This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by professional essay writers.

Individual Against Environment: Importance of Setting in Jane Eyre

downloadDownload printPrint

Remember! This is just a sample.

You can get your custom paper by one of our expert writers.

Get custom essay

121 writers online

Individual Against Environment: Importance of Setting in Jane Eyre essay
Download PDF

Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre opens at dreary Gateshead Hall, where the orphaned title character is compelled to live with her wealthy aunt. Here the young Jane appears reserved and unusual, a girl who says she can be “happy at least in my way” (9), implying that her brand of happiness is different than the traditional, and whom the reader does not yet understand. As the novel goes on, Jane migrates to a series of locations that help develop her true character. The settings of Gateshead, Lowood, Thornfield, Moor House, and finally Ferndean Manor shape Jane and eventually give rise to her true independence.

Bronte opens the novel in Gateshead Hall, where Jane’s aunt, Mrs. Reed, imprisons Jane temporarily in the manor’s “Red Room.” The description of this room is more detailed than of any other at Gateshead: “This room was chill, because it seldom had a fire; it was silent, because remote from the nursery and kitchens; solemn, because it was known to be so seldom entered” (14). The room is like Jane’s personality at this point in the novel – isolated and morose. Jane’s distance from her family members, humorless existence, and cold attitude toward Mrs. Reed when she finally confronts her are qualities that reflect her surroundings.

When Jane migrates to Lowood she leaves childhood behind. Initially she remains isolated at Lowood, but the description of the place and her reaction to it are not so gloomy: “…The building spread far.—with many windows, and lights burning in some; we went up a broad, pebbly path, splashing wet, and were admitted at a door; then the servant led me through a passage into a room with a fire, where she left me alone” (42). Though left alone in a foreign place, Jane accepts the solitude without fear – a sign of maturity. Conditions at Lowood are poor and daily life tightly structured, and Jane is able to conform to her surroundings because she does not yet have a clear self identity. We have seen only glimmers of her tough, independent character by this point, as when she confronts Mrs. Reed.

At Lowood, Jane meets her first real friend, Helen Burns. While Jane is still impulsive and short-tempered, Helen is patient and accepting, with strong morals and religious conviction. For example, Jane comments fiercely on the way a certain teacher punished Helen: “And if I were in your place I should dislike her: I should resist her; if she struck me with that rod, I should get it from her hand; I should break it under her nose” (55). Helen replies calmly to Jane’s outburst: “It is far better to endure patiently a smart which nobody feels but yourself, than to commit a hasty action whose evil consequences will extend to all connected with you—and, besides, the Bible bids us return good for evil” (55). Though Helen dies soon thereafter, it is clear that her presence at Lowood made a strong impression on Jane and calmed her fiery tendencies.

The novel’s next setting is Thornfield, where Jane is hired as governess and where her greatest character development takes place. The way Bronte describes Jane’s arrival at Thornfield shows that the place will be transformative: “I followed her across a square hall with high doors all around: she ushered me into a room, whose double illumination of fire and candle at first dazzled me, contrasting as it did with the darkness to which my eyes had been for two hours inured; when I could see, however, a cozy and agreeable picture presented itself to my view” (95). Jane’s brief visual impairment recalls the darker days from which she has emerged, the candle represents a brighter future, and the “cozy and agreeable picture” suggests just that – which, as the reader will learn, also stands for the infatuation with Rochester that will soon emerge.

The challenging, unusual relationship that develops between Jane and Rochester eventually forces Jane to let her guard down. He tells her to listen to the nightingale singing in the wood, and Jane states that

“In listening, I sobbed convulsively; for I could repress what I endured no longer. I was obliged to yield; and I was shaken from head to foot with acute distress. When I did speak, it was only to express an impetuous wish that I has never been born, or never come to Thornfield” (252). Finally Jane admits emotion to herself and recognizes the influence – good or bad – that one’s setting and relations can have upon her.

When Jane flees Thornfield she is at her weakest, alone and literally penniless. This temporary penury shows how relentlessly she seeks independence and refuses to settle for anything less than the utmost respect. When she sees Moor House for the first time, the description is no more promising than that of any other place Jane has lived: “Entering the gate and passing the shrubs, the silhouette of a house rose to view; black, low, and rather long: but the guiding light shone nowhere. All was obscurity” (331). Yet this time, the dark place turns out to hold family and fortune. Jane feels complete here, able to overcome old insecurities. She is finally rewarded for her goodness and helps teach the disadvantaged. Her stay at Moor House allows Jane to become a whole person, and to prepare her for meeting Rochester again, this time feeling like an equal.

Jane finds Rochester at Ferndean Manor. Bronte takes a page to describe the place, adding to the suspense of Jane’s situation. It is another dark, isolated place that hints not at Jane’s situation, this time, but at Rochester’s. Like the desolate manor, Rochester is now debilitated and despondent . Only Jane’s nurturing can revive him, putting the two on even ground for the first time. In one of the final passages, Jane describes her care for Rochester: “I caressed, in order to soothe him; but dared not. As he turned aside his face a minute, I saw a tear slide from under the sealed eyelid, and trickle down the manly cheek. My heart swelled” (444). Finally the two balance each other and truly love.

Each setting in Bronte’s novel shaped its heroine, as Jane gradually left isolation and repression to attain respect , love, and independence. Jane came fully into herself at Moor House and, once prepared, helped Rochester become his own best self at Ferndean. The darkness that characterizes each setting at some point finally dissipates, and one is left feeling that Jane has surely found her home.

Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student.

Your time is important. Let us write you an essay from scratch

experts 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help you just now

delivery Starting from 3 hours delivery

Find Free Essays

We provide you with original essay samples, perfect formatting and styling

Cite this Essay

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Individual Against Environment: Importance of Setting in Jane Eyre. (2018, May 28). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 26, 2022, from
“Individual Against Environment: Importance of Setting in Jane Eyre.” GradesFixer, 28 May 2018,
Individual Against Environment: Importance of Setting in Jane Eyre. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 May 2022].
Individual Against Environment: Importance of Setting in Jane Eyre [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 May 28 [cited 2022 May 26]. Available from:
copy to clipboard

Sorry, copying is not allowed on our website. If you’d like this or any other sample, we’ll happily email it to you.

    By clicking “Send”, you agree to our Terms of service and Privacy statement. We will occasionally send you account related emails.


    Attention! This essay is not unique. You can get a 100% Plagiarism-FREE one in 30 sec

    Receive a 100% plagiarism-free essay on your email just for $4.99
    get unique paper
    *Public papers are open and may contain not unique content
    download public sample

    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.



    Please check your inbox.

    Want us to write one just for you? We can custom edit this essay into an original, 100% plagiarism free essay.

    thanks-icon Order now

    Hi there!

    Are you interested in getting a customized paper?

    Check it out!
    Don't use plagiarized sources. Get your custom essay. Get custom paper

    Haven't found the right essay?

    Get an expert to write you the one you need!


    Professional writers and researchers


    Sources and citation are provided


    3 hour delivery