What are some Gothic elements in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre?

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There's a lot going on in Jane Eyre which parallels the tropes of Gothic novels. One of the key features in Jane Eyre which strikes the reader as Gothic is its use of buildings and landscapes almost as characters in their own right—the windswept, Yorkshire landscapes are representative of the...

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There's a lot going on in Jane Eyre which parallels the tropes of Gothic novels. One of the key features in Jane Eyre which strikes the reader as Gothic is its use of buildings and landscapes almost as characters in their own right—the windswept, Yorkshire landscapes are representative of the Gothic hinterland, the unknown, and the various houses Jane moves between are anchors of their own within this landscape. Outside on her own, Jane isn't safe; but the novel gives the distinct sense that she may not be safe, either, within these grand and drafty houses which are, in their own way, prisons.

The female protagonist, Jane, is far from being a delicate flower, but as a woman in distress, a virgin, she is similar to many Gothic heroines. Gothic literature often deals with preserving the virtue of young women from the abuses wreaked upon them by men, and in this story we see this expressed not only in the way Jane is treated by men in her early life, but also in the figure of the rather frightening Mr Rochester. While he is gentle towards Jane, there is another woman in his life who is literally imprisoned by him: the woman in the attic, Mrs. Rochester. In imprisoning Mrs. Rochester in the attack, Bronte created a trope which is now iconic—the woman locked away, out of sight, because of her supposed madness. The first Mrs. Rochester represents the suppression of female expression by men; Jane is haunted by her cries in a way which turns out not to be supernatural, but is still symbolic. The cries of the first Mrs. Rochester can be interpreted as an expression, not only of an individual's pain, but of female pain as a whole.

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Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre has it all when it comes to Gothic literary elements. Bronte uses violence, injustice, creepy settings, as well as the supernatural all throughout the novel. The first few chapters introduce us to Jane's horrifying childhood with her aunt and cousins at Gateshead Hall and as she is sent off to Lowood school for girls. Her first traumatic experience sets the stage for the whole novel as she is physically beaten and manipulated by her older male cousin, mistreated and misrepresented by her aunt, and then thrown into the "red-room" as punishment overnight. Jane's superstition and connection to the supernatural plays out in chapter three as she explains to her aunt that she thought she had seen her uncle's ghost in that room:

“. . . he died in that room, and was laid out there. Neither Bessie nor any one else will go into it at night, if they can help it; and it was cruel to shut me up alone without a candle—so cruel that I think I shall never forget it.”

And she's right--she never forgets her traumatic experience in the red-room and she carries it with her to Lowood school and onto Thornfield where more supernatural, superstitious, and violent things happen to Jane. Other Gothic elements employed in Jane Eyre are mystery, intrigue, loneliness, solitude, and inner conflict as Jane discovers the dark secrets of Thornfield and her employer Mr. Rochester.

It must be noted that near the end of the novel, just as in the beginning in the red-room, Jane encounters the supernatural when she seems to hear Mr. Rochester call to her. This motivates her to run to his side for her happily-ever-after. It would seem, then, that Jane's connection to the supernatural had been with her ever since her childhood. 

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