Week 8: Midwestern Gothic Horror Is Peak Horror Aesthetic
(I haven’t had time to make any personal art at all recently since I’ve been busy with this project and my new job, so this is a watercolor from like 2 years ago)
I can’t believe I’m already on the second-to-last illustration in this project. There’s a pretty big time skip between the previous one and this one, so let me catch you all up.
In Which Rochester Tries to Commit Polygamy
As of last time, Rochester had proposed to Jane, she had accepted, and they decided to get married. They were already at the altar when a guy burst into the church and exposed an awful secret: Rochester already had a wife, whom he had been hiding away in his castle.
See, Rochester had been forced into an arranged marriage by his father. His wife, Bertha Mason, came from a wealthy family — but she was crazy. Rochester kept her locked in a tower in Thornfield and didn’t consider her to be his wife, but they were married by law. This meant that Jane and Rochester’s wedding was a sham since polyamory was not exactly legal in 19th-century England.
Rochester still isn’t giving up, so he suggests again that Jane stay with him as his mistress. But Jane is again appalled. This time, she decides that she must leave Thornfield to seek a life independent from Rochester.
Enter the Second Male Lead
So she slips away in the night and begins to wander around, homeless. Eventually, she’s about to pass out from hunger and weariness when she stumbles upon the church of St. John Rivers. St. John takes her in and nurses her back to health.
Jane lives with them for a while, during which St. John decides that she would be a good wife for a missionary like himself. He proposes to her, saying that though he doesn’t really love her, they both have a duty to God and should thus form a union and continue spreading his teachings.
Again, Jane is appalled at the thought of a loveless marriage. But St. John is really persuasive and keeps pressuring her until she almost caves. But in the critical moment that she’s about to accept his proposal, Jane hallucinates hearing Rochester call her name. She runs out of the door of the house and looks wildly around for him. Which is the scene I illustrated:
I was really happy with the composition I came up with for this piece. Doesn’t it read like a shot from a midwestern gothic horror movie? That’s all for this week, and I’ll see you next time with the fifth and final illustration of this series!
Sources & References:
- Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. Signet Classics, 1962.