Bronte's Use of the Gothic in Chapter 20 of Jane Eyre

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Discus Bronte's Use of the Gothic in Chapter 20 of Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre, although not a gothic novel in the traditional sense of the world, most definitely contains elements and symbols of a gothic nature. Chapter 20 is the culmination of all the gothic symbols reference throughout the book up until this chapter, and in it we see the use of the moon, blood, animalistic symbolism, religious themes, and the language used within the chapter.

Firstly, the moon. The moon is a predominant feature of this chapter of Jane Eyre, but also features throughout the book. The moon wakes Jane in chapter 20: “her glorious gaze roused me”, and this prepares Jane for the night that she will face. Underneath the moon, the supernatural themes of the chapter take place, and indeed Jane says “dawn was approaching... hope [was] revived.” The moon has a great place in gothic literature due to pathetic fallacy. The moon has long been associated with insanity and also with werewolves and vampires, two ideas that feature heavily in this chapter; furthermore, the moon is frequently used in rituals and spells, therefore giving it ties with magic and the occult. Its presence at the beginning of this chapter foreshadows the events to come throughout. However, another angle must also be considered on this: in chapter 27, Jane sees the moon as a “white human form” that whispered in her heart “my daughter, flee temptation”. Jane answers “Mother, I will”. Here the moon appears to Jane as a symbol of the matriarchal spirit. Although this idea does not necessarily fit with previous usages of the moon, it can also be argued that the moon guides Jane along her spiritual journey which takes her away from Rochester, but also leads her back to him: “The room was full of moonlight” when Jane heard a voice cry “Jane! Jane! Jane!”, and indeed- Rochester has called Jane's name to the moon, aware of its presence by a “vague luminous haze”. Interpreted in this respect, the moon's symbolism is twofold....
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