Jane Eyre as a Romantic Novel with Gothic Elements

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Jane Eyre is a novel written by Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855) in 1847, however, the novel was published under the pseudonym of Currer Bell. In addition, the novel could be considered as an autobiographical novel because Charlotte Brontë used his novel as a way she had to express all her repressed feelings. The novel belongs to the Victorian era, however, there are many elements in the novel that show signs of being a Romantic novel. In this essay, I am going to talk about the novel Jane Eyre as a Romantic novel.

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At first, the novel is a novel of development (bildungsroman), in which Jane Eyre is a totally innovative woman because she moves away from the stereotypes of women of the time, since she seeks independence and freedom, her own autonomy, in other words, she does not want to depend on any man, she only wants to be with a man if it is a true love. For example, she finds true love but not her own autonomy together with Rochester in Thornfield Hall, whilst she does not feel love towards St. John River but she has autonomy with him in Moor House. Therefore, after living in Moor House and being autonomous, she decides to return and she can get married with Rochester. The union between love and autonomy provides the perfect marriage.

Moreover, the independence Jane requires with Rochester is not provided at first because she found that Rochester is already married, so Jane would be considered his lover, so she decided to leave him and seek her own independence as a free woman.

In addition, religion has an important role in the novel. There are two characters that have religious attitudes and views, such as Mr Brocklehurst and St. John Rivers. They try to convey their ideas to Jane Eyre, but she remains mentally strong towards them, since she has her beliefs more clear, in addition to being very rebellious. The only company she has is God.

It is important to realize that there are some gothic elements in the novel that represent romanticism in its entirety. An example of this would be the scene in which Bertha Mason sets Rochester's bed on fire while he slept, but eventually Jane saves Rochester from the fire, as a sample of a Victorian heroine. Finally, there is a romantic element, nature, that is perfectly reflected in the novel. This element can be connected with the chestnut tree in the orchard, it is used as a foreshadowing of the inminent breakdown of the marriage of both Jane and Rochester.

To conclude, those romantic elements point out the idea that the novel shows how women, in this case, Jane Eyre, can achieve the autonomy they so much required, without taking into account the social class of each person or dependence on a man, so that women could become free and respected individually. 

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