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Jane Eyre - Setting

This GCSE English Literature quiz will challenge you on setting in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. At its most basic level, “setting” in literature refers to the location and the time in which the events of a fictional text take place. Of course, many, if not most, texts have more than one setting: events are likely to occur in different places and times. Within the wider setting or settings, buildings and spaces provide individual settings which often contrast with one another.

Besides time and place, events form a crucial element in a text’s setting, even when these only occur in the background of the main events. Political and social issues play a similar role. This wider fictional world can be glimpsed by the reader and is known as context (it is important not to confuse this fictional context, which is integral to the setting of a text, with the author’s real-life context).

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Atmosphere, another key element of setting, will usually change multiple times over the course of a text.

In Jane Eyre geography plays a role almost as large as that of a key character. Jane’s internal states are often reflected in the wildness of the natural world outside. Many important scenes take place outside, often in a landscape seemingly drawn from the world of fairy tales. Jane, the orphan, moves about from place to place as she seeks to define herself and to become independent. At her lowest point she is homeless and entirely at the mercy of the unwilling charity of strangers and of nature at its most harsh.

Remember that a text’s setting includes geographical elements such as region, country, environment, landscapes and buildings. How much do you notice about the way in which different characters interact with their various environments? What effect do these interactions have on the text?

Answer the questions below on setting in Jane Eyre.

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  1. Which of the following is a quality shared by each of the separate settings in the novel?
    Even Gateshead is a place where a walk outdoors would improve the day and Lowood is surprisingly beautiful for such an unpleasant institution. The settings of Jane Eyre are characterised by a certain isolation from civilisation and a beautiful and wild natural setting in which Jane enjoys spending time
  2. "My home, then — when I at last find a home, — is a cottage: a little room with white-washed walls, and a sanded floor; containing four painted chairs and a table, a clock, a cupboard, with two or three plates and dishes, and a set of tea-things in delf. Above, a chamber of the same dimensions as the kitchen, with a deal bedstead, and chest of drawers; small, yet too large to be filled with my scanty wardrobe." What effect is created by this list of the contents and qualities of Jane's new home?
    Jane has just a little more than she needs: her cupboard is slightly too big, she has enough dishes to have guests and enough chairs to seat them. At the same time she has very little, since it is possible to list everything so quickly
  3. "About ten minutes after, the driver got down and opened a pair of gates: we passed through, and they clashed to behind us. We now slowly ascended a drive, and came upon the long front of a house: candle-light gleamed from one curtained bow-window: all the rest were dark." This sentence depicts Jane's arrival where?
    Besides the one hopeful sign of welcome represented by the candle, all about Thornfield is mysterious and Jane cannot yet imagine what life there will be like
  4. "The lawns, the grounds were trodden and waste: the portal yawned void. The front was, as I had once seen it in a dream, but a shell-like wall, very high and very fragile looking, perforated with paneless windows: no roof, no battlements, no chimneys — all had crashed in." What is the overriding impression given of the fire-gutted Thornfield?
    The imagery of emptiness includes language such as "void"
  5. When is the novel set?
    The dates of the novel are left unspecified. For example, although the day and month are given for Rochester's marriage to Bertha, the year is left blank. Details suggest, however, that the novel is set in a time closely contemporaneous to when it was written (the novel was published in 1847)
  6. Which of the following does NOT describe Lowood School as it is before Helen's death?
    The strict regime, which allowed near-starvation of the pupils, was not helped by the school's low position in the damp and the fog of a forest dell. The episode of typhus is blamed on these conditions (although it is actually spread by lice, not "bad" air)
  7. Jane Eyre is set in which country?
    More specifically, the novel is set in the north of England (Helen Burns, for example, comes from near the border with Scotland)
  8. "A rude noise broke on these fine ripplings and whisperings, at once so far away and so clear: a positive tramp, tramp; a metallic clatter, which effaced the soft wave-wanderings; as, in a picture, the solid mass of a crag, or the rough boles of a great oak, drawn in dark and strong on the foreground, efface the aërial distance of azure hill, sunny horizon and blended clouds, where tint melts into tint." This scene forebodes the arrival of which character?
    Mr Rochester is represented by the harsh, intruding sounds, while Jane is represented by the delicate watercolour imagery. Each character perceives the other as an otherworldly fairy tale creature
  9. Where is the opening of the novel set?
    The novel opens on a "drear November day" when the rain prevents Jane from leaving the house for a walk
  10. "The hills beyond Marsh-Glen sent the answer faintly back — "Where are you!" I listened. The wind sighed low in the firs: all was moorland loneliness and midnight hush. "Down superstition!" I commented, as that spectre rose up black by the black yew at the gate." Jane somehow hears Rochester's voice calling her. This depiction of the midnight scene on the moors relies on what type of imagery?
    Jane orders superstition away, but cannot make rational sense of having heard Rochester's voice

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