Red Room

Charlotte Bronte's novel, Jane Eyre was published and written in 1847, in London. Earlier it was published under the name of 'Currer Bell'. It was because at that point of time women weren't provided with the liberty of writing a book. “Bell” was the surname of Bronte's sisters.

We can classify this novel into three genres- Romantic, Gothic and Bildungsroman. Although romantic and bildungsroman are the main genres included (prominent) in the novel, we see a little of the Gothic element also. And the Red Room is one of the major gothic elements discussed in the text.

Gothic is a Greek word which means “horror” or "supernatural", if we talk about gothic there is a conception that there would be a woman trapped inside a building or a room. She would be the victim and her savior would be a male member from the society or the house.

Here, 'red room' is a room at Gateshead Hall. Mr. Reed, the maternal uncle of Jane Eyre died in this room and his body was kept there till the funeral. Also, this is the room where Mrs. Reed keeps her important and secret documents and ornaments.

Mrs. Reed punishes Jane by locking her in that room when Jane vocalizes against John Reed, the son of Mrs. Reed.

Since this room is isolated nobody goes there unless it is something important. It gives the reader a picture of a desolate space, similar to gothic. Gothic has that sense of fear and supernatural in it.

Red room may also signify the onset of Jane's maturity into an adult. For example, the red room curtain and vision. It signifies Jane's entry into adulthood.

The red room also signifies the double marginalization of Jane because firstly, she is an orphan child, who is kind of imposed on Mrs. Reed by her husband and secondly because Jane is isolated from the outside world.

It signifies the entrapment of Jane's mind and her internal self which she isn't able to reflect. It also represents that there is a lot to come for Jane now.

Gothic was an important element during the Victorian, early 19th century. Although 'Jane Eyre' cannot be called as completely a gothic novel but it certainly has different events of gothic in it. One of the most certified gothic novels during that period was Frankenstein.

There are other supernatural elements in the novel also. For example, in the form of presence of Bertha Mason. Jane has a vision of her uncle and she is frightened when she sees her image in the mirror, in the red room. She finds it ghostly and calls for help and faints.

She remembers this incident at the red room again when her and Rochester’s marriage is interrupted with the introduction of the fact or truth that Rochester has a wife named Bertha Mason. These two are the only incidents in the novel where Jane Eyre faints.

Red room in the novel, provides us with that supernatural element and also entrapment of Jane’s internal mind who always fights for freedom and her spiritual and economic independence.