• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Is Jane Eyre best described as a romance or a Gothic novel?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Is Jane Eyre best described as a romance or a Gothic novel? You should pay close attention to form, structure and language. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The novel 'Jane Eyre' by Charlotte Bronte has been categorised as both romantic and gothic by scholars and literary critics. The plot entails the exploration of a woman's domestic trap, a common Victorian theme, with her subjection to patriarchal authority and her dangerous attempts to escape from such restrictions and the consequences. There is a mixture of mysterious events, moonlit natural environment, beautiful dream-like landscapes, enigmatic characters. Jane is represented as the heroine of the story, the virginal Christian female character. In opposition to her is the character of Bertha who is insane and is hidden in the attic of Thornfield Hall, representing Rochester's torment and his terrible secret. It can be argued that the plot has many entwined characteristics of both genres and it is very difficult to think of it as of one kind. The essay will discuss the way in which the novel accords with the characteristics of a romantic novel and a Gothic novel and evaluates whether it may be possible to assign it with one of the two labels. Romantic novels emphasize imagination and feeling, they focus on nature's ability to free humans from society's judgments and limitations. English romance narrates exotic and unusual stories, they are concerned with chivalric deeds (as in the stories of King Arthur), recalling themes of romantic medieval literature. ...read more.

Middle

In the romantic novel the individual stands at the centre of romantic fiction relating facts and experiences. In the following passage, Jane demonstrates her fervid romantic imagination, as she explains to Adele that she and Mr Rochester are going to get married and utters 'Here is a talisman will remove all difficulties;" (chapter 24) Jane metaphorically evokes the theme of natural forces which come to her aid when she is most in need for comfort. The passage continues with, a fairy that '...held out a pretty gold ring.....and I am yours, and you are mine; and we shall leave earth and make our heaven yonder'(chapter 24). The latter depicts the traditions of dream and oral tales which was much loved by the romantics. However, these are also elements which can be found in Gothic novels, where enchantment and fear are closely related. There is much about Jane and Rochester's introspection, their belief in the supernatural, and conflicting emotions. Jane fights against the wicked spirits of Gateshead, Lowood, Thornfield, Manor Hall, and Marsh End at the end, these supernatural elements take the form of moral choices that force her into reflecting upon righteousness. For instance, the striking of the chestnut tree by lightening, under which Rochester had proposed to Jane (chapter 22), is a portent of their imminent separation and the dangers that lie ahead. It is a perfect Gothic symbol, as nature predicts human fate. ...read more.

Conclusion

Moreover, the idea of the character who travels towards unknown distant places, against wicked and unpredictable forces (these are represented by the several lovers he mentions, throughout his journey, and finally by Bertha, his insane wife segregated in the attic of Thornfield Hall). Thus, Gothic elements are used to create a sense of loss and psychological violence, just like what Mr. Rochester experienced throughout his journeys. Bronte demonstrates an attitude towards natural forces, which 'gravely offered...help' to such a 'reckless' man. In fact, he was not able to fall in love with a 'womankind', but with a natural 'slender creature' who is personified by Jane (Chapter 27). Thus, the novel entails many elements which are characteristic of fairy tales. Jane is repeatedly described as looking like a spirit, a tiny phantom, "half fairy, half imp.". Such an association permits an author to use less words to express deeper ideas, by adding powerful images through an apt use of wondrous language. The imaginary is at the heart of both narrative genres, however under many aspects Gothicism emerges to create suspense and conveys the characters' inner torments, such as "the striking of the chestnut tree', 'the red room'. These contrast with the romantic descriptions of the outdoor scenes, such as when Jane runs across the countryside, are nevertheless described in a vivid and detailed manner as if Jane Eyre were painting a realistic picture of the scene in all its shades. This imagery suggests her characters' moral condition and state of mind, therefore the mood of the story is immediately conveyed. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Charlotte Bronte section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Charlotte Bronte essays

  1. Jane Eyre: an unconventional heroine. Explore how the female position is presented

    Jane emphasises the ridiculous in his portrayal and his concepts on religion are mocked through the depiction of his hypocritical sermons, suggesting that this interpretation of Christianity must not be taken seriously.

  2. Closely analyse the presentation of Rochesters character in Jane Eyre. In the course of ...

    in me a human being, he only twined my waist with his arm and riveted me to his side.") though not as emphasised as it is in Wide Sargasso Sea ("Don't laugh like that, Bertha ...

  1. How does Charlotte Bront develop the adult Jane Eyre through the presentation of the ...

    The monosyllabic answers that follow, e.g. "do you live a long way from here?" even suggest that information is what she wants to acquire above all else. However, the adult Jane is not distinguished from the child version in this matter.

  2. Essentially, Jane Eyre is a story of romantic love Discuss.

    She instils this idea into her protagonist, Jane, who feels, "as if he [Mr Rochester] were my relation rather than my master." Jane's known relatives have always treated her badly and she has only got miserable memories to look back on.

  1. From your reading of Chapters 1, 2 and 26 of Jane Eyre, as well ...

    The bed can be a sign of sleep and regeneration, or birth and therefore life - but the aforementioned gothic nature of the house settings creates a much more sombre interpretation: that of the bed as a symbol of death.

  2. Jane Eyre. We would like to show you Jane Eyres character and ...

    She was born to give and to love. Often, the upper-class women were taught languages and the arts; this made them very well rounded and appealing to the gentlemen. Ladies were ladies in those days; they did not do things themselves, they told others what to do and how to do it.

  1. In Jane Eyre love and marriage are important in different ways. In some relationships ...

    Also with Bertha Mason no longer alive, Jane doesn?t feel guilty and doesn?t have to go against the religious acceptance she has developed. The personal pronoun ?I? shows that this time it?s her decision because she is ready to marry him.

  2. Jane Eyre - Development of Jane's Characters as a Child.

    but is also a symbol of imprisonment. This is only the first time that Jane will be imprisoned in the novel, though her later imprisonments will generally be more metaphorical, particularly in relation to class, gender, and religion. In this case, John is the root cause of Jane's imprisonment and his word is taken above hers, a

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work