Gothicism in Jane Eyre
Gothicism in literature utilizes many elements. Many believe that in order to be considered a piece of gothic literature, the work needs to be dark and dreary, but this is not the case. In fact, gothicism is composed of both terror and romance. In Jane Eyre, gothic characteristics are portrayed through the ancient manor houses where the story takes place and terror.
The story of Jane Eyre begins in Gateshead, an old manor owned by Jane's Aunt, Mrs. Reed. This house is seasoned and has seen many people come and go. One in particular is Mr. Reed. He died in the 'Red Room'. This detail adds to the gothicism in this book, because not only is Gateshead, dark and mysterious, after the death of Mr. Reed, Jane sees an appiration of Mr. Reed in the room he died. Thornfield is another mysterious and remote house that Jane stays in.Thornfield is neither haunted nor a castle, but this huge, imposing house has a mysterious and threatening atmosphere. Jane grows to love the house as she loves its master, but parts of it are dark, chilly and gloomy: “the staircase window was high and latticed; both it and the long gallery into which the bedroom doors opened looked as if they belonged to a church rather than a house. A very chill and vault- like air pervaded the stairs and gallery, suggesting cheerless ideas of space and solitude” (chapter 11). Thornfield is also the home of mad Bertha, Rochester’s secret wife. She is kept locked in the attic, and both Jane and the reader are unaware of her presence there for some time. Jane describes the decoration of Thornfield Hall as dark, old, labored with the secrets and memories of the past. Immediately this sets Thornfield Hall off--the Gothic local of the old and mysterious castle or great manor, which has the potential to turn supernatural "strange, indeed, by the pallid gleam of moonlight." (pg. 92), as Jane herself says.
This introduction of the gothic trait, terror, is enforced by Jane's hearing of the...