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I will be examining three different locations used in Charlotte Bront's novel 'Jane Eyre' and discussing their uses towards the story. The three settings I am to consider are the red-room at Gateshead Hall, Lowood Institution where Jane attends school

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Introduction

The Use of Settings in 'Jane Eyre' By Charlotte Bront� In this essay, I will be examining three different locations used in Charlotte Bront�'s novel 'Jane Eyre' and discussing their uses towards the story. The three settings I am to consider are the red-room at Gateshead Hall, Lowood Institution where Jane attends school, and Jane's first sight at Thornfield Hall; the house in which she becomes employed as a Governess. The first setting I am going to discuss is the red-room at Gateshead Hall. Gateshead is the house in which Jane lives as a child after both her parents die. Jane is sent there to live with her Uncle and his family. Her Uncle dies shortly after her arrival and so she is left with her wicked Aunt Reed and her three cousins. Jane is sent to the red-room as a punishment, following an incident where John throws a book at her and she retaliates as he continues to physically bully her. The room itself is described: 'Square chamber, very seldom slept in' and this room happens to be 'one of the largest and stateliest chambers in the mansion' The room is non-surprisingly dominated with the colour red. The furniture is made from deep polished mahogany, the walls were a 'soft fawn colour with a blush of pink in it' and the curtains draped around the four-poster bed were red. We soon find out that this room was in fact the room where Uncle Reed had died. 'It was in this chamber he had breathed his last; here he lay in state; hence his coffin was borne by the undertaker's men; and, since that day, a sense of dreary consecration had guarded it from frequent intrusion' Jane becomes extremely frightened by the whole sinister atmosphere of the room, and worsens her state of mind with the thoughts of ghosts and spirits. Even her own reflection the mirror scares her. ...read more.

Middle

Furthermore on a more general note, a large amount of bravery is needed from Jane just for her to be able to stand the awful conditions at Lowood. Another instance of her astounding endurance is when she first arrives at Lowood and she is made to stand up on a chair to be introduced to the pupils as a 'liar' ' "My dear children," pursued the black marble clergyman, with pathos, "this is a sad, a melancholy occasion; for it becomes my duty to warn you, that this girl, who might be one of God's own lambs, is a little castaway; not a member of the true flock, but evidently an interloper and an alien" She tolerates this unfair treatment, even though she has already received her punishment by Aunt Reed prior to her arrival, and that her punishment is now continuing at school. We also discover several new aspects of Jane's character. For instance; Jane approaches Helen for the first time and asks her about her book ' "Is your book interesting?" I had already formed the intention of asking her to lend it to me some day. "I like it," after a pause of a second or two, during which she examined me' This proves that Jane can be extremely friendly and affectionate when given the chance, and the fact that she was never really given such opportunities whilst at Gateshead meant that we never actually saw such qualities. Moreover, we find Jane to be sympathetic towards the girls, regarding their appearance and health. She even finds sympathy for the teachers. 'And Miss Miller, poor thing! Looking purple and weather beaten, and overworked' Also from this, we gather that she isn't so much preoccupied with her own health, that she cares about others around her. A further function given by the setting is that we learn a lot more about relationships. In this section we see a rather different side of relationships, a more pleasant side. ...read more.

Conclusion

For example, the name 'the red-room'- a gloomy and confining place may have been used to signify anger and pain. And, Lowood Institution suggests two sides to Jane's time at the school, low times, examples being Helen's death and Mr.Brocklehurst's cruelty. But on the brighter side, 'wood' could be construed as a place of growth, nature and renewing life, a great opportunity for Jane to grow into a strong independent woman. Finally the name 'Thornfield' holds the word 'field' which may foretell a vast life of openness, lush and colourful. One the other hand, the name could be read as a prediction for a life full of snags, and setbacks - Mr.Rochester's betrayal. Concluding this essay- I felt that Bront� made excellent use of the three settings incorporated into the novel. She used a wide range of techniques in order to illustrate Jane's story more colourfully to us- whilst making use of relationships to help us gain a better idea of her personality, thus gaining the reader's empathy for Jane. Bront� used these three setting as major turning points in Jane's life, and without them, the story would be entirely different. They keep the reader interested, not only in the story, but also in Jane. The reader grows to love Jane as a strong and brave character and I enjoyed seeing how she managed to cope with such difficult situations. I thought it was interesting to find out that when Bront� first published the book 'Jane Eyre', she was not permitted to publish under her female name. She had to create a male name for herself. I think it's a shame that Bront� was not given credit as the true author, but thankfully the system has changed now, although you may have noticed that the policy has not been completely abolished. Joanne Rowling, author of Harry Potter, had her name initialised to J.K Rowling, as not to deter male readers from reading it. All in all, I really enjoyed reading and analysing Charlotte Bront�'s infamous novel, 'Jane Eyre'. ...read more.

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