Gothic Style as a Representation of Women’s Fear and Anxieties in Austen’s Northanger Abbey and Bronte’s Jane Eyre 11th Grade
In both Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, the authors use the gothic style to represent fears or anxieties their female protagonists' lives. Both Jane Eyre and Catherine Morland suffer from gothic delusions when they are frightened or anxious about something (although, for Jane, the delusions are sometimes real). From ghosts in the Red Room to tyrannical murderers in the Abbey, Catherine and Jane's imaginations, accentuated by their heightened fear, these gothic scenes are holistic representations of the mental state of each of these women.
In Northanger Abbey, Catherine intentionally seeks out the gothic elements in her life. She imagines on her way to Bath that their carriage will be attacked, and is actually disappointed when they arrive without incident. Once they arrive in Bath, Isabella fuels Catherine’s over-active imagination by giving her gothic novels. Catherine is seeking out a gothic narrative in her life, not because of her fear or anxiety, but rather because she yearns for adventure and excitement. Catherine is able to use her imagination to twist everyday commonplace events into completely over-exaggerated gothic scenes (Glock 35). Catherine says, "Oh! I am delighted...
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