Jane Eyre Style, Form, and Literary Elements
by Charlotte Brontë

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Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Gateshead Hall

Gateshead Hall is the upper-middle class home of the Reed family. Gateshead Hall, identified only as located in “—shire,” England, is the home in which Jane spends the first ten years of her life with her aunt, Mrs. Reed, and her three cousins. It is here that Jane learns to take care of herself—training that prepares her for the hardships that are to follow during her years at an orphan asylum.

Two places in particular within Gateshead Hall play prominent roles in Jane’s life there. The window seat in which the reader first encounters Jane as she reads a book on the history of British birds is surrounded by thick red curtains and shelters her from both the cold, raw weather on the outside of the window and the cold, loveless environment of the Reed household on the other side of the curtain. Shortly after Jane leaves the womblike safety of the window seat, she is banished to the red room, her late uncle’s old bedroom, after being unjustly accused of fighting with her cousin John. It is from the unhappy atmosphere of Gateshead Hall that Jane acquires the strength of character to help her with the difficulties she must face in the future.

Lowton

Lowton is a fictional town near which the Lowood Orphan Asylum is located, some fifty miles from Gateshead Hall. This school is believed to be based in part on the Cowan Bridge School that Charlotte Brontë and her sisters attended as girls.

Lowood Orphan Asylum

After the incident of the red room, Mrs. Reed contacts Mr. Brocklehurst, treasurer of the Lowood Orphan Asylum, to arrange for Jane to live at the school permanently. Jane’s first year at Lowood, especially, is difficult because Mr. Brocklehurst forces the teachers and students to survive on inadequate nourishment and in harsh living conditions. By the spring of her first year at Lowood, typhoid fever ravages the school, resulting in an investigation of Brocklehurst’s methods and leading to vastly improved conditions for the inhabitants of Lowood.

Jane spends the next eight years at Lowood—six years as a student and two years as a teacher. Though her remaining years at Lowood are less difficult than the first, Jane still yearns for more from life. During her years at Lowood, Jane learns from her close friend, Helen Burns, and the superintendent of Lowood, Miss Temple, what it means to live life as a true Christian.

Millcote

Millcote is a fictional English village that is the location of Thornfield Hall, the home of Edward Fairfax Rochester. The village affords Jane the first glimpse of her new home after she leaves Lowood School and is also the scene of her near-marriage to Rochester.

Thornfield Hall

Thornfield Hall is the home of Rochester, his ward Adele, and the housekeeper Mrs. Fairfax. It is there that Jane begins to enjoy life for the first time. However, as the house’s name implies, the house is also a field of thorns, in which Jane learns the joys and pain of true love as well. Thornfield is a large upper-class estate with many rooms and an equal number of secrets. One secret that is kept from Jane and visitors to the estate is that on the upper floor of the mansion, Rochester is hiding Bertha, his legal wife, who has gone mad. After Jane’s arrival, the house transforms from a place nearly abandoned by its master to the scene of family tranquillity, parties, and Jane and Rochester’s growing love for each other. Later, however, it becomes a place of pain and regret that Jane must leave in secret in order to escape the prospect of love without the sanctity of marriage.

Whitcross

Whitcross is the fictional crossroads on the moors of northern England to which Jane flees from Rochester and the memories of their lost love. Left with no food, money, or clothes, Jane must beg for scraps of food and spends several nights sleeping outside.

Moor House

Moor House is the home of St. John, Diana, and Mary Rivers. Left with no other options, Jane finds herself outside Moor House, hoping to find food, lodging, and...

(The entire section is 3,891 words.)