Jane Eyre – Setting.
In the novel, ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte, setting is used throughout the novel to illustrate the development in the character. The novel is revolved around five separate locations, ; the Reed family’s home at Gateshead, the wretched Lowood School, Rochester’s manor, Thornfield, the Rivers family’s home at Moor House, and Rochester’s rural retreat at Ferndean, these settings all play a very important part in Jane’s life as they all represent the development of Jane’s character and the different period’s of her eventful life.
We first see Jane; vulnerable and lonely at Gateshead, where the orphaned little girl resides with her bitter widowed aunt and her children. Jane is sent to the ‘Red Room’ for retaliating when her cousin, John Reed strikes her with a large book. When entering the haunting room, Jane is fixated by the grand, superior surroundings, Jane views every day objects as extraordinary beings, she visualizes a four poster bed as a ‘tabernacle’ and a arm chair as a ‘pale throne’ this gives us knowledge that Jane imagines the room as very almighty and religious.
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Jane then encounters herself upon the looking glass, while in the Red Room she does not see herself, but in fact a mere ‘stranger’ Jane then starts to see herself as an ‘imp’, ‘a tiny phantom’ this sets a supernatural aura, whilst letting us know that Jane imagines herself like a character in a storybook, furthermore this tells us that Jane is incredibly imaginative and passionate, the setting of the Red Room symbolizes Jane’s childhood, it reflects her passionate nature and the red tones of the room show Jane’s fear and her fiery personality, although Jane is terrified of the room, it sets her imagination wild and inspires her overactive imagination and introduces us to the theme if the supernatural. The setting of the Red Room is of vital importance to the novel as a whole, as it represents Jane’s character development. Soon after, Jane is drastically changed at Lowood School, when she meets a friend, Helen Burns; this recaps us of Jane’s passionate nature, but perhaps the most significant period of Jane’s life is when she embarks upon Thornfield Manor as a governess. One evening, few months after Jane’s arrival
Jane and Rochester officially meet at Thornfield, the day after his arrival, Rochester invites Jane for tea. His attitude towards Jane is abrupt and quite cold, although he is charmed by Jane’s drawings. Jane feels unusually comfortable around Rochester; his peculiar mannerisms make Jane feel at ease whilst she is very interested and intrigued by him. Rochester’s manners comfort Jane, as if he has been polite and eloquent, she would not have been so taken by his witty charm. As time passes by at Thornfield, Rochester’s respect for Jane increases, ‘I don’t wish to treat you like an inferior’ this tells us that he sees Jane as an equal, rather than a servant – he enjoys her company.
The pairs relationship soon develops due to their uncanny similarities – Rochester feels very comfortable around Jane, as does she, We know this by their conversation and talk of unconventional things, this makes them feel at ease with one another, even though they are both set in diverse social classes. , this tells us that Jane, since her arrival at Thornfield Jane feels happy and respected. The pair’s relationship is tested when Jane is woken by an eerie laugh from the hallway. She hears a door opening and hurries out of her room to discover smoke bellowing from Rochester’s room. Jane darts into his room and finds his bed and curtains in flames; Jane quickly floods the bed with water saving Rochester’s life. Rochester awakens and notices a panic-stricken Jane, by his side.
A half awake Rochester demands that the incident was a spell ‘In the name of all elves in Christendom, is that Jane Eyre? ‘What have you done with me, sorceress? ’ this yet again continues the idea of supernaturalism throughout their encounters. The scene ends with Rochester thanking Jane for rescuing him, and warns her not to inform anyone about the goings on of that night’s incident. Jane’s love for Thornfield and for Rochester grows along with her confidence; Thornfield comes to represent a happy period in Jane’s life. Jane finds courage to flirt and challenge the brooding lothario. Rochester teases Jane and holds flirtatious conversation with her, at one point he quizzes Jane ‘do you think me handsome? This is only an example of Rochester’s cheeky flair, however Jane does not remain mute, she defends herself against Rochester, ‘I don’t think, sir, you have the right to command me, merely because you are older than I. ’ This shows us that Rochester’s both emotional, and physical interest for Jane makes her feel valued. Jane soon begins to realize she is beginning to acquire feelings for Rochester and is upset he will be absent from Thornfield for several days to attend a party, Jane is furthermore disappointed when she finds out that he will be accompanied by Blanche Ingram, a beautiful lady – This clearly demonstrates Jane’s growing feelings for Rochester.