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Gothic In Jane Eyre Essay

1614 words - 6 pages

Gothic elementMost of us are familiar with term "Gothic fiction," a type of literature that developed in the eighteenth century and is still highly popular today.Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre" was published in the middle of the nineteenth century. Bronte was greatly influenced by the Gothic novels that were in fashion before the time of Jane Eyre. The Gothic novel was popularised in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and was defined by its use of suspense, supernatural elements, and desolate locations to generate a gloomy or chilling mood. The protagonist of the novel would generally be female, and often face morbid circumstances.Gothic paraphernalia is first shown in the novel in the form of the red room. Imagery is used to represent this room as secret, prison like, but particularly to give the room an overall feeling of horror. Jane describes the red room as having "curtains of deep red damask" and "crimson cloth". Jane could be using these descriptions as a metaphor for blood, linking the red room to death. The reader is then made aware that the late Mr Reed- Jane's uncle died in there and Jane has images of him haunting the room. This supernatural event that Jane imagines adds to the gothic genre, which increases the feeling of horror that the room is already associated with. Jane's descriptions of the red room and her fear of it when inside, creates a feeling of empathy for her from the readers, especially considering her young age and circumstance.Pathetic fallacy is used throughout the novel. It is particularly crucial in this scene as the "rain still beating continuously on the staircase window, and the wind howling in the grove behind the hall" gives the room a dark and unfriendly impression. All these elements are gothic traits and give the reader an insight into the future gothic themes in the plot.Although the novel carries no evidence of supernatural occurrences, allusions of apparently supernatural happenings are frequently mentioned such as in the red room scene when she senses the ghost of her uncle, her ears fill with sound which she said she "deemed the rushing of wings; something seemed near me…". These all give the novel a lack of realism and a feeling of the supernatural, contributing to the gothic genre.In her book "Gilbert and Gubar The Madwoman in the Attic After 30 Years", Federico concludes the self-image presented by Jane in the mirror is in fact her division of perception and identity.Some critics have suggested this scene captures the conflict of the entire novel in miniature.Another example of the use of gothic paraphernalia is the description of Thornfield Hall. The idea of it being an ancestral home gives it a gothic feel. The décor is dark, dated and, laboured with secrets and memories of the past creating an archaic and enigmatic vision of a gothic castle image. Bronte again uses supernatural images describing the strangest human beings "strange, indeed, by pallid gleam of...

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