The Importance of Settings in the Novel Jane Eyre

Topics: Jane Eyre, Fiction, Novel Pages: 3 (1004 words) Published: March 5, 2014
“The four settings in the novel reflect the four stages in Jane’s life”. In light of this comment, discuss in the importance of settings in Jane Eyre

Setting is an essential feature of Jane Eyre, and a key method in which Bronte constructs bildungsroman throughout the novel, showing Jane’s progression. The names alone of the four settings give us a significant insight and foreshadowing of what Jane’s future holds for her. For example Gateshead may suggest a barrier which she can’t go through or maybe an entrance to the next part of her life, also possibly suggesting this is when her depression and misery is at its pinnacle. Throughout the novel it appears that setting seems to embody Jane and is a unique method in which the reader can interpret emotions that Jane may not necessarily being put forth.

At Gateshead, a common technique Bronte uses to reflect change is through pathetic fallacy, the fact that Jane claims that it was “far too cold” to go outside creates a sense of negativity but also introduces the theme contrast where the rest of the Reed family is huddled around the “warmth” of the fire. This juxtaposition representing the division between Jane and the rest of the family and putting significance on the fact that she is isolated and how alien this would be for most children. However Bronte’s representation of setting isn’t always literal, this description may also be a criticism of Jane’s attitude at this moment in time. The cold may represent her bitterness and resentment, but also the effect that she has on other people – something which goes out of its way to make you feel uncomfortable. The setting itself reflects her childhood in the way that someone would imagine the life of an orphan to be, however Gateshead seems to be quite representative of Jane, especially its isolation and segregation from the outside world.

The techniques when Jane moves on to the second stage of her life used by Bronte seem to be for the most part the same,...
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