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In chapter 11 of Jane Eyre, how does Bronte use foreshadowing and the supernatural?

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alannaapaul | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 3, 2013 at 10:53 PM via web

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In chapter 11 of Jane Eyre, how does Bronte use foreshadowing and the supernatural?

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted November 4, 2013 at 9:15 PM (Answer #1)

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Chapter XI records Jane's first impressions of Thornfield's geography and interior. Though it has a medieval feeling, she meets with with great hope and feels at home. These positive feelings are then overshadowed near the end of her tour with Mrs. Fairfax. The conversation shifts between the two when Jane asks if the servants sleep at a particular part of the house. Mrs. Fairfax answers quizzically, "No; they occupy a range of smaller apartments to the back; no one ever sleeps here: one would almost say that, if there were a ghost at Thornfield Hall, this would be its haunt"(77). The mood immediately shifts at this point as Jane continues to ask if there really are stories of ghosts; to which Mrs. Fairfax denies anything of the sort. However, this conversation immediately foreshadows the laugh that Jane hears that gives her the impression of a ghost. Mrs. Fairfax quickly explains the laughter away as that of Grace Poole, but the suspicion has already been set by the implication of ghosts--explained away or not. Bronte juxtaposes the "ghost" conversation with the laughter heard through the hallways in order to create a sense of superstitious tension. This is Jane's first impression of Thornfield and it is filled with both positive, negative, and curious feelings and ideas. This literary technique creates curiosity in the reader, which also implores him/her to read on in order to discover what will happen with the laughter and talk of ghosts in future chapters.

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