Exposition Analysis of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

The initial setting in the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë symbolizes the changes in Jane Eyre’s life. The exposition of this novel takes place in Gateshead Hall, where Jane lives with the Reeds. First of all, the names of the places in the exposition are not only places but also has a deeper meaning to it. For example, Gateshead Hall, where she spent her childhood with the Reeds, symbolizes her “gateway” or entrance to the rest of the world, to a new world, and the “head” of her problems and misery. The quote “I was a discord in Gateshead Hall: I was like nobody there; I had nothing in harmony with Mrs. Reed or her children, or her chosen vassalage.” (page 13) shows how “out of place” Jane was compared to the Reed children, and how she felt about it. She knew how the Reeds treated her, but she didn’t feel how cold-blooded they were until she was locked in “the Red Room.” “Shaking my hair from my eyes, I lifted my head and tried to look boldly round the dark room: at this moment a light gleamed on the wall. Was it, I asked myself, a ray from the moon penetrating some aperture in the blind? No; moonlight was still, and this stirred; while I gazed, it glided up to the ceiling and quivered over my head. I can now conjecture readily that this streak of light was, in all likely hood, a gleam from a lantern, carried by someone across the lawn: but then, prepared as my mind was for horror, shaken as my nerves were by agitation, I thought the swift-darting beam was a herald of some coming vision from another world. My heart beat thick, my head grew hot; a sound filled my ears, which I deemed the rushing of wings: something seemed near me; I was oppressed, suffocated: endurance broke down—I uttered a wild, involuntary cry—I rushed to the door and shook the lock in a desperate effort.” (page 15) This is when Jane showed her fears of the Red Room, of a possibility that she’s locked in there with her Uncle Reed’s ghost. The Red Room represented Hell, as Jane became rather wary of sin after she spent time in the Red Room. Therefore, this represented indescribable trauma and suffering, as Jane lost consciousness because she couldn’t deal with the situation, and she can never put the problem into words. Whenever Jane suffers in her future, it takes her emotionally back to the Red Room. In conclusion, the setting of this novel symbolizes the beginning of Jane Eyre’s problems and misery in finding herself, how she feels about her new life and family.

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