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To what extent is ‘Jane Eyre’ a gothic fairy-tale?

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Introduction

To what extent is 'Jane Eyre' a gothic fairy-tale? Novels wrote in The Victorian era were either of gothic fiction or of evolution. Charlotte Bronte wrote 'Jane Eyre' in 1847 and it is believed to be a work of gothic fiction. It features supernatural encounters, remote landscapes, and eerie mysteries designed to create an atmosphere of suspense and fear. Ghosts, dark secrets, plots, and mysteries are throughout the story, mitigating the moral seriousness of her social observation with the gripping and crowd-pleasing psycho-drama of gothic romance - A true gothic genre. "There was no possibility of taking a walk that day" and for Jane that was not abnormal. Jane was an orphan from a baby, her father and mother died and she was left in her Uncle Reed's hands. It is at Gateshead, where Jane grew up as a child. Like the name, Gateshead suggests, it is the first of many spectral settings and suggests an apprehensive atmosphere throughout the novel. Her childhood was not happy, her cousin, John Reed, was a "Wicked and cruel boy", and drove Jane to think he was "like a murderer", "a slave driver", and "Roman emperors!" who persecuted people. She frequently wondered what she had done to deserve the hate shown by the Reed family "I could not answer the ceaseless inward question-why I thus suffered; now at the distance of-I will not say how many years, I see it clearly" Her aunt then locks her in the 'Red Room', where Mr Reed "breathed his last" and it is where she experiences a supernatural sighting, allegedly of her late Uncle Reed. ...read more.

Middle

It was on the second incident where Jane heard the laughter that Mr Rochester's room was sent on fire, and where by Jane rescued him "from a horrible and excruciating death!" Jane Eyre's world seems to the reader a very ominous and forbidding place, charged with implied sexuality. Jane sees Grace Poole the next day in the room. The circumstances in which this occurs are mainly ordinary. It was in the morning and Grace was dressed in her usual dress, her expression showing "nothing either of the paleness or desperation one would have expected to see marking the countenance of a woman who had attempted murder". Bronte uses Grace Poole to create an atmosphere of mystery and suspense through vivid descriptions of the ghostly atmosphere which emanates whenever she is present as well as a contrasting ordinarily which further compels the reader to see Grace Poole in light of a an "enigmatic character". This all meaning that this novel is incredibly gothic. The key to the story is Jane's romantic attraction to Rochester--whom she fears to approach. Does he like her? Dislike her? Notice her? Mr Rochester, so often away, does not explain himself. One of his rare sallies ``you are not naturally austere any more than I am naturally vicious.'' But the night when Jane saves him from the mysterious fire (and is soaked in the process), he gives her his cloak to wrap herself in, and as she pulls it around herself, they both realize a divide has been crossed and Jane fells she has fallen in love. ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore, it may seem that 'Jane Eyre' is a true gothic fairy-tale. Here one of the supernatural aspects of the novel steps in and Jane hears Rochester calling her from afar. Later it is related that Rochester could also hear her reply. This is only one example of the supernatural in the novel. Near the beginning of the novel Jane feels she sees a ghost while she is locked in the red-room, and she takes it as a message from another world. When Jane is walking to Hay and first hears Rochester's horse approaching, she expects to see a North-of-England spirit called a 'Gytrash' a lion-like creature with a huge head. When she sees Rochester the spell is broken, as she knows that nothing ever rides the Gytrash. When Jane first sees Bertha in her room by candlelight, she describes her in supernatural-like terms, thinking perhaps that she is a ghost. The key to the story is Jane's romantic attraction to Rochester--whom she fears to approach. Does he like her? Dislike her? Notice her? Rochester, so often away, does not explain himself. (One of his rare sallies: ``you are not naturally austere any more than I am naturally vicious.'') But one night when Jane saves him from a mysterious fire and is soaked in the process, he gives her his cloak to wrap herself in, and as she pulls it around herself, they both realize a divide has been crossed. ?? ?? ?? ?? Kristopher David Banks English Course Work ...read more.

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