The red-room is the first in a series of literal and metaphorical imprisonments in the novel. Although Jane’s imprisonment in the red-room is real, she will encounter spiritual, intellectual, and emotional imprisonment throughout the book. The rigid Victorian hierarchies of social class and gender will pose challenges to her freedom of movement and personal growth, and corrupt morals and religion will also constitute menaces to her ability to realize her dreams for herself. Jane will even come to fear “enslavement” to her own passions. At the same time, the red-room is also symbolic of Jane’s feeling of isolation with respect to every community: she is “locked in,” but she is also, in a sense, “locked out.” Again, class and gender hierarchies will contribute to Jane’s sense of exile. For example, her position as a governess at Thornfield once again situates her in a strange borderland between the upper class and the servant class, so that she feels part of neither group.
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