Jane Eyre gothic theme GCSEWatch
How does Bronte use the gothic theme in Jane Eyre to emphasise the theme of secrecy and deception in the novel?
Bronte uses the theme of the supernatural to create an eerie and gothic atmosphere at Thornfield. Our first meeting with Mr Rochester takes place on the foggy moors, with the fearful “Gytrash” leading Mr Rochester to Jane, creates suspense around the male figure. The fog seems to cloud his appearance, as though he hides secrets beneath its cloak. Furthermore, the reference to Pilot as a “gytrash” creates a frightening appearance.
The secrecy the servants have, “doesn’t she know?”, indicates that Jane is unaware of a huge secret at Thornfield. The audience do not know what the secret is, but the servants mention how the mysterious Grace Poole earns far more than any of them. This leaves the reader to wonder what else she does to earn more money. In addition, Bronte leaves the readers on a constant cliffhanger for she creates a very mysterious and unnerving image of Grace Poole in their mind.
Moreover, using Grace Poole as a red herring, Bronte creates a plot twist when they discover that she is not the issue. The plot twist emphasises that the real secret is much worse than just Grace Poole. Therefore, Bronte uses the gothic scenery of Thornfield to create her “vampire” of a character- Bertha Mason.
Bronte uses language methods such as similes to describe Jane’s first impression of Bertha; “like some strange wild animal” dehumanise Bertha into a beast. This makes her seem even more unnatural and frightening. Furthermore, adjectives such as “bloated” and “growled” emphasise Bertha’s savagery. These add to the frightening gothic atmosphere as Jane stands at “the mouth of hell” to portray the secret as evil and dangerous.
Also, the theme of “bluebeards castle” adds to the gothic feel of the novel, and creates suspense of what Rochester is hiding in his attic. This is a metaphor for the story of Bluebeard who killed and hid his wives in his attic- Bronte does this to create a sense of horror an intrigue.
Furthermore, the relationship between Rochester and Jane is very unusual. For example, Jane is described as a “sprite” and an “elf” to show that she is not normal; this adds to the supernatural element of the book and Jane appears rather magical and special.