The novel is both realist and romantic in that it closely depicts the hard, indeed squalid life of a lowly, orphaned servant girl in Victorian times, but also shows her marrying the love of her life, even although he is considerably older and of a higher social status. Such a marriage would not be likely to take place in real-life Victorian England where class barriers were rigid; this kind of improbability belongs to the realm of romance. Other colourful touches in the novel include the gothic mad figure of Bertha, Rochester's first wife. But the novel can also be regarded as realistic in that it strongly acknowledges the existence of female desire, which many novels of that time were not prepared to do; it has a bold assertive heroine at the core, whose character is well fleshed out, unlike the idealised, sentimentalised female figures that populated many other Victorian novels.
There are elements of both realism and Gothic horror, but there is no actual supernatural event.
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