Charlotte Brontë invests gothic elements in Jane Eyre with a symbolic meaning to create a new, ‘female’ language. It is through this female Gothic language that Brontë creates a heroine whose autobiographical mode of writing is used to trace a story of female rebellion and search for identity. Although the use of gothic as the new ‘female’ language is a subversion of the predominant phallocentric language of the time, the need for a woman writer to make her assertions through the gothic, the symbolic and therefore the indirect implies that this new female gothic also represents the agency the woman and girl in 19th century Victorian England did not have. The romantic aspect of Gothic is used to reflect and rebel against this reality which is done from the Eurocentric perspective of a 19th century British woman.
IF YOU want classic theatre with an innovative and contemporary emphasis – look no further than the Old Laundry theatre Season and a one-woman show that celebrates gothic literature.
How successful is Dickens in his portrayal of women? Dickens has been represented (along with William Blake and D.H. Lawrence) as one who championed the life of the emotions often associated with the “feminine.” Yet some of his most important heroines are totally submissive and docile.