Jane Eyre – A British Literary Classic by Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, takes place in the late 18th and early 19th century in the countryside of England. Supernatural occurrences are a main theme in this mysterious love story. These supernatural occurrences take place throughout Jane’s life and can be connected to her eventual marriage.

After the death of her parents, Jane is left in the care of her uncle and his wife, the Reed’s. But the orphaned Jane is mistreated by her aunt, despite Mrs. Reed’s promise to her dying husband to rear and maintain Jane as one of her own. On one particular evening, Jane is unjustly banished to the very room where nine years prior Mr. Reed had breathed his last breath, on a tabernacle like bed. The cold and dark red room frightened Jane. Mysteriously, as warm thoughts of how kindly her uncle would have treated her if he were still alive, she is distracted by a white gleam of light on the wall. Could it be it a ray of light from the moon? A contortion of a child’s imagination? A ghostly visit from her uncle? Or, perhaps a vision prompted by one of Bessie’s, who is of Gypsy descent, evening stories? Whatever the nature of the premonition is, it shocked Jane into a state of unconsciousness.

In late adolescence, Jane is again influenced by one of Bessie’s haunting folktales, this time while walking in the solitary woods. An approaching horse reminds Jane of a North of England lone spirit called Gytrash. But the myth is broken when Jane notices the rider; Jane is charmed by the heroic gallantry of the rider who will later become her husband. Bronte’s portrayal of this mystical meeting between Jane and Edward Rochester seems haunting in the moonlit woods, yet romantic as the young Jane Eyre discovers her first feelings of attraction for a man. Rochester is testy in rejecting Jane’s offers of help and appears suspicious that Jane, who appears elflike to him in the gray woods, has hexed him and his fallen horse. Reluctantly, the injured Rochester leans on Jane’s shoulder for guidance and mounts back on his horse. No introductions are ever made and no names are exchanged.

As an adult, Jane experiences a strange phenomenon that ultimately reunites her with her estranged love, Rochester. After agreeing to marry St. John Rivers in a distant place called Marsh Glen, Jane hears an urgent and desperate voice call her name. Under the cover of a dark and moonlit night, Jane knows it is the voice of Rochester. Perhaps the spirits, which seem to follow Jane and guide her, are stirred by this proposed union. Perhaps the spirits of her uncle and dear friend Helen Burns have intervened to allow this psychic connection with Rochester. She responds to the voice with passion and with knowledge that she will soon be in the arms of her love. Jane attributes this occurrence not to superstition, not to witchcraft, but to a heaven sent miracle.

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