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'The Settings in Jane Eyre represent stages in the development of Jane's character'

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Introduction

'The settings in Jane Eyre represent stages in the development of Jane's character' How far do you agree with this claim? Discuss how Bronte uses setting in the novel and the impact it creates both on Jane and the reader. Bronte is a great believer in pathetic fallacy and throughout the novel we can see how the settings and the weather represent Jane's feelings and character. Even the names of the places she stays at can show this, for example, at Lowood she is at a low point in her life. The setting is also particularly important during the three proposals Jane receives and it represents how her life would be were she to accept, for example Rochester's first proposal takes place in a tempting orchard under a passionate sunset showing us that she would lead a passionate life of sin with Rochester were she to accept. However though the setting tells the reader a lot about what is happening in the book I don't feel that it shows Jane's developing character. However it is impossible to deny that we learn a lot through the settings that Bronte creates in Jane Eyre. The names themselves can show us a lot of what Jane's life and reaction will be to the place. ...read more.

Middle

The setting at Thornfield does admittedly represent Jane's growing happiness and independence and shows the development in Jane's character; however Lowood does not initially show us Jane's growth as a person because of its dismal surroundings and 'unhealthy' nature and her first descriptions of Lowood are of 'drizzling yellow fog' and 'brown decay'. Lowood is the first point when Jane has escaped from Mrs Reed and Gateshead and the setting is more obviously dismal than that of Gateshead implying that Lowood is worse. It is true that Bronte later on describes it as a 'pleasant site' of 'beautiful woodland'. This does not however dull completely our first impression of the place that is where Jane learns all the accomplishments that allow her to be independent in life. This could be representative of the snobbery of the time and the fact that many readers of the time may have felt this to be a bad decision because it meant that Jane lost her social position. Then again when Jane is wondering the moors Bronte describes the setting quite beautifully with 'romantic hills' and a 'sunny lea' and this description contradicts the fact that this represents the worst period in Jane's life that she 'can scarcely bear to review' it. ...read more.

Conclusion

for herself and declares herself 'equal' and independent, thereby showing Jane is still a strong and fiery character even though the surroundings suggest that she will be defeated she has developed as a person and can make her own decisions whilst also being controlled and reasonably polite, which she was not previously able to do at Gateshead, though she is unable to control herself in response to some statements such as when she tells St John 'I scorn your idea of love'. The setting of Jane's final proposal from Rochester I fell represents her future life and the reward she and Rochester are being given for all the hardships they have endured. The setting is open and pure. There is no sign of temptation or entrapment, Jane is completely free and in control. The fields are described as 'cheerful' and the sky is 'sparklingly blue' and the grass 'brilliantly green'. These beautiful descriptions show us that Jane has made the right decision and that nature is happy with her choice through the pathetic fallacy used. They also show us that she has managed to keep her character pure and untainted. We can see that Jane is truly happy and her definitive answer to Rochester's proposal shows how certain and comfortable she feels. ...read more.

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