What makes Jane Eyre a gothic novel?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There are numerous Gothic elements in Jane Eyre. For one thing, Jane has a very powerful, vivid imagination, which she uses to construct images out of Bewick's History of British Birds in her own unique, individual way. The Gothic tradition in literature also incorporates elements of the supernatural. One...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

There are numerous Gothic elements in Jane Eyre. For one thing, Jane has a very powerful, vivid imagination, which she uses to construct images out of Bewick's History of British Birds in her own unique, individual way. The Gothic tradition in literature also incorporates elements of the supernatural. One such example in Jane Eyre occurs when our heroine encounters the ghost of Uncle Reed in the spooky red room at Gateshead. The dark, brooding manor house is a regular feature of Gothic fiction, and Gateshead—a place of misery and suffering for Jane—fits the bill to a T.

Mr. Rochester's hidden wife Bertha, though not a ghost, conforms to the standard Gothic trope of the madwoman in the attic, a figure of terror, mystery, and infinite strangeness. She's also the dark secret at the heart of the book, whose constant gloomy presence in the background drives much of the plot, especially the relationship between Jane and Mr. Rochester.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team