Jane Eyre Into Essay

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To what extent does Bronte use setting to reflect her main concerns? Provoking one of the most controversial literary debates of all time, Jane Eyre, written by Charlotte Bronte challenged the traditional conventions of Victorian England and in doing so facilitated the growth of literature pertaining to her main concern; gender roles in the 19th century. Published in 1847, the autobiography Jane Eyre resulted in widespread success and fame for Bronte (or ‘Currer Bell’ as she was thought to be at the time). Upon first analysis, Jane Eyre can be distinguished as merely a novel that embodies the universal characteristics of the Gothic genre. Further examination, however, demonstrates that Bronte has not created an obvious gothic thriller, but a significantly more sophisticated text that reflects her main concern of Victorian society through the structure of a Bildungsroman intertwined with that of the traditional Victorian novel. A critical aspect in the portrayal of Bronte’s concern is her use of ‘setting’ in the novel. As the novel progresses and Jane herself moves from one physical location to another, the settings in which she finds herself vary considerably. Bronte makes the most of this necessity by carefully arranging those settings to match the differing circumstances Jane finds herself in at each. As Jane grows older and her hopes and dreams change, the settings she finds herself in are perfectly attuned to her state of mind, yet her circumstances are always defined by the walls, real and figurative, around her. Although Gateshead is a grand, eminent abode, to Jane it is nothing more than a gilded prison; the emotional deprivation she suffers there throughout her childhood renders it devoid of homely connotations. It provides to Jane, a lifelong example of the cruelty that, in Victorian England, victimizes women only. Gateshead is nothing more than a

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