In Jane Eyre, Jane is found moving from one physical setting to another. What is the significance of each setting and how does each effect Jane's character? (please supply quotes to prove the effect)
This is part of a term paper I need to write comparing my opinion on the setting in Jane Eyre to 4-6 literary critics I will find.
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There is a ton of literary criticism regarding "Jane Eyre" and the symbolism Bronte includes to mark Jane's journey through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.
Jane moves several times throughout the course of the novel, and all the settings are essential in Jane's psychological development.
I hope the information provided here will help you in finding your own interpretations of the different settings.
The settings are given appropriate names, which give clear indications as to what point in Jane's development they represent:
Gateshead: the beginning of Jane's journey
Lowood: a low point in Jane's life, but "wood" suggests stability or strength, which is ironic because of the conditions of the Lowood school.
Thornfield: This setting will prove to be a painful experience for Jane.
Marsh End: Marshland is typically sodden and soft; therefore, the end of the marsh would be firm ground, which is significant to Jane's development and finding her place in society. This setting could also mark the end of one type of journey for Jane.
Ferndean: Jane's final location. Here she begins her life with Rochester. What happens to their relationship is indicative of the place name: fern.
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