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Symbols in WSS. Mirrors:. Mirrors and representations of reflections recur throughout the text. They are linked to identity and images of the past. …at Coulibri …. Annette is reminded of her poverty and vulnerability everytime she [passes] a looking glass.

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mirrors
Mirrors:
  • Mirrors and representations of reflections recur throughout the text. They are linked to identity and images of the past.
at coulibri
…at Coulibri…
  • Annette is reminded of her poverty and vulnerability everytime she [passes] a looking glass.
  • Antoinette’s favourite picture, The Miller’s Daughter, acts as a sort of reflection. It is possibly a projection of who she wishes to be- a proper English girl- so when it is destroyed readers can assume that this is the closing of this life to her.
in the attic
…in the attic…
  • There is no mirror to reassure Antoinette of her existence. There is no looking-glass here and I don’t know what I am like now. I remember watching myself brush my hair and how my eyes looked back at me. When she does finally encounter a reflection at Thornfield, she does not know how to interpret it. As she dreams of burning down the house, Antoinette, encounters a ghost in a gilt frame. She vaguely knows herself, claiming but I knew her, yet she cannot give the ghost (or herself) a name.
slide5
Ultimately, the mirror’s reflective surface represents Antoinette’s inability to reconcile the different parts of herself. This expands upon the idea that there are two very separate parts to Antoinette’s personality- the side that acts rationally and the side that lashes out as illustrated in her ability to recall attacking Richard Mason.
  • Long ago when I was a child and very lonely I tried to kiss [my reflection]. But the glass was between us- hard, cold, and misted over with my breathe. Now they have taken everything away. What am I doing in this place and who am I?
  • Society cannot allow her to exist as an independent married woman, or as a proper English woman with her own desires.
birds
Birds…
  • As Coulibri burns Coco fruitlessly searches for a way to safety. In his final moments he falls to the ground below on fire- a death that is later paralleled by Antoinette (at least in her dream and in the details given in Jane Eyre).
  • Coco, a bird of paradise, has his wings clipped by Mr Mason (an Englishman) and the bird is shackled- this is ultimately mirrored by Antoinette’s own incarceration by Rochester.
  • [Coco] made an effort to fly down but his clipped wings failed him and he fell screeching. He was all on fire.
at granbois
…at Granbois…
  • A second incident that includes a bird signals betrayal, a warning to Antoinette. The symbol is meant as a warning, a signal that danger is imminent.
  • That is for betrayal, but who is the traitor?
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