What if the Crimean War had gone on for longer than the three years it really had. What if time travel was possible and people were able to visit themselves and give warnings. What if it were possible to enter our novels and change the story. In real life, these are impossible, in Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair, these things occur everyday. The setting? England, 1985, in the midst of the Crimean War, where Shakespeare is fought over and England itself is a police state. All these affect deeply, how this novel influences the reader.
The setting greatly affects the novel and in the case of The Eyre Affair, it could almost define it. Set in 1985 England, where gangs fight over Shakespeare and people can enter books and interact with characters in well-known novels and even rewrite them, The Eyre Affair deals with an alternate universe. The setting switches from busy London, reflecting the title character's busy and harsh life as a Spec-Ops 27, literary detective, to Swindon, her hometown, where everything appears normal. Swindon reflects Thursday's calmer state of mind, when she meets up with her ex-boyfriend and finds that crime guru and previous professor, Hades has kidnapped her aunt and uncle. Next pursues her family into the novel, Jane Eyre. Jane Eyre provides Thursday with a sense of comfort, appearing when Hades shoots Thursday. Jane Eyre, also was the choice novel of Hades' to destroy first.
Of the many scenarios in the novel, each symbolizes something to the title character, Thursday Next. From Jane Eyre's safety and comfort to the busy and confusing London to the comfort of Swindon. Each stands for something in Thursday Next's life.