The Fall of the House of Usher

The Ghosts, The Mad, and The Undead: A Search for Elements of Gothic Literature in Jane Eyre and “The Fall of the House of Usher” College

Charlotte Brontë and Edgar Allen Poe use elements of the gothic in Jane Eyre, and “The Fall of the House of Usher,” respectively, to provoke individual feelings of suspense and fear. As is common to the gothic tradition, both writers use choppy, action sentences to keep the reader just as on edge as the characters are. These instances often surround what the characters believe to be supernatural occurrences. Similarly, these works use gloomy settings, unreliable narrators, the color red, and madness to rouse an unsettling feeling in their reader that is common to gothic literature. Furthermore, these works of literature make similar statements on the role of women in the gothic. Poe sticks to a classic interpretation of the powerless female character who is oppressed, not only my men but by emotion. While Brontë’s main character, Jane Eyre, is a progressive portrayal of feminism for the time, the character who is oppressed the greatest is Bertha Mason. She is a statement for western colonialism and suffers from madness due to the imperialistic tendencies of Mr. Rochester. These works tell stories that are meant to incite troubling emotions in both the characters and the reader. They set up disturbing events by building suspense...

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