Supernatural values and natural imagery are a major theme throughout Charlotte Bronte’s novel, Jane Eyre. This essay will examine the representation of natural and supernatural values that play an integral role in developing the story in Jane Eyre.
From the beginning of the novel, the main character, Jane encounters the supernatural. Charlotte Bronte uses both supernatural and gothic themes to enhance situations for the reader and to develop the characters. In particular natural imageries have been used to convey a human connection with the natural world and human nature (Franklin, 1995). Eyre portrays the intrinsic struggle between supernatural and the effects of nature. Branflinger and Thesing (2002) argue that Bronte used Gothic and the supernatural to explore and portray the darkest alleys of her own psyche which Bronte was deeply disturbed by (p309).
Matters regarding the supernatural are evident from the author’s life from the recordings in the “Roe Head Journal”. During 1836, Bronte became obsessed with the imaginary world and struggled to accept her vivid imagination around the Angrian world. She often wrote with her eyes closed and described what she could clearly see almost in a trance. Whilst she was having theses vivid visions she often became violently ill if interrupted. This demonstrates her extreme fascination with the supernatural world (p394). Nature is also employed to personify the parallels of the characters’ height of emotions in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Bronte saw a great change in England where wooded scenes of Yorkshire became overcrowded villages and cities. Mary Shelley also uses sublime, panoramic landscape at pivotal moments to show the characters intense feelings in the novel, Frankenstein. The moon is used by both authors to act as a maternal and constant guide to the main characters, Jane Eyre and Victor Frankenstein. The landscape settings set both novels supernatural situations.
Many factors contribute to the natural and supernatural world in Jane Eyre such as Jane’s intuition, dreams, the settings of the novel and landscapes. In the first chapter Jane is a child exhibiting her ignorance and naivety towards supernatural events. In a typical child-like manner she tends to act hysterically in situations. Bronte uses the supernatural to convey the change in Jane from the child who could not recognize her supernatural feelings into a mature independent woman who accepts the paranormal. However, Jane also identifies with nature as a child, evident in her enjoyment of the book, Beswick’s ‘History of British Birds’. As she reads some of the introduction pages, she enjoys them with enthusiasm enabling her to detach from her discontented life. Jane enjoys the intricate details of the book, paying attention to details of imagery of landscapes, “bleak shores” and the “vast sweep of the Arctic Zone”. The reading of this novel suggests that birds appear to be significant to Bronte, as she relates to them...