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Brontë uses the depiction of Thornfield in a manner consistent with the gothic tone of the novel as a whole. An isolated mansion of unspecified size, the house has a number of apparently unused rooms that become important to the narrative during the Bertha Mason passages. The Hall's gloomy character also expresses and amplifies the sense of Mr. Rochester's depression and malaise before he falls in love with Jane.
In contrast, the grounds surrounding Thornfield are sublime and healthful to the novel's many troubled characters and serve as a backdrop to many happier scenes.
It is suggested[by whom?] that Brontë based Thornfield on Haddon Hall, near Bakewell, Derbyshire, although the evidence for this is unclear and doubtful; it is perhaps based on filmmakers' use for some of the novel's on-screen adaptations. Haddon Hall has been used to depict Thornfield on multiple occasions: for the 1996 film directed by Franco Zeffirelli, in 2006 for the BBC mini series directed by Susanna White, and for the 2011 feature starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender directed by Cary Fukunaga.
Another theory holds that North Lees Hall in Hathersage was the inspiration for Thornfield, particularly given that "Morton" in the novel is believed[by whom?] to be based on Hathersage, and that Bronte stayed in the area before writing the novel.
A third theory[by whom?] is that High Sunderland Hall in Halifax was the basis for Thornfield. The house had all the Gothic features of Thornfield and is a location that was familiar to the Brontë family.