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How Does Charlotte Brontë Use Setting To Convey The Experiences Of Her Characters? Charlotte Brontë wrote the novel "Jane Eyre" and had it published in 1847. The novel illustrates how the main character, Jane, is unwanted throughout her life as a child and how happy she becomes once she finally finds someone who wants her. Brontë then splits Jane from her one true love and Jane's life falls into the depths of misery once more, though, eventually Jane is reunited with her love, and their lives become complete once more. Brontë employs many literary techniques in her writing to create the atmosphere and the setting in which these events happen. Within the first few chapters of the novel, the reader learns of Jane's experiences as an unwanted child in her uncle's family, "...keep me at a distance..." Mrs Reed doesn't want Jane anywhere near her own children, as if Jane could contaminate them, "...only contented, happy little children..." Jane does not let herself get upset by this rejection, but simply hides herself away in a small room, close by the rest of the family. Jane shuts herself between the window and the heavy red curtains on the window seat, "...the glass, protecting but not separating..." Jane has chosen to sit herself here as she feels protected from the un-friendly family but not separated from the things she craves the most; love and warmth.
Throughout the novel, there is a distinct pattern of a fireplace, candle or fire, near or connected to one of Jane's loved ones, or Jane herself. When Jane is sent away to school, the fire warms and connects the girls "...warmed numbed fingers..." the fire also symbolises Jane being thawed out after life with the Reeds. "...there was no candle..." again Brontë foreshadows Jane;s uncertain future, within the school and also in later life. Whilst at Lowood, Jane has many encounters with Mr Brocklehurst, "...standing on the hearth with his hands behind his back, surveyed the whole school..." a cold man, who not only turns away from the fire but also denies the girls the warmth, and therefore love of a family. As Jane moves away from teaching at Lowood, after being educated there as well, she meets Mrs Fairfax at Thornfield, "...the double illumination of the fire and candle..." Brontë links the fire to the love, friendship and warmth of Mrs Fairfax. To a reader, the flame of the candle is the clear foreshadowing of the flicker of love and friendship between Jane and Mr Rochester. Later in the novel it comes to be clear that Rochester will simply not be satisfied with the friendship of Jane, "... the fire and the chandelier are not sufficient..." Rochester wants Jane's warmth, friendship and unstinting love.
Whereas St John proposes marriage to Jane almost as if he thinks she will never manage to find any other man who would marry her. He first suggests that she visit India with him, as a fellow missionary, then thinking of the scandal that this would cause, suggests a marriage. "...what does your heart say?...my heart is mute - my heart is mute..." Jane says this as an attempt to let St John down gently. She will never marry him as she knows she does not love him as much as she could ever love Mr Rochester. Mr Rochester is evidently comfortable with Jane; he feels able to tease her, and she reacts to his teasing, "...my bride is here, because my equal is with my likeness..." Jane and Mr Rochester feel equal, even though Jane is a lowly governess and Mr Rochester is the master of Thornfield Hall. St John on the other hand, feels that Jane has lower intellect than himself, so he feels compelled to teach her many different things to prepare for their life together in India, which Jane knows will never happen. Brontë makes theses proposals as different as is physically possible to emphasise the difference in how Jane feels towards both these men. Charlotte Brontë's novel, Jane Eyre, has become a timeless classic. Due to its extremely descriptive writing and its easy to relate to situations, any reader from any country in any period of time can understand the whole story and enjoy reading it.
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