The Use Of Settings In Jane Eyre By Charlotte Brontë

5232 words - 21 pages

The Use of Settings in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

In this essay, I will be examining three different locations used in
Charlotte Brontë’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

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. The room
gets cold and she sees a ball of light crossing the outside lawn. With
her mind overloaded with terrifying possibilities, she screams and
faints. Mrs. Reed comes in and calls Mr Lloyd, the apothecary to
examine Jane. Mr. Lloyd, a sensible and kind man, talks to her and
asks her if she would like to attend school. After some thought, Jane
decides she would. This decision was to change her life as her
education would reward her with her employment as a Governess at
Thornfield Hall.

Before I move on to discuss the uses of the setting, the red-room, I
would first like to explain how Brontë makes this scene such a
frightening sequence for the reader as well as for Jane. The sinister
way in which the red-room is described helps us understand just how
scared Jane was to actually faint.

One of the techniques used by the writer was to use first person
throughout the novel. It made the story more personal and intimate.
This was especially useful towards the red-room scene as we were made
to share Jane’s thoughts. This way we can empathise with her
experience, and to know what she was feeling. It is important that the
reader knows...

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