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Discuss how Charlotte Bronte uses setting to reflect the development of the character of Jane Eyre.

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Introduction

Jane Eyre Coursework Discuss how Charlotte Bronte uses setting to reflect the development of the character of Jane Eyre. During the course of this assignment, I will focus on Charlotte Bronte's method of using setting to reflect the development of Jane Eyre's character. I will comment on the symbolism of names, pathetic fallacies, imagery and themes. In the opening chapter Jane is at Gateshead, her step aunt Mrs Reed was keeping her as a promise to her late husband-Jane's uncle. The name 'Gateshead' has a lot of significance to it. As 'Gate' symbolises the feelings of being trapped, e.g. Red room. Also Jane says Mrs Reed as the gate because she didn't allow Jane much freedom until she sent her away to Lowood. The other half of the word 'head' could symbolise not only Jane's physical entrapment but in a psychological sense as well. In the beginning of the first chapter there is one of the many examples of a pathetic fallacy; reflection of Jane's mood in form of the weather. 'The cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so sombre'. The word 'sombre; means 'dark, especially in a dark or gloomy way' This word alone could set the tone of the chapter ahead. While staying at Gateshead, Jane's benefactress's house who was also her step aunt Jane had many restrictions as well as fears. One of these fears was of the 'red room'. This room was described as a seldom used room and only inhabited by the maid to keep it '...to clean a weeks worth of quiet dust'. ...read more.

Middle

As most governesses in them days were treated almost as servants, due to the importance of social class in the eighteenth century, social class is also one of the many themes throughout the book. Jane is told that her employer is not Mrs Fairfax but Mr Edward Rochester. She is not told much about him by Mrs Fairfax and is left wondering. Mrs Fairfax is a kind, hospitable and quite reserved in the sense that she is not one to elaborate on events, matters or people and is particularly solemn. Jane soon becomes comfortable with her and her pupil Adele Varens; Mr Rochester's ward. Jane describes Adele to have been a little quiet at first but soon warmed up to her. She enjoys teaching her as she feels Adele's eager to please trait inspiring and they both enjoy each others company. Mr Rochester soon visits Thornfield Hall and Jane evaluates him to be a 'changeful and abrupt' man. Her opinion of him soon changes as she begins to fall in love with him. One of the events that trigger their feelings for each other is the fire, in which during the night Jane saved his life. It was then where she became drawn to him and him to her. As their meetings became frequent, they grow to love each other unknowingly. The mood of the book begins to change and it is reflected in the weather '...skies so pure, suns so radiant'. When Jane begins to receive love from Rochester she feels so much happiness she feels as if she does not deserve it, as if it was a kind of fairytale. ...read more.

Conclusion

St. Johns ideas of religion were different to Helen Burns forbearing approach or Mr Brocklehurst's hypocrisy. St John ideology of religion was selfless but still ambitious. He felt his existence was for the sole purpose of serving God even if it conflicted with his or his surrounding friends and family's beliefs. Which made is idea of religion like Mr Brocklehurst's but not in the sense of how he sees it, but it proved just as destructive. At Moorhouse, Jane discovered relations she never had, which caused her more contentment than inheriting a large sum of money. Jane also realised that the grief caused in her life in the past was due to her being untrue to her beliefs and not following her heart as well as her mind. In total conclusion, all of the settings Jane Eyre was accustomed to throughout the book, were an addition to her development. In each place she learnt something about herself. From Gateshead to Moorhouse, it was only at Ferndean where she put into account who she was, in order to live a peaceful, undisturbed life with the man she loved. After leaving Moorhouse, Jane returned to Thornfield having heard Rochester call out to her, she returned only to find Thornfield hall in ruins. Not only did it kill Bertha Mason, but also the memories locked up inside the hall. Jane felt that now Bertha being gone symbolised her past to be forgotten. The memories that were burnt down left Jane with the experience of learning about herself. The end of the book, is Jane telling the reader that you do not as a woman have to sacrifice what you believe in, in order to be happy with a man who should respect your beliefs even if they aren't his. ...read more.

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