In the novel Jane Eyre Jane stays in many places, and the style of the place shows how good her life is going to be there. Thornfield is very different to the other places she stays at and in this essay I will explain.
At the beginning of Chapter Eleven Jane write ‘A new chapter in a novel is something like a new scene in a play…’ This is very upbeat and hopeful, it shows that something good is going to happen and draws the reader into when she says ‘ …and when I the curtain up this time, reader, you must fancy you see…’. She addresses the reader personally, accepting he is there and setting the scene to him individually.
Jane’s first sight of Thornfield is not a good one as it is dark when she first sees it; this could be to show that the future is mysterious and there are many secrets hidden in the house. The inside of the house, the room with Mrs Fairfax in is described as ‘a snug, small room; a round table by a cheerful fire; an armchair, high backed and old-fashioned…’ This gives the impression of a wonderful place, or it could be describing Mrs Fairfax through the furniture and atmosphere of the room. It shows that there is someone who is warm and giving in the house. She is confused by how Mrs Fairfax treats her, she is used to coldness and stiffness, from Lowood and Gateshead, it is new to her and she felt uncomfortable being treated so.
When she is taken up to her room she mentions ‘…a very chill and vault-like air pervaded the stairs and the gallery, suggesting cheerless ideas of space and solitude’. Both of these words are very gothic which gives a sense of foreboding. This is an obvious contrast to the room she was just in with Mrs Fairfax. But in the morning she describes a ‘…bright little place…’ she mentions how different she finds it from Lowood and how much warmer it is to herself and ‘…my spirits rose at the view’. This easily shows what her life was like before Thornfield. It also gives the reader hope the new part of the story. It is showing that Thornfield is a new start for her and everything here is going to be totally different from anything she has ever experienced before.
Jane later goes on to describe all the furniture in the house describing Thornfield as a ‘a shrine of memory’. I feel like this gives it an antique feel, whatever happens here all belongs to the past, or is taken away from the world, it does not belong with the rest of the world. She mentions the different levels and the difference between ‘The large front chambers I thought were especially grand; and some of the third-storey rooms, though dark and low, were interesting in their air of antiquity.’ Dark and low are very gothic words, which in this sentence does not seem to fit but it helps her describe the room, again giving a sense of apprehension. She notices the third-storey rooms which are where the mad wife of Mr Rochester is kept. This could be to back up the laughter that is going to be heard later.
She then goes on to describe the outside of the mansion, ‘the bright and velvet lawn…’ she describes the grounds as a gentle, kind, warm place, giving you a sense of happiness through this. Happiness and pleasure is what you get through all of this, it shows many pleasant things are going to happen in the grounds. Then she portrays the attic, which is bleak, dark and narrow, ‘the attic seemed black as a vault compared with that arch of blue air…’ and then she describes the grounds again. This must be to illustrate the picturesque grounds to support the image of the grounds are a good place to be, and the attic is not.
All of these things make it very confusing for the reader to work out whether or not her time at Thornfield is going to be a good/fun time for her. The contrasting descriptions of Thornfield are very different and they come quickly, Jane is constantly switching quickly from light to dark descriptions gothic to colourful.