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Gothic Elements In Jane Eyre Essay

1457 words - 6 pages

Gothic is a literary genre that is connected to the dark and horrific. It became popular in the late Victorian Era, following the success of Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto, in 1764. Since that time, gothic literature has become a widespread influence. Some elements that are typically gothic include ancient prophecies, mystery and suspense, supernatural events, dreams and visions, violence, and a gloomy and desolate setting. Charlotte Bronte, the author of Jane Eyre, was greatly influenced by the gothic movement. This is obvious to anyone who has read her work. Jane Eyre, in particular, falls into the tradition of the late eighteenth and nineteenth century gothic novels. Gothic elements can be seen in the mystery behind Thornfield and Rochester's past. There is also a prevalent theme of the supernatural, such as the appearance of Mr. Reed's ghost, the ghoulish and sinister laughter of Bertha Mason, and Rochester's disembodied voice calling out to Jane. Furthermore, there is a great deal of suspense that is generated by the violent behaviour of Bertha Mason. The gothic elements of mystery, violence and the supernatural have the strongest presence in Jane Eyre.The mystery behind Thornfield and Rochester's past is a strong theme in the novel. When Jane first arrived at Thornfield, already she could sense that something was peculiar about the place. She hears a "distinct, mirthless laugh" coming from the third-floor of the house. Mrs. Fairfax, the housekeeper, informs Jane that a servant named Grace Poole lives up there. She is also rather unbalanced. Jane finds the servant's behaviour very strange and disturbing. However, Jane seriously starts to question the story behind Grace Poole when the servant snuck into Rochester's room and set the bed curtains ablaze. Jane finds Rochester's reaction to the incident to be peculiar in itself, since after the fire was put out, he immediately went upstairs to the third floor. However, what Jane finds most disturbing is that Grace continues to work at Thornfield even after she supposedly tried to kill Rochester. She wonders what power this strange woman has over Rochester, and furthermore, why she had tried to kill him in the first place. Jane is convinced that Rochester may not be telling her the whole truth regarding Grace Poole. Her beliefs are confirmed when she sees the bleeding Mason, one of the guests at the house. Jane now realizes that Grace is a dangerous person, although she still does not know how Mason and Rochester are related to her. The night that the strange woman comes into Jane's room further arouses her suspicion of Rochester. When she tells him about the incident, Rochester tries to convince her that it must have been a dream. However, Jane is certain that it was not. The mystery of Thornfield is revealed when Mason declares that the strange woman is Rochester's wife, Bertha Mason. Rochester had kept her up on the third floor and paid Grace Poole to look after her. She was the one who...

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