ickens and Brontë use setting as an important role in the search for domesticity. Great Expectations is a circular book, with Pip finding his childhood home at the end of the story finally filled with happiness and a real family. Pip begins the novel in his village, innocent though oppressed. Moving to London, he becomes uncommon, but also loses his natural goodness. Paying his financial debts and living abroad after losing his Great Expectations, he regains his goodness, or at least pays for his sins, and can finally return to his childhood home. His physical traveling reflects his mental and emotional journeys. Only when he returns to his childhood place, and childhood goodness can he begin to look for happiness again.
In contrast, the use of setting in Jane Eyre is linear. Instead of returning to her childhood home to find domesticity, Jane can not find a home until she moves to a totally different place. Setting plays an equally important role as she moves from Gateshead Hall to Lowood to Thornfield to Moor House, and finally to Freudian Manor. She cannot find her domestic ideal at Gateshead Hall, the site of her childhood torment, or Lowood, a boarding school, or Thornfield, where Rochester hid his first wife and almost became a bigamist, or Moor House, where St. John's presence constantly reminds her of true love's rarity. She and Rochester can only create their own domestic haven in a totally new setting.
Last modified 1996