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The Use of Gothic in Charlotte Bront's Jane Eyre

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Introduction

The Use of Gothic in Charlotte Bront�'s Jane Eyre Melissa K Medders Newton U474758X TMA 02 In Charlotte Bront�'s novel, Jane Eyre, the use of Gothic is employed strategically by the author. De Sousa Correa states that the "...Gothic [is] so overwhelming present in Jane Eyre". By defining the Gothic novel and applying these aspects to analyse two/three scenes from the novel, this statement will prove correct. [C.F.1] In Realisms, it is stated that "Gothic sensibility arose as a reaction against the Enlightenment's emphasis on reason and the ordered symmetry of neoclassicism" (71). For a novel to be considered a Gothic novel, it must consist of various characteristics to qualify it as a Gothic. The classic Gothic novel consists of both "emotional extremes" and "very dark themes". The novel's setting would be in dark, remotes places in large houses, mansions, or castles. The Goth[C.F.2] novel would include, as well, an anti-hero, a persecuted heroine, supernatural encounters, some sort of physical or psychological terror, or insane relative ("Gothic fiction", n pag[C.F.3]). ...read more.

Middle

Even though this scene shows Jane's horror at the injustice her aunt does to her, it shows how sensitive she is as well[C.F.6]. Thornfield Hall is the epitome of a Gothic setting. Jane describes her journey to her new home: "the night was misty", which implies that Jane's future is unclear at this point (Bronte, 96). The common Gothic aspect of this scene is to use the weather to create a sense of uncertainty or foreboding. This also shows that Jane has left behind friends at Lowood and is quite isolated; however, she is looking forward to her new life and employment and the independence it will give her. When Jane reaches Thornfield, "the driver got down and opened a pair of gates; we passed through, and they clashed behind us", and thus imitating Jane being trapped (Bronte, 97). This suggests confinement and isolation, another Gothic feature, and Bronte has used this to demonstrate how Jane and her situation are exposed. ...read more.

Conclusion

Later in the novel, after Jane discovers that Rochester is still married and has kept his mad wife locked in the attic at Thornfield Hall, she debates whether or not to stay on with him or leave. The moon, which is a constant symbolic presence of change, is used throughout the novel (89). The moon speaks to her to "flee temptation", another supernatural-like occurrence (Bronte, 316). And again, this happens towards the end of the novel where Jane lives at Marsh End and believes she hears Rochester calling her (414). These "supernatural" occurrences are another characteristic of Gothic literature[C.F.8]. As we can see from describing what a Gothic novel entails and the analysis of these scenes, Bront� has employed the use of Gothic in Jane Eyre. The characteristics of Gothic novels: the persecuted heroine (Jane), supernatural encounters (real and imagined), some sort of physical or psychological terror (Bertha), or insane relative (Bertha) and have proved that the novel is a Gothic novel in every sense of the word. ...read more.

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