Essay, Research Paper
The Influence of Mysticism in Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights
The Bronte sisters can without doubt be called some of the greatest romantic writers of all times. Throughout their lives, they have greatly contributed to the English Literature and have written many timeless classics that reflect the lifestyle of the times, and the attitudes of the people. Emily and Charlotte Bronte’s style of writing, is a great example of romanticism, which was the popular writing style in the eighteen hundreds. The two novels that are considered their greatest masterpieces are Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. Throughout the two books, there are several recurring themes that stand out the most: The role of women in the society, the emergence of feminism, the importance of education, and the dominant influence of mysticism and superstition on people at the time. In this paper, I would first like to portray the influence of mysticism in the two novels, as well as to demonstrate how the everyday use of mysticism in their society is reflected in the writings of the Bronte sisters.
In the novel Jane Eyre, written by Charlotte Bronte, mysticism is one of the prevailing themes. One of the first occurrences of a mystical situation is when Jane gets locked up in the Red Room where her uncle had died. When it starts to get dark, she thinks that she sees her uncle’s face in the mirror, and becomes frightened thinking that he has come to get her. However, it is probably Jane’s own reflection, and because she’s a terrified little girl, she believes that it is really a ghost. In the novel Wuthering Heights, written by Emily Bronte, the mirror is also used to give a sense of the supernatural. When Catherine Earnshaw’s health fails and she’s on her deathbed, she thinks that she sees a face in the mirror, which she interprets as an omen of death. Once more, the face is probably her own reflection and because she’s sick and feverish, she thinks that she sees a ghost.
The other important example of the use of mysticism in Jane Eyre, occurs when Jane is away from Thornfield and living with her cousins. She’s about to make a decision to leave England, when she hears Mr. Rochester’s voice, calling her. That is most likely the figment of her imagination, however she considers it real enough and responds to the call of the voice. As it turns out later, Mr. Rochester, in turn, hears Jane’s response and accepts it as real. In the novel, Wuthering Heights, there’s a similar example. Heathcliff claims that ever since Catherine died, he has been hearing her voice. He claims that she has been talking to him and that her ghost visits him from the grave. Here, the influence of mysticism is a very important clue to the true nature of the characters. When Jane thinks that she hears Mr. Rochester’s voice and he hears her respond, the reader can determine that the bond between the two must be so strong as to transcend into the surreal. Also when Heathcliff tells us that he has been hearing Catherine’s voice we becomes aware to what extent Catherine’s death has affected Heathcliff, and begin to sympathize with him. Thus we come to the conclusion that the mention of mystical occurrences, plays a big part in the unfolding of the story.
One of the last major examples of mysticism…
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