Authors have a way of foreshadowing or giving indirect hints toward the reader, such as the language or the characters themselves. Charlotte Bronte, the author of the Victorian novel Jane Eyre, sets the story in a variety of places in England. Each one of these places have a specific meaning behind the name and with that, provides awareness into what stage of life Jane went through at that given point in time. Throughout Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte uses different aspects of setting in order to provide insight into how Jane changes and grows as a person.
Bronte uses Gateshead as an image of prison in the novel. Jane lives the early stages of her life at Gateshead, with her evil cousins and aunts who do not treat her as an equal. The Reed’s tell her that “Jane is a dependent” (Bronte 15) and “she is like a mad cat” (Bronte 17). Mrs. Reed and Jane do not see eye to eye. Mrs. Reed perceives Jane as a cruel child controlled by a demon. Jane attempts to express her emotions and give payback to the Reed’s but fails and ends up locked in the Red Room with herself and her emotions. Even the name Gateshead suggests that Jane lives her life locked up in a dark and gloomy place. Bronte uses the name Gateshead to give awareness to the reader of the tough times Jane is encountered while she is residing at Gateshead. After all the traumatic events she experiences, Jane realizes that she does not belong at Gateshead. All of these events contribute to Janes’ belief to how much better her life will be at Thornfield.