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Mystery and suspense in Bronte's novel Jane Eyre provides a crucial element to the readers interpretation of the novel, allowing Bronte to subtly aid the reader in foreboding coming events. Bronte successfully creates mystery and suspense in her novel through the use of both features of plot and narrative techniques. Bronte's features of plot which allow her to create mystery and suspense are the esoteric nature of Grace Poole, the visit of the fortune teller at Thornfield, and the fire in Rochester's bedroom and the subsequent mystery of what is in the attic. Bronte's narrative techniques are the use of literary symbolism and dreams, both of which are used to convey a Gothic and supernatural setting. Through the use of these literary devices, Jane Eyre becomes both cabalistic and prophetic.
Bronte's character Grace Poole is surrounded by a obscure haze from the readers first introduction to her, an effective device used in order to create a mysterious atmosphere in the novel. Jane first learns of the occult Grace Poole upon hearing her laugh upon being shown the attic by Mrs Fairfax. Bronte first creates an ambience of mystery through the initial description of the setting. The attic is described by Jane as being black as a vault (chapter 11, page 122) and the leading passageway as narrow, low, and dim (chapter 11, page 122).
Jane observes all the doors being shut, which allows the reader to interpret the third story of Thornfield as inaccessible and isolated, perhaps intentionally attempting to conceal something, much likened to Bluebeards castle (chapter 11, page 122) in which behind the locked doors was hidden the deadly secret of the castle. The laugh which Jane hears is described by Jane as being a curious laugh; distinct, formal, mirthless (chapter 11, page 122). The peculiarity of laugh, it not being cheerful nor delighted, perplexes Jane as well as the reader, this intimating that the origin of the laugh is not of the typical sort. Janes curiosity prompts her to ask of Mrs Fairfax the origin of the laugh. Mrs Fairfax's vague answer does not satisfy Jane, even less so after hearing the laugh once more, it being tragic, as preternatural a laugh as any I ever heard (chapter 11, page 123).
That another inquisitive remark made by Jane is again answered vaguely after which the subject of the conversation is soon changed only adds to the suspense of the incident. Following the fire in Rochester's bedroom, Jane observes Grace Poole the next day in the room. The circumstances in which this occurs are largely ordinary. It is morning and Grace is dressed in her usual attire, her expression showing nothing either of the paleness or desperation one would have expected to see marking the countenance of a woman who had attempted murder (chapter 16, page 176). The extreme ordinarily of her provokes the reader into thinking past her exterior appearance whilst simultaneously adding to the suspense of the situation. Bronte again uses the outwardly evident normalcy of Grace Poole in contrast to the earlier mysterious descriptions of her to further develop the suspense surrounding her character as Jane recounts to Rochester her dream of the unknown figure in her closet who tears her wedding veil.
Janes fear is momentarily subsided by Rochester's solving of the mystery (chapter 25, page 319) in a way which does not nearly satisfy the readers curiosity due to Janes vivid description of the event and her horrifying fear. Bronte uses Grace Poole to create an atmosphere of mystery and suspense through vivid descriptions of the ghostly atmosphere which emanates whenever she is present as well as a contrasting ordinarily which further compels the reader to see Grace Poole in light of a an enigmatic character (chapter 16, page 178). The use of a fortune teller at Thornfield by Bronte allows her to add mystery and suspense through the mystic and strange nature of fortune tellers of that time. Bronte initially establishes a suspenseful ambience through Janes remark; and the Sybil if Sybil she were (chapter 19, page 221) which suggests to the reader that her character is perhaps doubtful and she may not be who she at first seems.
The reader is made eager to hear the fortune of our heroine through Janes apathetic indifference as to whether it is read or not; I dont care about it, mother; but you may please yourself (chapter 19, page 221). Possibly the most mysterious and suspenseful feature of plot is the fortune tellers precisely accurate account of Janes predicament; You are cold, because you are alone: no contact strikes the fire from you that is in you. You are sick; because the best of feelings, the highest and the sweetest given to man, keeps far away from you. You are silly, because, suffer as you may, you will not beckon it to approach; nor will you stir one step to meet it where it awaits you. (chapter 19, page 222). This description of Janes circumstance both compels the reader to trust the source, it being rather accurate, whilst also creates suspense as to what shall become of Jane and Rochester, which the reader is well aware that such is what the fortune teller is alluding to. Upon her mention of the enigmatic Grace Poole, both Jane and the reader are startled.
The reader is again drawn into the abstruseness of the situation through the fortune tellers astounding knowledge of Janes habits, and even more so by her subtle but discernible quest for some sort of information, neither the reader nor Jane knowing what exactly it is she wants to hear, however this adds to the suspense in our desire to know. As the subject of Mr Rochester is brought up it seems as if the fortune teller has struck her chord. However it is with her revelation of his forthcoming marriage which more interests the reader. A climax of suspense and mystery is reached as Rochester steps out of his disguise.
Although it can be said that the divulgence of his identify somewhat solved the mystery, it is even more accurate to say that this revelation merely added to the mystery, his intended purpose still to be discovered. Rochester's apparent disturbance at the knowledge of Masons residence at Thornfield provokes the readers attention, creating suspense as to his purpose and coming events. Bronte leaves the reader ill at ease with Janes closing comment; the gay tones set my heart at ease (chapter 19, page 230). The reader is well aware that this will be no peaceful nights sleep. Bronte has successfully created tension and suspense as to the almost certainly tragic impending events. The fire in Rochester's bedroom not only forms a sense of mystery regarding The rest of the paper is available free of charge to our registered users.
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