Election Day is November 3rd! Make sure your voice is heard
Main Ideas

Setting

Main Ideas Setting

Jane Eyre takes place in five settings: Gateshead Hall, Lowood School, Thornfield Hall, Moor House, and Ferndean. Each setting encompasses a different stage in Jane’s life. Gateshead, where the Reeds live and Jane spends her young childhood days, contains the terrifying red-room, the place in which she undergoes her first truly terrifying experience: a supposed encounter with her Uncle Reed’s ghost. Jane’s marked change from this encounter prompts Mrs. Reed to send her to Lowood School, a place filled with similarly oppressive circumstances. Brontë modeled the harsh conditions of Lowood School after an English school she attended with her sisters. Just like in the novel, students suffered from typhus and consumption. Scholars note that Mr. Brocklehurst’s doctrine of privation matches Evangelical doctrines popular in Victorian England, and many read this section as a critique of those branches of Protestantism. After Lowood, Jane moves on to Rochester’s Thornfield Hall, which has a frightening, ominous presence at night, and Brontë uses quite a few other Gothic elements, such as descriptions of the supernatural, to define the setting. Many Gothic novels explore anxieties around sexuality, and accordingly Thornfield is where Jane explores romantic passion with Rochester. Moor House and Ferndean have less developed physical significance, but important names. The word “moor” signifies a mooring, a place where something is docked. Moor House is where Jane receives her inheritance, granting her stability for once in her life. The “fern” in Ferndean symbolizes the new growth Jane and Rochester will experience there, and Jane confirms that she has spent the past ten blissful years there by Rochester’s side, as his wife and his equal.