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).
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.