Mystery and Suspense in Gothic Novels

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Gothic literature began and was very strong at the time of the Romantic Writers Movement. Gothic novels share common characteristics that contribute to the overall feeling of the novel. Most Gothic novels involve a setting that typically added mystery and suspense. The novel usually took place in a castle-like structure that was dark, scary, and isolated (Examine). In addition, the story enveloped omens or visions, supernatural or inexplicable events, overwrought emotion, women in distress, and a tyrannical male (Elements). Both Charlotte and Emily Bronte wrote gothic novels that used many of these characteristics, but their novels also transcended the boundaries of the genre. The novels Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre follow the gothic tradition in regards to setting, atmosphere, and supernatural events. However, both novels break from tradition in the matters of feminism and heroines. Both novels were influenced by gothic tradition because each novel incorporates characteristics specific to the gothic novels. The majority of Wuthering Heights takes place in the castle-like home of Wuthering Heights. It is damp, dark, and creepy which contributes to the overall gothic atmosphere of the novel. Just like Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre’s two main settings are Lowood School and Thornfield Hall; both of these places are described as dark, damp, cold, and mysterious. These traditional gothic settings in both novels force the reader to imagine and feel the gothic atmosphere.

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