Jane Eyre uses supernatural imagery, but not actual supernatural elements, in order to create a mood and tone of Gothic horror in the context of social realism.

Kyle W.
2/12/2013 11:33:25 pm

She was so scared of the Red Room, but nothing actually happened

Melanie M.
2/27/2013 05:56:34 am

Does it explicitly say that there was no ghost and it was pure imagination or was it real? How are you so sure nothing happened? And where (if it does). the book says "the room was chill" which is because there was hardly a fire in it. But also, coldness is one thing commonly associated with the Supernatural and ghostly activity.

2/12/2013 11:36:22 pm

Here we go...
"I agree that the supernatural and disturbing imagery utilyzed in Jane Eyre (i.e. when Jane is in the Red Room, in the death of Helen, and the burning of Mr Rochester's bed) are used to create a thick gothic atmosphere, and while social criticism of class and the condition of woman is present throughout the piece, the two literary elements don't exactly coincide. As in, I don't feel like Jane Eyre's Gothic thick scenes (or the ones that I've read thus far) really enhance her social criticism, instead scenes that utilyze said supernatural imagery are used to represent other themes, such as the red room scene representing guilt and alienation. Bronte's social criticisms are more present in her realist descriptions and dialogue with such characters as Mr Rochester and Mr Brocklehurst... IMO...myan...

Also; 'but not actual supernatural elements'

What do 'ACTUAL supernatural elements' entail? o.O"

2/12/2013 11:38:33 pm

Disregard my HORRIBLE grammar and spelling

Dani W.
2/23/2013 06:28:39 am

Agreed with the red room representing alienation; Jane remembers it shortly after being humiliated at Lowood, enforcing the red room as a symbol of isolation, as Mr. Brocklehurst had tried to isolate Jane. Also agreed with the Gothic/supernatural scenes not coinciding with social criticism; Jane had read many fantasy books as a child, and thus may be prone to an overactive imagination. She admits that if Mr.Reed did appear as a ghost, as "a haloed face, bending over me in strange pity" (pg.12) she would be terrified, and her thoughts of supernatural events soon bring her into a state of panic.

Jasmine T
2/13/2013 12:31:48 am

Agree, when she is in the red room, she thinks she see Mr. Reed's ghost. She thought that "Mr. Reed's spirit, harassed by the wrongs of his sister's child, might quit its abode...and rise before [her] in this chamber." (pg. 12) She thought he was coming back to help her. Also, the desciption and seclusion of Lowood add to the gothic tone of the book.

Adam C
2/13/2013 12:42:39 am

"Mr. Reed had been dead nine years: it was in this chamber he breathed his last; here he lay in state; hence his coffin was borne by the undertaker’s men; and, since that day, a sense of dreary consecration had guarded it from frequent intrusion."

Agree. The spooky vibes without a tangible event, assuming that the event in the red room was Jane's own fevered imagination,
offer an element of fear without taking away from the credibility and plausibility of Jane's story. Fear and uncertianty are much more effective when they're real.

Also its fiction Alex. Stuff happens.

Rubab T
2/13/2013 10:15:08 am

I agree that Jane uses supernatural imagery when she was in the red room she was trying to keep her mind going so she wouldn't think of being alone in the red room so she started to think about her uncle. "Mr Reed had been dead nine years here he lay in state"(Bronte). Jane started to think about her uncle that if he was still alive all this would not happen to her.

Lydia F.
2/19/2013 05:17:39 am

But it is not only in the red room that Jane references supernatural beings. Also when she first meets Mr. Rochester, when his horse falls on black ice, Jane describes Mr. Rochester's dog as "one [with] mask of Bessie's Gytrash-a lion-like creature with long hair and a huge head" (126). Although the Gytrash is not a ghost it is supernatural because it is a unknown mythical creature, which creates an even eerier setting.

Emily R.
2/19/2013 06:47:49 am

Agree, also when Rochester's wife comes into James room before her wedding Jane describes her as "of the foul German spectre- the Vampyre" pg 327 but eventually it is revealed that the woman is not supernatural, just mad.

Lucia E.
2/23/2013 02:56:27 am

Agree, Bronte uses a lot of imagery with the scenery and description of the red room and Thornfield top floor eeriness but this only use to distract the readers of the true events that is happening in Thornfield, and with the red room symbolize Jane's character as child, her anger, frustration and fear.

Nicholette U
2/28/2013 09:52:44 am

I disagree that it is only used to distract the readers. It helps to characterize Jane as a mentally delicate person as displayed by her chapter 26 soliloquy of thought, even as an adult. Also, it puts the points the author is trying to make about society in as grotesque a light as possible and makes them more impactful.

Rebecca P.
2/25/2013 01:06:16 pm

Jane does use quite a bit of descriptive details pertaining to the supernatural, but she does not use any real elements. For example, when she first meets Mr. Rochester she thinks what she hears is this mystical unknown creature; however, it turns out to be Rochester, his horse, and Pilot.

Ana E
2/26/2013 10:11:07 am

Agree. Jane does use supernatural imagery in the Red Room by describing it using eerie terms, but we also got a taste of the supernatural when we were introduced to the crazy woman in Rochester's attic.

Nathan M.
2/26/2013 01:44:00 pm

"Mr. Reed had been dead nine years: it was in this chamber he breathed his last; here he lay in state" (Bronte). The purpose of Jane being put in this death room is to reflect the social realism of women being in the shadow of men. After nine years of a man's presence-possibly still lingering- a woman is finally allowed in. This has been seen throughout history...civilization progresses at the rate of men and after the men establish their position, women are slowly allowed to follow in the men's shadows. The gothic feel is to show society how unjust and degrading this system is.

Kyle W.
2/26/2013 11:25:39 pm

I agree, in chapter 11, when jane is with Mrs. Fairfax, and doesnt expect an answer to Mrs. Fairfax's calling out the name Grace, a woman appears, discribed as "a woman of between thirty and forty; a set, square-made figure, red haired, and with a hard, plain face: any apparition less romantic or less ghostly could be scarcely concieved"

Kelly M.
2/27/2013 12:31:36 am

I would also like "actual supernatural elements" to be defined. Most of the supernatural occurances that Jane encounters, such as the Red Room and the vampiric crazy woman, seem to be happening in Jane's mind. They're used as descriptions. But does she actually encounter a ghost in the Red Room?

Maria k
2/27/2013 08:53:24 am

The supernatural elements in the book come from Janes own imagination. The purpose of the imagery is to foreshadow Jane's life as she grows up. This makes the Gothic tone in the novel as well as a mysterious tone.

Rachel W
2/27/2013 10:34:25 am

Agree.When Jane sees herself in the mirror as a child, she sees herself as unnatural and ghost-like. "All looked colder and darker in that visionary hollow than in reality: and the strange little figure there gazing at me, with a white face and arms specking the gloom, and glittering eyes of fear moving where all else was still, had the effect of a real spirit."

Rae G.
2/28/2013 10:07:33 am

I agree, everything that goes on at Thornfield is described a lot darker than it actually is when you think about it. Jane describes Grace Pool's laugh as this shrill super scary thing when there is actually nothing creepy about Grace. Most of the scary stuff in the novel is just described with creepier language, nothing scary actually happens.

Callie T.
2/28/2013 01:00:27 pm

Agree. The supernatural elements in the novel are created merely from Jane's own imagination. Bronte develops an eerie surrounding and overall tone through elements such as the Red Room and the insane woman in Rochester's attic.

Caleb J.
3/1/2013 06:33:04 am

I agree, Bronte uses supernatural imagrey to relate to janes imaginational fears and how they relate to other characters. As in chapter 2 when jane was locked in the red room she thought she saw her uncle's ghost and everyone thought she was crazy and just wanted attention. In chapter 26 jane meets Rochester's crazy wife, Bronte uses this imagry to relate to herself when she was younger as well as jane as a victorian woman

Graham G.
3/1/2013 09:30:36 am

Just for my edification, does the episode after Jane contemplates marrying St. John count as truly supernatural? The voice of her former fiancee "...did not come out of the air--nor from under the earth--nor from overhead. I had heard it--where, or whence, for ever impossible to know!... and it spoke in pain and woe, wildly, eerily, urgently." After all, it is later made known that Rochester experiences the exact situation at roughly the same time. Perhaps the two really did reach out to each other in a freaky, other-worldly manner.

Crissy T.
3/1/2013 09:40:44 am

Agree. While there is no actual proof that the figure from the red room was a real ghost or not, there are no other supernatural beings in the book. Throughout the novel there are many comparisons between actual people and places and fictional people and places. For example, when Jane first sees Bertha in her room, she describes her with purple skin and compares her to a vampire even though she is not a vampire.

M. Woodard
3/1/2013 12:30:54 pm

Agree. The red room incident was mostly used as a way to set up a paranormal phobia in Jane that is later exploited in Bertha Mason's character. It makes Bertha seem much more demonic than otherwise would have been if Jane had not of had such traumatizing experiences earlier in her life. It also adds in that Jane is not the quick-witted and dependent woman she typically viewed as and can actually become very weak and frightened.

Kristen S.
3/1/2013 01:36:52 pm

On page 167 and 168, the eerie mood is set when “...it seemed my chamber door was touched; as if fingers had swept the panels in groping a way along the dark gallery outside... I was chilled with fear.. [there] was a demoniac laugh- low, suppressed, and deep- uttered, as it seemed, at the very keyhole of my chamber door.” The imagery Brontë uses truly creates the idea of an apparition present, placing the reader directly with Jane in the frightful time she’s experiencing. The supernatural element was never seen nor presented, even though the fire was obviously real.

Alex Price
3/1/2013 01:49:40 pm

I feel bad for bringing up the Red Room incident like everyone else but I'm going to anyways. As a child Jane was convinced it was the ghost of Mr. Reed. The traumatic event, as we talked about in class, brought hesitance to seeing Jane as a completely credible narrator and showed her innocence and naive character. However, once she was old she seeked ways to justify this childhood experience with logic and reason. Regardless of what actually happened in the red room the ambiguity of the spiritual presence or lack there of adds to the mysteriousness and provides the gothic atmosphere throughout the novel.

Amanda C
3/1/2013 01:50:02 pm

The ghost in the Red room and Bertha are explainable events. In the red room, Jane was under great stress and in the dark and her fear had the best of her. Bertha was real, but nothing supernatural. All of which contributed to the gothic feel. The closest things to actual supernatural events were Jane’s dreams with children that consistently prelude bad things.


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    Online Discussion

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    February 2013