So far there have been two attempted murders in this book and lots of mayhem. When Mrs. Fairfax shows Jane the third floor, she describes it as like “a corridor in some Bluebeard’s castle.” In what ways do the plot, setting, and imagery of this novel seem gothic (at this point in your reading)? In what ways do they not? What elements does the plot have in common with the Bluebeard story? Why is that an appropriate backdrop for Jane Eyre?
There is a lot of secrecy happening in this novel. Mr. Rochester seems to be mysterious and full of secrets. Jane becomes very suspicious of Grace Pool’s role in the Thornfield Hall after she hears a laugh in the hall and finds Mr. Rochester’s room aflame; rumor has it that it is Grace Pool. Earlier when she had first arrived she questioned who else lived in the house who she hadn’t met yet, referring to the third story room. —- replied that no one lived there, but as the reader you don’t believe it. Another spooky, gothic aspect is when Mr. Rochester fools everyone as a gypsy. Mr. Rochester has hidden agendas with the way he talks to people, manipulates and gains affection with his words. These are qualities of darkness. Later that evening is the second attempt of murder by an unknown, mysterious source in the third floor. These are all huge red flags that something is not right in the Thornfield Hall.
The elements that line up so far with the Bluebeard story are that they are both about a secret room which no one is allowed to enter. A deep secret of the wealthy master’s is hidden in there and nothing good will come of anyone knowing that secret. This story is gothic and dark because of this huge secret that Mr. Rochester struggles with. We see the conflict he faces, the control he tries to have, his search for redemption and something pure (Jane), and it’s all very depressing.