The shape of [ Jane Eyre] is very much represented by the places where the action occurs, which Charlotte Brontë makes an essential part of the structure, as well as the atmosphere, of her stories. Places have indeed as much character as people, and serve many of the same purposes, a use which Jane Eyre shares with Wuthering Heights, or, to name a later novelist, Hardy.They operate by accurately and vividly selected detail, and often on more than one level. Just as a single person is felt and judged in different ways at the same time, so places may arouse a variety of conflicting feelings, and the tensions, beginning fairly simply with the child's view of Gateshead, increase in complexity through Lowood, Thornfield, Morton, and Ferndean. Gateshead is plainly a place of torment, the house of the Reeds, where all the rooms are places of cold and dread, whether in company or isolation; even in the nursery Jane cannot touch the dolls' house furniture "for the tiny chairs and mirrors, the fairy plates and cups were [Georgiana's] property" (chap. 4), and the windows are fretted with "frost-flowers." Jane's only pleasures there are melancholy, uncertain, fleeting, and solitary: the vignettes in Bewick,
The rock standing up alone in a sea of billow and spray; the broken boat stranded on a desolate coast; the cold and ghastly moon glancing through bars of cloud at a wreck just sinking.
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Publication information: Book title: Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. Contributors: Harold Bloom - Editor. Publisher: Chelsea House. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1987. Page number: 7.
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