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Jane Eyre Essay

1155 words - 5 pages

Jane Eyre as Gothic Novel The Gothic Novel Goths-Germanic tribe that fought the Roman Empire Gothic architecture-medieval architecture (spires and narrow windows) differs from neo-Classical style of eighteenth century Gothic novel-often set in such medieval castles, abbeys, etc. (very popular in early C19-Romantic period Gothic fiction Horror stories (contemporary examples: Stephen King, Anne Rice) Setting evokes atmosphere of horror (the red room/ the attic of Thornfield) Supernatural/sublime elements (may be explained, e.g. screams of Bertha Mason Hero is often lonely and lost (Rochester and Jane) Villain is epitome of evil (Bertha or Rochester, even St. John's Rivers) either due to a fall from grace or innate malevolence Many tales include a character who is "The Wanderer," -left to wander in perpetual exile (Rochester/ Jane) Purpose of the Gothic Elements of the Gothic thought to reveal the repressed (the unconscious) A way of representing the unrepresentable A way of understanding oneself by confronting horrors/fears Outlet for forbidden emotions, desires, and ideas Personified repressed emotions are more horrific because individuals become enslaved by them Bertha Mason and the Gothic Ghostly presence-there and not there Cause of the inexplicable laugh, the fire, attack on Richard Mason Associated with the gothic architecture of Thornfield The villain from Rochester's perspective Bertha's story Told by Rochester (395-400) Encouraged by his father to marry her for her money (394-5) She was beautiful like Blanche Ingram (395) He did not love her (does this confession influence Jane's reaction to St. John's offer of a loveless marriage?) He was blind to her faults (calls himself a "gross, grovelling, mole-eyed blockhead" (396) Family history-nature vs. nurture Learns Bertha's mother is mad (in an asylum) and her younger brother is "a complete dumb idiot" (396)

Discovers that "her cast of mind [is] common, low, narrow, and singularly incapable of being led to anything higher" Could not hold a conversation with her (396) Physiognomy: character can be read from facial characteristics-character a result of nature 190: Jane's description of Rochester 198: Mrs Fairfax on nature: "it is his nature-and we can none of us help our nature" 207: Rochester: "Nature meant me to be, on the whole, a good man" 211: Rochester about Jane: "You are not naturally austere, any more than I am naturally vicious" (austere=harsh/stern or cold in manner or appearance) Bertha as Excess A "violent and unreasonable temper" "[I]ntemperate and unchaste" (397) -vices of drunkenness and promiscuity Implication that sex and alcohol lead to insanity (sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis did lead to insanity) But suggestion is not that Bertha went insane because of a sexual disease, but that her excess sexual desires were a sign of her insanity and contributed to her degeneration Bertha and the moon Bertha associated with the blood-red moon (398) Moon associated with...

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