The Importance of Setting in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre is the main character in the novel Jane Eyre, written by Charlotte Bronte. The story takes place in the mid 1800’s in a variety of settings. The first setting is Gateshead Hall, the second is Lowood School, the third is Thornfield Hall, followed by Moor House, and ending when Jane reaches Ferndean.
The first place Jane stays is Gateshead Hall. While at Gateshead, Jane is treated unfairly and is punished for things she did not do. After the death of Jane’s parents, her uncle, Mr. Reed, brought Jane into his house. On her uncle’s deathbed, Mrs. Reed promises to treat Jane like one of her own children. Jane’s aunt, Mrs. Reed, does not like Jane and has a very hard time doing this. She feels Jane was forced upon her family after the death of her parents. Against her husband’s request, Mrs. Reed does not treat Jane like a human being and is constantly criticizing and punishing her. In one example, Jane was keeping to herself and reading a book when her cousin John Reed decided to annoy her. John grabbed the book and threw it at her, knocking her down and cutting her on the head. This caused her to bleed and was very painful. Mrs. Reed then punished Jane by sending her into the red room, the room that her uncle died in, for the entire night. While in the red room, Jane became terrified and thought she saw or heard the flapping of wings. The treatment Jane received caused her to become bitter and to truly dislike Mrs. Reed.
Jane then goes on to live at Lowood School. While at Lowood, Jane meets a young girl named Helen Burns. Helen taught Jane many things about life and religion. Jane recalls a time when Helen was scolded for not cleaning her nails or washing her face. Mrs. Scatherd, throwing out the fact that the water was frozen, proceeded to punish Helen by smacking her on the back of the neck with a bundle of twigs. Jane was amazed at Helen’s ability to accept the punishment, even though it was not Helen’s fault. Jane then asked Helen if she wanted to leave Lowood. Helen tells her no because she was sent to get an education. This shows how mature, intelligent, and religious Helen is and how she tries to teach Jane this. Mr. Brocklehurst was visiting the school one day, and during his visit he criticized and scolded Miss. Temple for feeding the children extra food. During his tirade, Jane dropped her slate and immediately was called up by Mr. Brocklehurst. Mr. Brocklehurst called Jane a liar and told all the teachers to watch her actions and punish her body in order to save her soul. This made Jane feel horrible, but Helen consoled her, and she soon felt better. These events at Lowood twisted and pulled Jane’s emotions, and with the help of Helen Burns, Jane was able to realize what it meant to be a good and loving person.
Jane then proceeded on to Thornfield Hall. At Thornfield Hall, Jane became the...