Jane arriving at Thornfield, her emotions and experiences of being in this lonely place marked the start of madness in her life. She has lived a lonely and sad life since she lost her parents when she was young. The experience she finds in Thornfield only makes her more frightened and makes her think of the experience she had in her uncles house at Gateshead. She wonders if what she hears in the room is real. There are strange voices coming out of the room and this makes her frightened. Jane is frightened because she has been living a lonely life. Her parents died when she was ten years old, she moved in to live with her aunt and her cousins who never liked her. This paper will examine some of the gothic elements such as; supernatural forces: omen, visions and portent: overwrought emotions in the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
As a young child, Jane experiences gothic at Gateshead through the hands of her aunt and cousins who have no compassion whatsoever to wards her. In the first chapter of the novel, Jane catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror where she is locked up in and she sees a ghostly figure. She thinks it is the ghost of her uncle coming to haunt her since the promise to take care of her had been broken. Jane experiences great terror and cries out with a lot of terror in her uncles house. The red room is described as dark like blood by the narrator and how it produces strange noises which make Jane scared. The room also has a huge mirror that confuses Jane when she looks at herself in it. Thornfield has a history and according to Jane, the late Mr. Reed who died in the house might be haunting the room she is in. outside the room is raining and the winds are blowing and unclear voices are heard. The descriptions of this room and the house entirely give us the first element, presence of supernatural forces. The color of the room red, the ghost which Jane thinks about and what is happening when its raining shows that there are other things beyond the human capability resent around the house (Grudin, 1997). The descriptions that Jane gives about the house at the third floor also depict the element of supernatural forces. She describes the house as old and mysterious. According to Jane, the house has the ability to turn supernatural (pg. 92). In chapter fifteen she says, When I paced on softly on, the last sound I expected to hear in so still a region, lough, struck my ear.it was a curious lough; distinct, formal, mirthless. Jane thinks that the abandoned rooms in Thornfield hall have ghost and she tries to enquire from Mrs. Fairfax. She says so I think you have no ghost, then and when Mrs. Fairfax affirms to her that the house if fine no such supernatural spirits around she does not get convinced and she wants to know more about the room. She continues to ask again, nor any traditions of one? No legends or ghost stories? Jane thinks that because the room is abandoned like that of her uncles it might have some ghost haunts.
Jane is in conflict with herself and the people around her and she finds it hard to control her emotions. Janes life has been a challenging one since her parents passed on some years ago. Her misery began when she moves in to live with her aunt. Her aunt has no emotions to her and this makes her sad. As any other child, Jane wishes of someone who can show her passion and appreciation. This brings us to the next element of overwrought emotions. People who surround Jane do not show her the love she wishes to have. She also experiences high emotion when john finishes hurling insults and throws a book at her; this makes her angry and finally she hits him back causing a fight. In chapter four of the text she is also angry and annoyed with her aunt for treating her so badly that she has an outburst at her aunt before being taken to Lowood. The fact that her aunt does not show her the passion and love that a child could get from her guardian or parent annoys her and she vows to denounce her aunt as her blood relative, I am glad you are no relation of mine and I will never call you aunt again as long as I live (Bronte, 2000:40). Jane is not loved by her aunt and her cousins. The aunt even lets his son, John to torment Jane and instead Jane is the one to be punished by being locked up in the dark room where her uncle, Mr. Reed died in. her aunt decides to send her to a mission boarding school where her life does not get better either for the first time. At Lowood School she finds the school manager, Mr. Brocklehurst who does not like her either. However, she finds a friend, Helen Burns and one teacher who could understand her situation, Miss Temple. She studies to be one of the best students in the school and becomes a teacher like Miss Temple. Jane finds a job of being a tutor at Thornfield hall the house of Mr. Rochester. Jane almost finds the same experience she had in her uncles house. In chapter eleven, Jane is disturbed by the weird laughter and other strange things in the house she is faced with dread, she however manages to fall greatly in love with the master of the house Mr. Rochester. He made me love him without looking at me (Bronte, 2000:203). Although she feels she is but a lowly servant and that she is not as pretty and proper as Miss Blanche Ingram. She has a romantic feeling towards Mr. Rochester and she feels that he does not have the same towards her (Linder, 1978). She explains what qualities attract her to Mr. Rochester; she says, I felt no fear of him but only little shyness. He was past youth but had not reached middle age (pg. 99). She is greatly devastated when Mr. Rochester proposes to marry Miss Ingram. Janes life has been rejecting and when she looks at herself, she thinks that she is not worth being appreciated by anyone. The experiences she underwent while young make her think that Mr. Rochester cannot chose her over Miss Ingram. The characters strong emotions force the reader to empathize with them and also strengthen their connections hence they are able to identify the characters with their problems and travel the journey to discovering who they are and how they fit into their world. Jane finds Thornfield much comforting and warm than her previous home at Gateshead. She describes the room where Mrs. Fairfax was as stately apartment, with purple chairs and curtains, a turkey carpet, walnut-paneled walls and she admires the room and exclaimed how beautiful it was. Mrs. Fairfax tries to help her to familiarize with things around Thornfield that she never experienced before.
After schooling, Jane becomes a teacher and she moves from Lowood to go and work as a tutor to Mr. Rochester at Thornfield hall. Jane likes the house expect the third floor where Jane hears some voices coming out from a locked room. The strange voice Jane is hearing from the room makes her uncomfortable and she is not at ease in the house. Jane is worried about the voices and she decides to ask Mrs. Fairfax, a servant in the house. According to Mrs. Fairfax, what Jane is hearing might be the sewing machine operated by Grace Poole. Jane is not convinced with the answer Mrs. Fairfax gives her and she gives an odd lough. Her discomfort and disturbing nightmares foreshadows the disturbing explanations that proceed in the text. This is a return element of omen, vision and portent. This element might be in the form of disturbing dreams, or even visions or even foreshadow by the writer. In the novel Jane dreams of children and on seven consecutive nights has the disturbing dreams involving children, she believes this to signify death (Bronte, 2000:129). Mr. Rochesters dog appears suddenly and it is huge, lion like creature with strange large eyes. This event clearly creates certain pictures in the eyes of the reader, with them expecting things such as death or depicting the darkness present in Thornfield hall.
Jane is a symbol of good, pure and innocent women in the society who wish of the best for others. She changes the life of Mr. Rochester and as he believes that Jane had brought a light in his life. The life that Jane has lived is maybe what changed her and shaped her personality. She has been rejected by her own blood relatives who think that she is not one of them. Her cousins do not consider one of them and this can be seen when she is reading and one of her male cousins throws a book at her, with insults. He says, You have no business to take our book, you are a dependent, momma says; you have no money, your father left you none, you ought to beg and not live here with gentlemans children like us (Bronte, 2000:8). The school she went also shaped her life to be a humble, tough, caring and loving woman. Despite the challenges she went through in life right from her parents death, she becomes the toughest woman. The hardships she went through have given her the life skills to survive and when she meets Mr. Rochester, he thinks that Jane is his savior.
In conclusion, this paper has examined some of the gothic elements in the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Most of the incidences in the first chapters of this novel foreshadow what proceeds in the next chapters of the novel. In the first twenty chapters of the novel, Jane is in conflict with her emotions. However, despite the challenges she underwent in life she never lost hope of becoming a successful woman. Everybody around her saw her as a failure and tried to demean her. Jane feels lonely when no one is able to love her and give her the compassion she wishes and when she felt that she could not take the horrible torment from her cousins and aunt, she decides to denounce her relation with them and this makes her aunt, Mrs. Reeds to send her to a mission school to keep her away, and that is what marks a new start in her life. Jane tries to overcome these challenges through her hard work in school work and later becomes a teacher like Miss. Temple. Her ability to control and manage her emotions makes her in a good position to overcome emotional challenges.
Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre (Norton Critical Editions). WW Norton & Company, 2000.
Grudin, Peter. "Jane and the Other Mrs. Rochester: Excess and Restraint in" Jane Eyre"." Novel: A Forum on Fiction. Brown University, 1977.Linder, Cynthia A. Romantic imagery in the novels of Charlotte Bronte. MacMillan Publishing Company, 1978.
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