What aspects of the novel Jane Eyre are reflective of the Gothic genre?Quotations or references to the text should be offered in support of ideas mentioned. The features of a Byronic Hero should...

What aspects of the novel Jane Eyre are reflective of the Gothic genre?

Quotations or references to the text should be offered in support of ideas mentioned. The features of a Byronic Hero should also be mentioned.

Expert Answers
mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

1.  Terror and Horror.  We get this through Mr. Rochester's crazy wife, who for most of the novel, Jane thinks is a malevolent ghost that haunts the house, and is out to get her.  There are noises in the hallways, shadows in her room, her things get moved, Jane senses someone's presence.  She is terrorized by this strange creature, and thinks it is some sort of monster or evil spirit out to harm her.

2.  Elements of the supernatural: A lot of gothic novels include some sort of supernatural aspects that add to its suspense and horror.  You have that in the above-mentioned creepy wife, and also, in Jane hearing Mr. Rochester's voice calling to her across the moors.  Technically, hearing his voice from miles and miles away is pretty impossible; her discernment is a bit supernatural.

3.  Confinement.  This refers to characters that are restricted or confined, either literally or figuratively.  Rochester's wife was confined for years because of her mental disorder.  Jane was confined by her own moral standards.  Rochester was confined by his wife, which restricted his happiness and freedom when it came to love and moving on with his life.  He is, essentially, trapped in a hopeless and sad situation.

4.  Dark, serious themes.  This novel is very heavy; there is tragedy, depression, longing, pain, betrayal, suffering, in addition to all of the elements of suspense and horror.  That makes for a very dark feeling to the novel as a whole.

Those are just a few elements often found in Gothic literature; I hope it helped.  Good luck!