In the book we have three main sets in which the supernatural and other strange events happen. These are: •The Red Room in which Jane is locked up at the beginning of the book •Thornfield and its surrounding in which Jane learns about the mystery of Grace Poole •St John’s house where she hears Rochester’s voice
When we look at the setting of the Red Room, we instantly have to look at the colour psychology behind red. Red can represent danger, fear, and death so instantly we know that Jane is being sent to a room where evil lies, bad things will occur inside the room. Examples of this is when Jane believes she has seen the ghost of Mr Reed rise from the dead, “a light gleamed on the wall”, she is clearly afraid of the room since someone died in there, linking back to the colour association of death.
Thornfield hall has two settings, inside the castle and outside. Inside the castle is where all bad things happen, the “goblin” laughter at night, the fire in Rochester’s room, Mason’s attack etc. It is even the place where “one would almost say that, if there were a ghost, this would be its haunt”, We can see that Thornfield Hall is a cursed castle. Even Rochester himself feels threatened and hunted inside this dungeon, “come where there is some freshness…this house is a mere dungeon”, Rochester needs to find some light, he wants to get away from all his worries. On the other hand outside is where all good things happen. It is where Jane and Rochester admit their love for each other, where they meet for first time, etc.
St. John’s house is similar to the setting outside Thornfield hall. Many good events happen to Jane after she meets St John. She inherits a fortune, learns that he is a relative to her and, most importantly, she hears Rochester’s desperation to have her back.
An important element in the Gothic theme is the building up of mystery and suspense. Bronte is able to master suspense and tension throughout the novel by introducing new characters which we only find out more about them as the novel passes and by the way Jane behaves. In the Red Room for example, Jane describes it as a “a spare chamber, very seldom slept in: I might say never” by saying that no one has slept in this room it makes the reader ask themselves why and so the tension around Jane is increased as she reveals more and more secrets about the room, she makes the reader think that it is an evil room. She later describes it as the “room was chill, because it seldom had fire” we can associate the chill as being cold, a cold room meaning emotionless and dark, it lacks warmth meaning that it lacks security, you would not feel good in this room because of the temperature of it. You can also argue that this can reflect her emotions since she has no one to look up to, no one to take care of her and so she feels cold and insecure. She is unhappy and lacks the warmth of a loved one to comfort her.
As she spends more time inside the room, she begins to reveal the mysteries behind the room such as Mr Reed dying inside it nine years ago. This instantly increases the atmosphere of the room now that we have a supernatural presence inside. Jane is just a small child at that time and we need to look at the psychological view behind it. Children believe most of the stories that adults tell them and so she has been tormented by her Aunt that if she is a bad girl “God will punish her”, she thinks that inside that room a ghost or a demonical being will attack her in her dark. Darkness making everything more sinister since it is considered to be the home of evil. Bronte describes this supernatural presence around Jane by using the furniture inside the room, “the bed rose before me; to my right hand there was the high, dark wardrobe” Bronte makes the furniture look big so that Jane feels small and weak creating more tension within this room because it is a dangerous place for a child to be kept in since she could easily injure herself. Add the presence of the supernatural making the room feel even more insecure. Jane even describes the room as “no jail was ever more secure” she feels locked up in this place of evil and thinks she wont be able to get out.
To increase the dark atmosphere that is already inside the room, “twilight” begins to set in. Twilight is considered to be the place where there is neither darkness nor light therefore there is no sense of conscience and you don’t know what could happen, making Jane more terrified of the room because it would soon be night time and the dark atmosphere would increase. As night time settles, Jane begins to witness the supernatural she describes the event as: “a light gleamed on the wall. Was it, I asked myself, a ray from the moon penetrating some aperture in the blind? No moonlight was still, and this stirred….” she is clearly nervous of what is happening around her and is beginning to see supernatural events which are clearly lights from outside, also her use of short sentences shows the fear that she has inside now that she may be beginning to loose control over what she sees, she imagines what would be considered to be logical events if she was not scared.
Despite being called a romance instead of a gothic novel, you can argue that the chapter inside the Red Room is actually more Gothic Horror themed than A.Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho in the sense of tension and atmosphere. In pages 227-228 of Mysteries we are given the description of the Gothic ruined castle which Emily is sent to, nevertheless we are not given any signs of something supernatural or dark presence inside since we do not see Emily take any dramatic actions. Here in the Red Room we can gradually see the increase of terror within Jane as her sentences begin to shorten meaning that she is getting more nervous and how she begins to think about the ghost Mr Reed and the furniture begin taller than her, signs of the supernatural.
Thornfield Hall is different to the Red Rom since mystery is now built up around the story of Grace Poole and what happens in the third storey. For example at the beginning Thornfield hall is described as a modern, comfortable house, “admiring as I went; for all was well arranged and handsome”, but mystery is added when the third storey is explored, e.g. Mr Rochester refusing to do anything about Grace Poole despite all that is happening “I see you would ask why I keep such a woman in my house”, but we come to find out that the upper storey is all symbolic of Rochester’s dark past.
When Jane enters Thornfield we are given the feeling of a normal castle. But then we are introduced to the mystery of the third floor. We, as the reader, are given the first sign of something sinister lurking up there through Jane’s description of “these relics gave to the third storey of Thornfield Hall the aspect of the home of the past-a shrine of memory” and what Mrs Fairfax says that “if there were a ghost at Thornfield Hall, this would be its haunt”. The third storey is the opposite of the bottom two floors of Thornfield, instead of a comfortable house we get a sense of danger and disturb ness. Also we learn of Rochester’s past that they had been “rather a violent than a quiet race”. Some cultures, like Japanese, say that if a person is killed through an attack of pure anger or his wishes are not done in Earth, they would rise from the dead and seek revenge. If someone was killed in Thornfield, their ghost would still be inside this castle creating an atmosphere of suspense, and who? Creating mystery behind Rochester’s past.
Jane believes that Grace Poole is responsible for many of the mysterious events that occur at Thornfield Hall, thus creating mystery around Jane’s surroundings. Similar to the event that happened in the red room, many appearances of Grace’s event occur at night, where evil is supposed to occur. The first time she hears “Grace” laugh she describes it as a “demonic laugh” and a “goblin” telling us that what she is hearing is not human, its something evil meaning that Thornfield is cursed with a dammed soul, its not a safe place for anyone. Suspense begins to build when Jane begins to describe her surroundings using her senses: “I was amazed to perceive the air quite dim, as if filled with smoke: and, while looking to the right hand and left, to find where these blue wreaths issued, I became of a strong smell of burning”. The image the reader gets is that of a dark room with smoke, and then we begin to imagine a “strong smell of burning”. Something bad is happening and we question who did this? Does it have something to do with the goblin and demonic laughs? Was it Grace Poole? There are many questions raised but with no answers. After Jane saves Rochester, he begins to ask her questions such as if she saw anything when she came out, if she heard anything, etc. We must first wonder why he is asking those questions. What does he have to hide that he does not want Jane to see, although at the end we find out that person responsible for all the disaster is actually his crazy wife who is locked up in the third floor, we don’t know anything about her at this point and so we can only assume that he feels sympathy for Grace Poole since he is not willing to take her out of the house.
Another unusual event that happens at night is when Jane is summoned to the attic to aid Mr Mason. We first get an idea of how it felt at night as Jane describes “a shilling sound that ran from end to end of Thornfield hall. My pulse stopped: my heart stood still” By using signs of vitality such as the hearts and pulse stopping we know that she is feeling a presence of death and danger in that house. Mr Rochester later comes to ask for her assistance, but why her? Why not Mrs Fairfax? Is it linked with the fire that she was the only one who heard the noises? Once more we have a lot of question which we cannot yet answer. Then he asks her for a “sponge” and “volatile salts”, now these are two items which were used as first aid to help someone injured so we instantly know something bas has happened, then we must wonder if it’s linked to the appearance of Mr Mason. He also asks her if she “don’t turn sick at the sight of blood” here we have gothic language, blood symbolizing darkness that something terrible ahs happened and help is needed as fast as possible. She then sees Mr Mason, terribly injured. Rochester gives Jane instructions on what to do: “you will sponge the blood as I do when it returns” notice that he uses it to describe someone, dehumanising Grace Poole treating her as if she is a demon. He also tell Mason that it will “be the peril of your life if you speak to her” meaning that there is something hidden behind this attack. Notice that Jane is asked to do all of this without answers adding on to the mystery of the attack. Another thing that is interesting is that Mason also does as he is told; he does not speak, but why? This attack could jeopardize Rochester’s status yet he does nothing about it, adding on to more mystery.
Another aspect of the typical Gothic novel is that of an ancient prophecy. It’s hard to consider and write about past and present, and at the same time considering the future. In Jane Eyre we do not see an ancient prophecy in Thornfield Hall except that the “Rochester’s have been a rather violent than a quiet race” showing that there may be a sense of the supernatural inside the house. The same goes for the Red Room, although Jane tells us of Mr Reed’s ghost to rise from the dead, it is not a full prophecy since it is not supposed to happen. According to research “Prophecy in a broad sense, is the prediction of future events or the speaking of divine words (divine Revelation) through chosen human messengers (prophets).”I do not believe there is a prophecy to be fulfilled within the book initially because we do not know the past of Thornfield hall, there is no legend behind any of the events that occur, and because what happens between Jane and Rochester, such as falling in love, is the outcome of what they have been through together.
Although I find it hard to believe there is a prophecy, there are many inexplicable and supernatural events which occur throughout the novel. Once more the Red room, which I consider to be the most Gothic chapter of the novel, is filled with unusual events. We must first start with the fact, as described before, that it is a beautiful room, with “a bed supported on massive pillars of mahogany, hung with curtains of a deep red damask” yet it is unused showing that it is an isolated room and that something evil or supernatural, believed to be the ghost of Mr Reed, lurks inside it. The furniture itself gives an image of the supernatural haunting the room, she says there is “great looking-glass” now this may not appear to be much but if we look at it from a psychological view we have the idea of mirrors, an instant image of you but on ‘another side’, the idea of your soul being captured by an object. She says that in the glass she views her reflection as “the strange little figure there gazing at me with a white face and arms specking the gloom and glittering eyes of fear” She is scaring herself inside the room which could be an effect of the supernatural acting upon her. Jane is also paranoid about her uncle rising from the dead while she is inside the room to take revenge of the people that have failed to do as he wished when he died, “I began to recall what I had heard of dead men, troubled in tehir graves by the violation of their last wishes” she would appreciate him coming back to avenge her but she doesn’t want to see him rise while she is inside.
At Thornfield, many of the supernatural or inexplicable events are associated with the “laugh” that jane hears most nights. Notice that every time she hears the laugh she calls it “Demoniac, Goblin, It, Something, Devil, Thing” she dehumanizes the laugh and considers it to be a supernatural creature, demon, or a possessed person; this shows the dark nature of the book instead of a sweet romance. Jane then smells burning coming from Rochester’s room and sees “tongues of flames” around his bed. Another appearance of the supernatural, he couldn’t feel anything or sense the warmth of the fire and so this could have only been performed through dark arts. After waking him up, Jane informs him about what she has seen and “the step ascending to the third storey”, whatever supernatural creature is on Thornfield, it is finding refuge in the third storey which adds on to the mystery of the floor.
In chapter 20 more of the supernatural creature is described, though this time it begins to be given a form. Jane mentions that she had “to listen for the movements of the wild beast or fiend”, she instantly discards the possibility of being human because of the actions and noises she hears, it can only be a demon. The idea of the demon brings up the theme of life after death, that if you’re good you go to heaven and if you are bad you go to hell. Jane remembers that the Rochester’s were “rather a violent race” and so this could be the demon of one of them, or the demon of Grace Poole. Backing up the evidence of a demon presence in the house is Mason’s injuries, “This wound was not done with a knife; there have been teeth here”, showing some animal nature in the one responsible for the injuries. We know that it is in fact Rochester’s wife who is mentally sick but for a first tiem reader they would be shocked to read this and they too would think that there is a wild beast/demon roaming around the house, or even question the sanity of Grace Poole.
Mason also states that “She sucked the blood” Firstly he says she so the reader knows that it had to be Grace Poole and then he exclaims that his blood was sucked out. We begin to get the image of a vampire, a true demon, a creature of the night. At these times children were brought up to believe stories about these beings, Jane has been scared since childhood by her aunt and so she will be terrified of imagining Grace Poole as a vampire around the house. This would also explain why all mysterious and strange things happen at night, because vampires are nocturnal creatures, nevertheless could not be Grace Poole since Jane has met her already and it was in the morning which would lead to the conclusion that the vampire is not Grace Poole but another unknown identity. We see this image of the vampire once more the night before Jane’s wedding. A mysterious person comes into her room and destroys her wedding veil. She says that “The shape standing before me had never crossed my eyes within the precincts of Thornfield” we now get a new character that Jane had never seen before, she calls it “foul German Spectre-the vampire” we have received a link with Mason’s encounter and we know that this could be the person which has caused all the mischief at Thornfield and Grace Poole was just a scapegoat.
The last encounter of the Supernatural occurs at the House of St. Johns. Jane begins to hear the voice of Rochester cry “Jane! Jane! Jane!” even though he can’t find him he can hear his voice, as if there is a link. She can hear him because he needs her. This all goes back to their first encounter which is supposed to be a ‘fairytale’ meeting, they were supposed to meet, Jane being the girl needing help from a dominant male, Rochester.
The first time that we hear about Rochester is when Jane enters Thornfield Hall, at the beginning he is not present but we get a general idea of what he is like through Mrs. Fairfax’s description of him, “His character is unimpeachable…he has travelled a great deal…I dare say he is clever” we get an idea of a powerful wealthy man who is well respected by many. Since Jane falls in love for him we get a wilder description of him, when she meets him for the first time she describes his face as “a new picture introduced into the gallery of memory…firstly, because it was masculine, secondly because it was dark, strong and stern” and later in the novel when he touches her in the face, “ ‘Is that a dream?’ said he, placing it close to my eyes. He had a rounded, muscular, and vigorous hand as well as a long, strong arm” It is evident that it is the first time that Jane is close to a man because of her God-like descriptions of him as if he is the stuff dreams are made off, this shows the amount of respect that she hold for him and the desire to be with him forever. Additionally at the end of the novel she becomes dominant herself since she leaves St. Johns house for Rochester without anybody telling her, “I broke form St. Johns…My powers were in play and in force”, you can give credit for Rochester to have given Jane the strength she needed to make her own choices since they spend a lot of time together.
Rochester also feels as if he is meant to be Jane’s protector in life. In various occasions He calls himself “Her Shepherd” when he is talking to him about her dreams, he wants her to feel as if he is her guardian and without him she will be defenceless, he is her strong masculine figure. He tries to confort her also by using metonyms, to make her comfortable after the destruction of the wedding veil he puts her free of worries since it ‘is a lovely night”. He not only stands as her protector, he is the leader of Thornfield Hall. In the night that Mason is attacked, everyone wakes up in the middle night and he is the one that calms them down, “All’s right-all’s right”, everyone trusts him and if he is saying that everything is ok then they don’t have to worry about anything because he has everything under control, showing how people look up to him as a guardian.
Although people look up to him, most of the time his actions will only benefit him. For example the night that Jane is summoned to the attic, he tells Mason to forget the experience he has had, “ ‘I wish I could forget it’ was the answer, “You will when you are out of the country…” since we know that Mason was attacked by his sister, who is Rochester’s wife who is mentally ill, Rochester wants him to forget about it so that he doesn’t come back to cause any more trouble about her or tell anyone since everybody thinks Rochester is single. He also wants Mason out of the house before everyone awakes so that nobody know about the attack thus the secrecy of his wife is not exposed. Also he doesn’t want to Jane to know anything about Grace Poole or the mysterious events that occur at Thornfield Hall until after they “have been married a year and a day” because he knows that if she knows that he is already married then she would leave him and he would have an unhappy life, he does everything for his benefit.
Rochester is not the only male dominant figure in the book. Back in Jane’s childhood the young Reed also resembles the power of males in the house. When locked up, she screams “unjust, unjust” knowing that what she did was not her fault, yet she got blamed for it and suffers the consequence. This shows that her cousins only believe what the young Reed says, just as if a full grown man told them hat to do.
Throughout the book Jane is supposed to be the damsel in distress which is critical in the Gothic theme. The damsel in distress is the character in which we are supposed to feel sorry for in the novel, the character which usually has the worst experiences. We feel sorry for Jane since the beginning of the book when she is locked away in the Red Room as a young child. Notice that she asks “Why was I always suffering, always browbeaten, always accused, forever condemned?” the child is clearly suffering, her aunts have brought her to believe that everything is her fault and that even when she doesn’t do any harm she will still get the blame for it. She also believes that she is “condemned”, that she is stuck with her uncles forever and so will never get any justice in her life. It is hard to not feel sympathy for her at this stage firstly because she is a young girl and second because we know that she hasn’t done anything wrong and yet she is making herself suffer.
Although she suffers from guilt she also scares herself while she is inside the room. She strongly believes that Mr Reed will rise from the dead to avenge her for all the cruel things her aunt have done, yet she doesn’t want hi ghost to comfort her, “fearful lest any sign of violent grief might waken a preternatural voice to comfort me” so we cant just blame her aunts for scaring her, she is also scaring herself at the same time inside this room with all her superstitions. When her aunts open the door Jane quickly gets “hold of Bessie’s hand, and she did not snatch it from me” Jane believes that everything is alright since Bessie does not let go of her hand, but she is locked up again because her aunt and cousins believe that “She has screamed on purpose” so they are still making her experience more miserable than it already is even though she is begging for her life, “Oh aunt! Have pity! Forgive me!” this child is terrified to death from this room and her aunt is only traumatizing her more by keeping her locked in for longer. Gothic novels are supposed to shock people, and we usually feel the most shock when young children are tortured since they may live with those harmful experiences for the rest of their lives.
During the Victorian time, children were forced to believe about the spirits of the dead roaming in the world, we see this traditional culture when Jane sees Rochester’s horse approaching her for the first time, she “remembered certain of Bessie’s tales, wherein figured a North-of-England called a ‘Gytrash’; which, in the form of a horse, mule, or a large dog, haunted solitary ways, and sometimes came upon belated travellers, as this horse was now coming upon me”, Although she is grown up she still suffers from the fear of the ghost stories she was told at a young age and believes that now the fearful object, the spectre of the legend, is coming to get her. What is interesting is how she describes Rochester after their first meeting admits that she “felt no fear of him, but a little shyness” meaning that could be some sort of guardian or hero to her in the future; it can be portrayed as an Omen since they eventually marry each other. She also says later on that she wants to “hear his voice again, yet feared to meet his eye” showing that she needs him, probably because she might feel more secure around him or she feels stronger and braver with him.
During the night is where we see most of Jane’s fears come out. The setting of night time makes Thornfield more sinister and mysterious than it is in the morning so we are going to experience a different Thornfield, you could argue that Jane experiences the ‘true’ nature of Thornfield since most of Rochester’s past is exposed at night such as: •His mad wife roaming throughout the house
•Mason comes in and is viciously attacked
•At night he is almost killed
She reports that at nights “something gurgled and moaned” and wonders “Was That Grace Poole?” and “is she possessed with a devil” she strongly believes that what she is hearing at night, whether its Grace Poole or not, is definitely not human but a demon from hell and so she frequently refers to the laughter as ‘it’. When she is summoned into the attic she is left alone with Mason. Firstly she is left alone with a complete stranger to her, she does not know who he is and second he is extremely injured and is bleeding to death. She has no idea of what has happened and only hears him scream from time to time “the poor man groaned; he looked as if he dare not to move; fear, either of death or something else” she has not idea of what happened to this poor man and is scared that the “mocking demon’ that this to him will come back and attack her as well. Jane has the right to know what is going on in the strange house yet she does not ask about it adding more to the mystery and background of not only Thornfield but of Rochester himself.
The reader is led to think of Jane as the damsel in distress of the book not only because of the way she interacts with problems or with other characters, but also because how the others treat her. Rochester is always calling her “My pet lamb”, “mermaid”, etc and asks her “You wandered out of the fold to see your shepherd” (referring to himself) and “You don’t turn sick at the sight of blood” lie as if she’s inferior, the reader may ask himself why she wants to be with this man who thinks of himself as a superior being and underestimates women’s capacities. The answer is that at Victorian times women were treated the same way. Bronte wanted women to be as equal as men and the only way which she could accomplish her task was if men would realize how badly they treat them.
Although the storyline is what you would consider as romantic the language, however, is very dark sinister, Goth. When Rochester falls of his horse he addresses her as a ‘witch’, a person who wanted to do something bad on purpose to see others suffer. A witch is a practitioner of witchcraft which is considered to be supernatural or dark powers. Since they are part of the supernatural then they would be associated with the devil and evil. Grace Poole is another important character in the novel that is associated with the image of darkness and the supernatural. At first Jane dehumanizes her by calling her ‘it’ because of her ‘daemonic laugh” which she hears at night. This creates the impressions that house is cursed with demons that may be linked with the past of Rochester’s family. An even more gruesome image of ‘the demon’ is painted when we hear Mason speak of his attack. Jane describes “one arm, was almost soaked in blood” and “the wound was not done with a knife: there have been teeth here!” we imagine that whoever attacked Mason is not human because of the savage way in which he has been attacked, he even declares that “She worried me like a tigress”, he was attacked the same way a wild animal would attack, ripping its prey.
The last Gothic description we obtain is when Jane sees Rochester’s wife in the dark destroying her wedding veil. Remember that at this stage of the book we don’t know that Rochester has a wife so the introduction of this unknown identity increases the Gothic atmosphere around Thornfield now that we have this wild figure roaming about who is probably responsible for everything. First of all notice how Jane felt when the figure entered the room, “my blood crept cold through my veins”, this relates back to loneliness. Remember that she felt cold whilst she was locked up in the cold room so we have all those experiences coming back. Also feeling cold means that she experienced death itself, hell is sometimes referenced to an arctic wasteland. She begins to describe her face as “a discoloured face” again referencing back to being cold, death, and no emotions. “It was a savage face” relating back to Masons attack of a ‘savage beast’, she wishes she could “forget the roll of the red eyes and the fearful blackened inflation” al those words red eyes, fearful blackened inflation this are Gothic description representing death and the after life, what may happen, what you may look like. Even Rochester himself implies “Ghosts are usually pale” this is his own wife he is talking about! The image of tyrannical male, Gothic characteristics of an anti-hero. Jane continues describing the ‘spectre’ as: •“brow furrered”
•“lips swelled and dark”
This aren’t ordinary descriptions, she is describing a fearful person she describes it as a “vampire” going back to Mason attacks in which his wounds were done with teeth. If we focus on their ideas of what Jane might have seen that night, Rochester saying a ghost and Jane the vampire, thy are creatures which you would hear of in horror stories so we have this darkness building up. If we reference with Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’, the vampire controlled Harker so that he could accomplish his selfish needs and also he would turn people into vampires by biting them thus painting a fearful image. Jane may be afraid that this vampire might attack her. Jane also calls the image a ‘wraith’ which is a type of ghost of obscure origin.
Another way in which Bronte describes the Gothic atmosphere of the book is by using Jane’s surroundings. When left alone with Mason, she describes that there was a “dullness of horror” meaning there was a sense of danger in the room at the time. Bronte is very descriptive of all the noises such as metal “grating” in the keyhole, the noise echoes throught the whole room meaning that there is deadly silence within. She describes helping Mason as “wipe away the trickling gore” meaning of course cleaning all the blood around him but makes it more dramatic to show how brutal his attack was. There is also Juxtaposition as “at the top rose an ebon crucifix and a dying Christ”, she uses two different themes, that of death and the Christ meaning that this portion of the house is protected from all evil doing. She uses metonyms to show Jane’s feelings when outside. When explaining her dream the environment is described as “no glimpse of the blue sky” and she “was following the windings of a unknown road”. This symbolises that she is troubled even in her sleep by what she has seen in the house. We no longer see the idea that when you are at rest you are free of worries, now even when she is at rest she is still troubled. Outcome of what the strange events in the house have done to her.
Thornfield itself is a Gothic environment. Everything bad happens in there, attacks, injuries, inexplicable events, etc. Rochester even says “That house is a mere dungeon” because everything terrible which has happened, ultimately we know that his mad wife is inside which is what is destroying him the most. He wants to go outside, now if we pay close attention outside is where everything good happens, it is where they meet, where they propose to each other, etc. We can say that this man feels trapped inside Thornfield, that he is surrounded by darkness and wants light. Again we have this theme of light vs. darkness.
In my opinion the most important element a book must have to be considered Goth is that of Omens. Sign which can foretell the future whether it’s good or bad. The first Omen we receive is after Rochester and Jane meet in the field. Earlier I mentioned that this was a ‘fairytale’ meeting and Jane admits that “it was an accident of no moment, no romance, no interest in sense; yet it marked with a change one hour of a monotonous life”. They were supposed to meet, she was supposed to fall in love at first sight and they marry each other. The weather is another Omen of what is to happen to both of them. “The wind fell, for a second, round Thornfield: but far away… melancholy wail: it was sad to listen to, and I ran off again” The weather is showing that someone will move far away and yet return. There is also the Omen of the chestnut tree which “faced the wreck…it stood up, black and riven: the trunk split down the centre…the firm base and strong roots kept them” although it doesn’t seem as if it’s going to happen, the marriage of Jane and Rochester will fall apart (the trunk split in two) but their relationship will still remain strong and wont separate (the strong roots lifting the tree). The chestnut tree is familiar to the wedding veil omen in which Jane witnesses Rochester’s wife tearing up her veil meaning that the marriage will not go well, though I have another understanding of the Omen because I believe that this Omen also shows the death of Rochester’s wife. Since they are married, by the veil being broken means that the marriage between Rochester and his deceased wife will eventually end in a tragic way because the wedding veil was also “trampled”.
One of the most important omens is that of the fire in Rochester’s bed. This symbolizes his downfall, bad things are going to happen to him, and it can even mean death itself. In the future Rochester does have a downfall. Thornfield hall burns down and he is partially blinded. Ironically, is first wife dies in the fire, since she is the one that tried to burn Rochester in hi bed.
The Omens don’t just represent what will happen to Jane and Rochester, there are also omen of what will happen to Thornfield Hall. Outside Thornfield is described as “one mass of shadow” meaning that soon it will be a shadow of the past, Thornfield will be destroyed.
There are many attributes in Jane Eyre which can make the book be considered a Gothic novel. We can clearly see many of the elements such as a dominant male/anti-hero (Rochester), a damsel in distress (Jane), a mystery behind the household (laughing at night, Grace Poole), setting in a castle, Omen or visions of death (such as Rochester ebign se on fire or the wedding veil), reference to ghosts (Mr Reed, wraith) and the vocabulary used (“Grated” echoing sound of metal). Nevertheless I find it hard to believe that there is an ancient prophecy since everything believed such as Mr Reed’s ghost rising from the dead is just pure superstition. There is no doubt that the primary focus of Jane Eyre is to be a traditional romantic novel but the Gothic elements are used for various reasons. Bronte wanted rights for woman and by using the image of a tyrannical male who just underestimates women and tried to defy the law of marriage by being married twice, men would realize how to change their behaviour. I think this book has enough elements and chapters to be considered a Gothic text.