Analysis of the Interior Architecture of Thornfield Hall in the Light of Nightingale’s Analysis of the Victorian Country House.

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In Jane Eyre Bronte uses descriptions of the inside of Thornfield Hall to create a Gothic atmosphere in which Jane feels uncomfortable. The isolation and large uninhabited spaces of the manor remove it from the outside world. Strange entities and details as well as metaphor make the house seem unknown and plagued with the supernatural. It becomes a place stopped in time and detached from reality, in a way Thornfield Hall comes to represent Jane’s life. The first device Emily Bronte uses is a portrayal of the sense of large, cavernous rooms, mostly uninhabited. The first feeling we get of this is Jane moving to her room from the entrance, she walks up the ‘oak’ stairs and into ‘the long gallery’, it reminds her of the hollow vacancy of ‘a church’, using the description of ‘vault-like’. Thornfield is full of ‘wide halls, dark and spacious staircases and long cold galleries’ this makes it a lonely place with no sense of warmth. Later in the chapter and further into Thornfield there are more ‘long passages’ and ‘lofty ceilings’. Bronte then repeats the description of vault-like spaces, ‘the drawing room yonder feels like a vault’. Noticing the ‘pair of globes’ in the library she creates a feeling of endless space. ‘The large front rooms, I thought especially grand’ seem to create a barrier of emptiness to the outside wall, effectively distancing the rest of the house from outside. This sense of overwhelmingly large spaces within the house that are entirely unlived in invokes a feeling of sickness and disease, asking the reader to question why Thornfield is so empty. Bronte enhances the sense of the Gothic supernatural in this large empty house by describing things that she does not find familiar. ‘No dust, no canvas coverings: except that the air feels chilly, one would think they were inhabited daily’, typical for Jane would be to see dust in uninhabited rooms and for there to be coverings for the furniture yet in Thornfield everything is immaculate. Her only...
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