Jane Eyre Questions and Answers
by Charlotte Brontë

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Examine the function of Thornfield in Jane Eyre. What is the function of this setting, and are there any critical evaluations of this?

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When Jane Eyre is hired to work as a governess at Thornfield Hall, she is initially happy with the position, as it will put her seventy miles closer to London than the Lowood School. As she states:

I longed to go where there was life and movement.

However, while a much more comfortable setting than Lowood, Thornfield, ironically, represents stagnation and isolation:

I did not like re-entering Thornfield. To pass its threshold was to return to stagnation; to cross the silent hall, to ascend the darksome staircase, to seek my own lonely little room, and then to meet tranquil Mrs. Fairfax, and spend the long winter evening with her, and her only, was to quell wholly the faint excitement wakened by my walk,—to slip again over my faculties the viewless fetters of an uniform and too still existence; of an existence whose very privileges of security and ease I was becoming incapable of appreciating.

Thornfield symbolizes the patriarchal Victorian home as a warehouse, harem, or comfortable prison,...

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