Jane Eyre – Setting

Authors use different types of literary devices such as setting in their works to reveal theme. Setting can be described as the time and place in which an event occurs. It is a major factor in revealing plot and showing character development. The setting in The Grapes of Wrath allows the reader to see the poor conditions in the dust bowl that the Joad family was forced to live and the opportunities they had in California; however, they were unable to obtain them. Charlotte Bronte sets her story, Jane Eyre, in the 1840’s, a time often refereed to as the Victorian age.

By doing this, the reader can get a sense of how women are treated, and what responsibilities they were required to uphold in society. They rarely held important jobs if they were not married. Instead, they basically had two options either as a governess or a schoolteacher. If they were married they were mothers and hostesses for their husband’s parties. Jane was a very strong woman for her time, as she did not allow people to mistreat her. She is on a constant search for love and goes many places to find it.

As Jane travels through each place, starting at age ten in Gateshead Hall till she was nineteen in Ferndean, she matures as a result of the experiences that she has, which in turn allows her to become a strong woman. In the beginning of the novel, Jane, age ten, lives in Gateshead Hall, a house owned by her uncle. She lived with her Aunt Reed and her three children. Jane was treated as an outcast there because of her lower class background and the fact that her uncle loved her the most over his wife and children. This caused jealousy in the home.

I was a discord at Gateshead Hall; I was like nobody there” (47). In Gateshead Hall Jane was treated as a servant not as a member of their family. She was as an ugly person with a temper in a beautiful rich place. The only form of love that Jane possesses was the doll she slept with every night. Mrs. Reed, her aunt, was an evil woman who believes that she is superior. Jane did not accept her aunt’s superiority and she threw violent temper tantrums. “God will punish her: He might strike her in the midst of her tantrums” (45). Jane’s Aunt punished Jane for others wrong doing to her.

Jane was constantly reminded that she does not do anything to earn her keep, “No; you are less than a servant for you do nothing for your keep” (44). In Gateshead Hall Jane knew that she was not very lovable, and that she could not find love there. She was an unwanted child, and she was an outsider in her own home, the only home she ever knew. Jane was sent away from Gateshead Hall to a charity boarding school called Lowood. Mrs. Reed decides to send Jane there after the doctor, Mr. Lloyd, advised her that Jane should attend a boarding school to control her temper. However, despite the poor conditions, in Lowood, Jane began to feel accepted.

Miss. Temple, who runs the school, and Helen Burns, a fellow classmate, helped her become a stronger person. Helen taught her to not worry much about what others think of her. Lowood was a school formed to educate orphaned children. Jane described the people as plain because, compared to what she was used to, they, ” All with plain locks combed from their faces, not a curl visible; in brown dresses, made high, and surrounded by a narrow tucker about the throat” (79). The food was bad and did not smell much better, but, one day, Miss Temple took it upon herself to treat the girls to cheese and bread.

This was against school policy because the school was funded through charity and did not have a lot of money to support such expenses. Mr. Brocklehurst, the minister of Lowood, told Miss Temple that what she did was wrong and that the girls should not be spoiled. “You are aware that my plan in bringing up these girls, was not to accustom them to luxury and indulgence, but to render them, hardy, patient, and self-denying” (95). Helen befriended Jane and taught her who to react to different situations, such as when Mr. Brocklehust singled her out as being a liar.

Helen told her that people should judge her by her not by what Mr. Brocklehust said. She teaches Jane how to forgive people and their shortcomings. “Love your enemies; bless them that curse you; do good to them that hate you and despiteful use you. ” (69). Helen’s kind words gave her a new sense of being. “Then learn from me, not to judge by appearances” (88). This was the first time in Jane’s life that she felt the sense of being accepted: “I would not now have exchanged Lowood with all its privations, for Gateshead and its daily luxuries. 87).

Lowood also allowed Jane to mature into a young lady. She learned to paint and speak French. The skills that she learned in school allowed her to get a job as a governess. After she graduated at Lowood she worked at the school for two years before accepting a job as a governess. When Jane moved into Thornfield to work, she taught one student, Adele Varens, who wasn’t the daughter of the master of the house, but she was under the care of him. Mr. Rochester, the master of the house, did not live in the house he owned.

He was constantly traveling because staying in the house gave him bad memories of his dead father and brother. He didn’t have a good relationship with either of them and when his brother past away Thornfield was left to him because his did not have a will. Jane only knew of Mr. Rochester from Mrs. FairFax’s descriptions. Mrs. Fairfax described him as a person who kept to himself. She was happy and content in her new home, yet it has many mysteries that intrigue Jane.

“Thornfield was a fine old home, rather neglected of late years perhaps, but still it was a respectable place. 112). Jane finally met Mr. Rochester on Hay lane while she was on her way back from the post office. After the meeting with Mr. Rochester, Jane decided that she had a dull life at Thornfield, craving something different, richer and fuller. “I did not like re-entering Thornfield. I lingered at the gates. ” (132-133). Mr. Rochester allowed Jane to feel many different types of emotions without meaning to. After he announced his engagement to Blanche Ingram, Jane felt very jealous of her. Blanche was a high society woman with whom Jane knew she could not compare.

Jane’s jealousy of the engagement allowed her to experience love for the first time. It was after the announcement that she truly admitted that she loved Mr. Rochester. This home was a turning point in Jane’s life because it was the place that major maturing took place in Jane’s life. She finally was able to feel true love and be loved back, and the love that she had was true love. However, Jane’s love for Rochester was soon put on hold, when Mr. Rochester and Jane arrived at the wedding chapel. Their wedding was quickly broken up by the declaration that Mr.

Rochester was already married to Bertha Mason. Jane was faced with the decision to stay with him because she loved him and he loved her, or to leave because they could never be married. Rochester pleaded with Jane to make her stay, “I have no respect for myself when I think of that act! An agony of inward contempt masters me. I never loved. ” (344). She felt that Rochester hated his wife because she had gone insane. Jane decided that she must leave and set out to find a new home, “I must leave Adele and Thornfield. ” (342). Jane left Thornfield with only twenty shillings.

She decided to take a coach as far as her money could take her. After she ran out of money she ended up in the Moor House. The Moor House was owned by three siblings, St. John, Mary, and Diane Rivers. St. John was a minister at a parish in their village. Jane immediately moved in with them and worked as a teacher at the parish that John worked at. She enjoyed working there, but not as much as she enjoyed working at Adele, because she loved teaching French and painting. Jane’s relationship with St. John was strictly a working one.

She helped him learn hindostanee (Hindi) in order to prepare him for his new job as a missionary. He would later use this the language during his missionary work. He wanted Jane to marry him and become a missionary wife when he moved to India. He tried everything to persuade her to come. He told her that God planned this for her and that it was her duty to God to do this. Jane told him “He will never love me; but he shall approve me. He prizes me as a soldier would a good weapon. ” (405). St. John wants to marry Jane for love. The relationship that Jane had with St.

John was very different than the one that she has with Rochester. The two relationships are very confusing to Jane. It caused her to hear things. She was deciding whether she would she should go to India with him, and she heard Rochester calling her name. It was than that she knew that she must go back to him. Jane left Moor house for Thornfield immediately. When Jane arrived at Thornfield she saw that the house was in compleat ruins. After she inquired about the house she found out that Bertha had set the house on fire by lighting Janes old room on fire and jumped from the balcony.

She also found out that Mr. Rochester had moved into seclusion into a home called Ferndean after he had lost his ability to see and his hand. Jane went to see Rochester at a house that was buried deep in the forest, it was a home owned by his father used for hunting. It also was the place that Jane and Rochester were finally reunited. Janes return helped Rochester regain his vision and allowed them to be together. They decided to get married. “Reader, I married him” (498). Jane spent a lot of her time nursing Rochester back to health.

He regained vision in one of his eyes. This home was very different than the other ones that Jane lived in, it was the one that she was truly happy in. It wasnt a fancy home but a simple one. All in all setting helps to show the theme. By allowing Jane to go through so many different settings Bronte is showing the growth that she undergoes. This growth is from a temperamental young girl to a strong married woman. Setting is one of the key ingredients in making a novel. It helps the reader to understand the story and where the character is coming from.

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