that used to please her, such as the tart, plate, book, and song, only succeed in deepening her sadness.
Her strange change brings the apothecary, Mr. Lloyd, who tells Mrs. Reed that sending Jane to school would be a healthy change for Jane.
Mrs. Reed agrees and months later sends Jane to the Lowood Institution where she starts a new chapter in her life, as the reader starts a new chapter in the book.
“I found that he had ceased to notice me because I might pass hours in his presence and he would never once turn his eyes in my direction—because I saw all his attentions appropriated by a great lady, who scorned to touch me with the hem of her robes as she passed; who, if ever her dark and imperious eye fell on me by chance, would withdraw it instantly as from an object too mean to merit observation” (Bronte 174)
Moment:Jane is watching Rochester flirt with the beautiful Blanche. Her love burns within her as she believes Rochester will marry Blanche.
“The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.” (Page 342)
Even though she is in love with Mr. Rochester, she decides to leave Thornfield in order to escape the inequality she feels that she’ll have by being with Mr. Rochester as a mere mistress. She wants to become more independent and the only way to do so is by staying away from a place that will make her lower status noticeable. Her journey of exile leads her to the Moor House.
“Perhaps you think I had forgotten Mr. Rochester, reader, amidst these changes of place and fortune. Not for a moment. His idea was still with me, because it was not a vapour sunshine could disperse, nor a sand-traced effigy storms could wash away; it was a name graven on a tablet, fated to last as long as the marble it inscribed.”
2010 AP Literature and Composition Free-Response Questions: www.apcentral.collegeboard.com
The University of Iowa
Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. New York: Bantam, 1981. Print