Analyse the ways Charlotte Bronte creates a sense of terror in chapter 26 and comment on how this is sustained in the context of the gothic genre elsewhere in the novel.
‘Jane Eyre’ is a 19th century novel written by Charlotte Bronte. Bronte creates a sense of terror in chapter 26 in various ways, including: the rendezvous with Bertha and Bronte’s description. The gothic style also plays a big part in numerous points in the book.
“Jane Eyre” is about a young orphan girl called Jane Eyre who is neglected by her aunt and grows up to be a governess, who is well educated. She marries Mr. Rochester after a series of events.
In chapter 26, Jane Eyre is preparing for her wedding. Mr. Rochester seems anxious, he wants to get to the church and get the wedding over as soon as possible. There is a sense of urgency with him especially at the start of chapter twenty-six. He says to Jane “my brain is on fire with impatience”. Traditionally, weddings are exciting days, however Rochester doesn’t reflect this. This foreshadows something is wrong, or disturbing him. When Jane and Rochester reach the church, Bronte describes two men outside the church as “two figures…strangers…straying…reading…mossy headstones”, graveyards are where people who have died are buried and in many gothic novels a graveyard is mentioned or plays a part. This adds to the foreshadowing and also links to the gothic genre as headstones and graveyards are often used in classic gothic novels such as Frankenstein. The “figures” are mentioned over and over, adding to the nervousness and making it obvious to the reader that they have some sort of role. When Bronte says “figures” it fills the reader with a sense of mystery and terror as we, the reader do not know who they are, the “figures” are strange .These elements affect the reader, the reader is prepared for something to happen. “Day of judgement when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed”, this phrase normally refers to death but Rochester’s day of Judgement is already upon him in another way. It is ironic as Rochester’s day of judgement is that day as if he gets married he will have two wives. When the two “strangers” enter the church and say “the marriage cannot go on”, the reader is not very shocked as those two people were mentioned several times. And when Rochester responds to the situation by saying “Proceed”, it shows Rochester wasn’t really shocked either. He was expecting this to happen, which explains his earlier behaviour. Briggs, one of the “strangers”, who is a solicitor, says “Mr Rochester has a wife now living”, this is the first time it is mentioned that Mr Rochester has a wife, though it had been foreshadowed earlier in the novel when Jane hears laughing in the 3rd floor of Thornfield hall.
In Thornfield Hall lives Bertha Rochester, the wife of Mr. Rochester. Mrs. Rochester is the mysterious person Jane heard laughing earlier in the novel. At the time the evil, bizarre laughing created terror as the...