This essay explores the function of setting in Jane Eyre, arguing how Bronte used the setting to reflect how women can go beyond the limitations of their gender, and social class and find fulfilment. To deliberate these points in detail, the settings at Gateshead, and Thornfield will be closely assessed. In addition, it will consider how the Gothic imagination of the protagonist emphasised the feminist issues of the era, to reflect that it was not necessary for a woman to feel trapped within a patriarchal domestic society, and that women can go beyond the oppressive limitations of their gender, and social class and find fulfilment. It will discuss the differences and similarities between Jane Eyre and Bertha Mason. To ruminate these points…show more content… Gateshead Hall sets the scene of her journey. Gateshead immediately metaphorically conjures up a vision of a child who is physically and psychologically imprisoned. Hence, as Jane looks out of the window the setting reflects her inner state of mind, and that, despite being inside she feels cold, alienated and oppressed, ‘The cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so sombre and a rain so penetrating’ (Bronte, Jane Eyre,  2000, 1.1, all subsequent page references are to this edition).
Bronte describes her heroine’s situation, ‘clear panes of glass protecting, but not separating’ her from the cold and windy November afternoon (8). Thus, illustrating that, despite the wealth of her family, she is an outsider, alienated and banished from joining them around the warmth of the hearth (Realisms, 88).
Additionally, Bronte’s incorporates details of external landscapes together with a wealth of literary texts into the powerful portrayal of her heroine (Realisms 93). Jane’s Gothic imagination is ignited, as she mentally traverses scenes of, ‘desolate coasts and solitary rocks’ (8) in the male-authored novel, Bewick’s Book of British Birds. The critic Robert Heilman notes that ‘this is a medium through which both Bronte and Jane present their feminist story in a female language otherwise unacceptable to the Victorian readership’…show more content… We never lose sight that Jane is plain, ordinary, and not the sexually repressed spinster who cannot resist her sexuality, as portrayed in in the critic Mary Pooveys argument in her essay ‘The Anathematized Race’ (Reader p. 195) who states, ‘The figure who epitomised the Victorian domestic ideal was also the figure who tried to destroy it.’ (Reader, 195). On the contrary, Bronte used this uncertain profession for Jane to illustrate the difference in social class and to portray the story from both a servant’s and aristocratic point of view, (CD 3) whilst also depicting Jane’s journey from her humble beginnings to equal stature with the man she