Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Tower of Babel

The Tower of Babel

"...and comparative silence quelled the Babel clamour of tongues." (pg 46)

In this passage, Bronte is referencing the biblical story concerning the Tower of Babel. Mentioned briefly in Genesis, the story tells the story of several men near the beginning of time who came together and, since they all spoke the same language, decided to build a tower up into the heavens. God saw what they were doing and decided to stop them by mixing up their languages and scattering them to different parts of the Earth. Bronte uses this reference in her novel to illustrate the craziness that a school of all young children talking at once could be. Biblical references are quite common in novels of Bronte's time because the Bible was and continues to be a very important part of culture in the Western world.

EDIT: The craziness of attending school with so many young girls influences Jane's life from a young age, as does schooling in general. Jane becomes a more solitary figure as life goes on, liking to be in the company of fewer people as opposed to large groups. This may be due to her semi-negative experience in a such an over-populated school as a girl. Schooling in general is an important part of Jane's existence throughout her entire life, as she remains at Lowood as a teacher for several years before becoming Adele's private teacher later and teaching with St. John and her family even later. Bronte's decision to make schooling such an influential part of Jane's life shows how important and affecting school was to Bronte's own life.

Link: http://unmuseum.mus.pa.us/babel.htm

1 comment:

xwing212 said...

Oh, I think there might be something more to it as well.. consider how vital Jane's childhood is to defining her adulthood -- and how school continues to play a role throughout her life.. language in particular...