Monday, April 13, 2009

Blog 'passage explication' on one paragraph in Volume 1

Blog 'passage explication' on one paragraph in Volume 1 of Jane Eyre. Reference APE rubric and passage explication handout if needed.

You can replace the above phrase 'one paragraph' with 'half a page' if that helps you.

Post in this comment stream by noon, April 14th, 2009.

22 comments:

Pretty Lady said...
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Pretty Lady said...
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Mary N. said...
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Mary N. said...

“I reflected. Poverty looks grim to grown people; still more so to children: they have not much idea of industrious, working, respectable poverty; they think of the word only as connected with ragged clothes, scanty food, fireless grates, rude manners, and debasing vices: poverty for me was synonymous with degradation.
‘No; I should not like to belong to poor people,’ was my reply.
‘Not even if they were kind to you?’
I shook my head: I could not see how poor people had the means of being kind; and then to learn to speak like them, to adopt their manners, to be uneducated, to grow up like one of the poor women I saw sometimes nursing their children or washing their clothes at the cottage doors of the village of Gateshead: no, I was not heroic enough to purchase liberty at the price of caste” (Bronte 36).

The passage describing Jane Eyre’s premature thoughts of poverty in chapter three of “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte develops the society in which she lives since it provides context into the stereotypes, beliefs, and values of the class system in the Romantic Era through imagery. However, Jane Eyre as the much older and more experienced woman creates a parallel with that unintelligent idea and gives the audience the truth behind those stereotypes of poverty through contrast. What more, the concept of keeping up with appearances shows up in this passage and helps develop Jane’s naïve and ignorant character as a child, in which the usage of the past tense allows the audience to witness Jane’s transformation of pure misunderstanding to one of realization as she grows into an older and more mature woman.

Charlotte Bronte decidedly wrote “Jane Eyre” in the past tense to truly encompass the idea that a much older and more mature woman is reflecting on her past experiences, beliefs, and values, in which she has now developed more intelligent ideas of society. In doing so, the audience gets a sense that Jane Eyre has grown from a person who possesses deceiving perceptions of society to one who better understands how poverty is about being hardworking and industrious, rather than the image of insufficiency of poverty that she has been drawn up in her mind by the wealth she has grown up in. For example, Jane begins the passage with “I reflected” to really emphasize to the audience the act of thinking back upon one’s actions and words, where she has found major misunderstandings and misconceptions of social classes that she sincerely corrects by stating what poor people truly are: respectable. In addition, the way Jane as the older woman admits to the fact that she “was not heroic enough to purchase liberty at the price of caste” as a young child shows her courage in being able to tell the readers of such a characteristic flaw (36). As a result, Jane Eyre appears brave and respectable; she is no longer questioned by the readers. Her transformation from ignorance to understanding makes her a more believing character as she comes off as intelligent and knowledgeable.

Jane Eyre at the age of ten believes poverty to look “grim” to children because of the stereotypical perceptions of poverty during the Romantic Era that the wealthy instill upon themselves and their children to feel more superior. During this period in history, Charles Darwin published the book “The Origin of Species,” in which he theorized that survival in society depends on the species’ fitness and abilities to adapt and proved his case to the fullest (Romantic). Thus, the wealthy at the time believed in the idea that poorer people were just unmade for their society; the richer classes were the ones fit to survive. Jane Eyre has grown up in an affluent family, the Reeds, where she receives constant exposure to their societal beliefs. As a result, it is natural for a young Jane of ten to develop the image of “ragged clothes, scanty food, fireless grates, rude manners, and debasing vices” when Dr. Lloyd mentions the word “poverty” upon his visit to the manor (Bronte 36). Through this imagery, the readers are able to observe the divisions between the class system at the time, in which the poorer people were marked by insufficiencies and the wealthy by true abilities. As Jane Eyre represents a lower status person living in the upper class, which is indicated by the maid Abbot on page twenty-five, the knowledge of the clear differences in the classes enable the audience to truly grasp the incredible struggle Jane faces to conform to the Reeds in order to maintain an affluent image as well as to escape being “synonymous with degradation;” and yet still desires to differ from their Christian morals and beliefs as she does not completely believe in them (36).

As “Jane Eyre” has been written as a reflection on a young woman’s childhood, Charlotte Bronte strategically develops her narrator to create a parallel world between the premature ideas of society she had as a child and the truer ones as an older woman. Jane refers to children as “they” instead of “we” to show the growth process from a mere ignorant young child to a mature woman that has taken place from then to the present in which she reflects on her life; this builds the credibility of Jane Eyre’s accounts of past situations and characters so that the readers will not question what is being presented. In addition, the way Jane speaks of the stereotypes a wealthy person has for a poorer one during that time points to the fact that these perceptions have been proved wrong with time and experience. For example, the fact that “they have not much idea of industrious, working, respectable poverty” contrasts greatly with her undeveloped belief in the “ragged clothes [and] scanty food” (36). By stating that “they,” who are the children, do no understand the true value behind poverty, Jane Eyre, as the more mature and intelligent woman, proves that the societal stereotypes that exist due to the affluent class’s beliefs during the Romantic Era were highly inaccurate and influential in children who did not know better to question them. As a result, the readers better understand the childish character of Jane Eyre and her statements about not being “heroic enough to purchase liberty at the price of caste” as Jane has grown up in a wealthy household during the Romantic Era (36).

The affluent society in which Jane Eyre as a child lives in during the Romantic Era proves to hold stereotypical images of poverty that causes Jane to feel degraded if she is ever removed from her wealthy setting. In Bronte’s usage of the past tense, the readers sympathize with Jane rather than develop a dislike for her character since the utilization shows that Jane has been ignorant due to the constant exposure to such beliefs. What more, the imagery Bronte creates to parallel the past and the present truly shows Jane Eyre’s transformation from unknowing to comprehension of the society in which she lives, allowing the readers to readily believe in the accounts and characters Jane reflects upon as an older woman.


“Romantic 1825-1900.” Essentials of Music. Historical Themes. 2001. 13 April 2009.
< http://www.essentialsofmusic.com/eras/romhist.html >

Kayla P said...

“Do you read your bible?”
“Sometimes.”
“With pleasure? Are you fond of it?”
“I like Revelations, and the book of Daniel, and Genesis, and Samuel, and a little bit of Exodus, and some parts of Kings and Chronicles, and Job.”
“And the Psalms? I hope you like them.”
“No, sir.”
“No? oh, shocking…”
“Psalms are not interesting,” I remarked.
Vol. 1 Ch. 4 page 44

This particular exchange, which took place between Mr. Brocklehurst and Jane, revealed an interesting part of Jane’s character. Looking through each of these books one by one, Jane’s personality becomes a bit clearer.
Revelation is the last book of the bible, one that confuses many with its complex symbolism. Jane, with her love of fairy tales would be sure to love this book, because of its beasts and dragons and the like. This book essentially points to a god from heaven who rules supreme over everything, and easily defeats Satan who may come in many earthly forms. For Jane to depend on this all powerful god is not surprising; she had previously called out her aunt, saying “My uncle Reed is in heaven, and can see all you do and think; and so can papa and mama: they know how you shut me up all day long, and how you wish me dead”(39). She envisions her parents and uncle as the all powerful god who will save her from this hell on earth created by her aunt.
The next book she mentions, Daniel, shows God’s supreme rule as did Revelation, but also depicts victory that comes to those who face great suffering. Jane has put up with a lot for someone so young as she was when she lived in the Reed’s home, and even once she went to school she faced great trials. One of the first parts of the book of Daniel deals with the capturing of Jewish Nobility. Their great pride led to just as great of a downfall, which would bring great comfort to Jane. Her everyday sufferings are not going unnoticed, and one day the Reed family will fall.
Genesis, which comes from the Greek work, “beginning,” is often only remembered as the story of Adam and Eve. While Jane may have found this to be interesting because of her love of fairy tales, it seems that the piece she would take most ease from would be the story of Abraham. God promises that he will be the father of all nations, even though he was just a regular person. Even though he questioned God, he was still loved by the all-powerful Creator. Jane surely questions a god who lets her suffer daily, so knowing that Abraham could question and still be loved would be comforting to Jane.
In the next book Jane mentions, Samuel, hope for the underdog is found. Jane, who has always been the underdog herself, would like this book because it shows that God does not always favor the biggest and the best. Jane once asked herself “Why was I always suffering, always brow-beaten, always accused, for ever condemned? Why could I never please? Why was it always useless to try to win any one’s favour?”(27) This particular book of the Bible shows that those who are “brow-beaten” and “suffering” are in God’s favor. It is not always the ones in Mrs. Reed’s position with the power and the money, because according to the bible, God’s standards are severely different from human standards, which requires power and wealth to gain status in society. This knowledge, that God understands, would placate fears that Jane may have that she will never be accepted or loved.
While the other books of the Bible stated that God cheered on the underdog, Exodus backs it up. When Moses, a regular man who was appointed to rescue God’s people, feels inadequate and unprepared, Jane is able to see firsthand that, no, God did not make a mistake when He chose Moses, and He didn’t make a mistake when He put her with the Reeds. Though Mr. Lloyd chastises her for wanting to leave the house, saying “You can’t be silly enough to wish to leave such a splendid place?”, she knows that she is not meant to be there. Exodus, which translates into “the way out,” proves to Jane that one day there will be a way out and that she has not been put there by accident.
Kings, the next book Jane mentioned she enjoyed, is all about how God’s people kept rebelling, and it really didn’t work in their favor. Because she is treated so poorly at home, which goes against her uncle’s wishes that she be kept safely there, she knows that one day her aunt will face some painful consequences. She looks to her uncle as if he were her god, the protector that she reads about. Because her aunt does not follow his dying wish that Jane be kept safe with them, Jane feels assured that her aunt will soon be punished. Chronicles, which is like a “commentary” on Samuel and Kings, is just another reassurance that justice will be served.
Job is an excellent book for Jane’s most burning questions. In the red room, she spoke to herself, saying “I could not answer the ceaseless inward question—why I thus suffered”(27). Job is all about why God allows suffering, and what those who suffer should do about it. This book is essentially a life lesson about how Jane should live. She clearly suffers daily, and cannot do anything about it. So for her to find this book comforting is no wonder: it shows her how she may live without so much misery.
The one book that Jane finds boring is the book that is often thought to be the most comforting book of the bible. It is a book that gives praise to God, through the good, the bad, and the ugly. One reason that Jane may find the book so dull is because of its length, with 150 individual Psalms. Another reason she may not relate to this book is that it is all about praise. When one lives a life like Jane, praise is not at the forefront of their mind. It does not give permission to be angry with God, nor does it promise revenge on those who do not follow God’s word. It is less fairytale- like than some other books of the bible, which also may make it less appealing to her young mind.
By looking closely at the books of the bible that Jane mentioned, it because more clear that she takes comfort in knowing that she was put in the Reed home for a reason, and that Mrs. Reed will eventually be punished for her wrongdoings. Her suffering has been known to humans before, and will always be so, and she is able to take great comfort in that.

Ashley A said...
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Andy V. said...

The passage from Page 36, second paragraph to the end of the third on the page.
“I reflected. Poverty looks grim to grown people; still more so to children: they have not much idea of industrious, working, respectable poverty; they think of the word only as connected with ragged clothes, scanty food, fireless grates, rude manners, and debasing vices: poverty for me was synonymous with degradation.”
“’No; I should not like to belong to poor people,’ was my reply.”
“’Not even if they were kind to you?’”
“I shook my head: I could not see how poor people had the means of being kind; and then to learn to speak like them, to adopt, their manners, to be uneducated, to grow up like one of the poor women I saw sometimes nursing their children or washing their clothes at the cottage doors of the village of Gateshead: no, I was not heroic enough to purchase liberty at the price of caste.”

In volume 1 of “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre is greatly characterized by the passage on page 36 that takes the readers though the thoughts and feelings of Jane as her doctor asks her questions. With the use of the knowledge of a child’s mind, sophisticated diction, and Jane Eyre’s own opinion of herself in the passage, Bronte is able to show Jane as a mature and intelligent young girl.
Jane is able to look back on her thoughts and choices and give a deep explanation of her thought process even at a young age. Jane is able to see how being a child alters her choice making habits. Poverty is an intimidating image to image oneself in, “still more so to children: they have not much idea of industrious, working, respectable poverty.” Jane is able to see how her view of poverty maybe partly exaggerated because of her age. Even at her young age she is able to understand that being young affects her thought. The passage allows the readers to be able to see Jane’s mature state of mind. The readers can see her thought process and her thoughts about the poor life. It is easy to agree that Jane has control over her thoughts and is well educated based on the way she reflected about poverty with a child’s mind.

The use of such sophisticated diction in the passage amazes the readers that a child is able to reflect to such an adult level of mind. To a child, poverty means having no money for good food, clothes, education, or a fancy home. Jane is able to expand upon the idea of poverty that it is truly, “industrious, working, respectable poverty.” However, she still have trouble getting over the fact that she believes poverty is “synonymous with degradation.” The use of such sophisticated vocabulary allows the reader to believe that Jane is well educated. Words like “degradation,” “grim,” or “scanty,” allow the readers to see the harsh world Jane envisions. Based on the choice of words in the passage; the readers can see Jane’s exact thoughts about poverty and the deep thought she puts into the delicate topic.

Lastly, the ability for Jane to reflect on herself though out the passage allows the readers to ability to see Jane’s maturity. Jane is able to see what part of living a poor life scares her. To her degradation and poverty are the same things. She fears of living in a much lower standard of life where she would be “with ragged clothes, scanty food, fireless grates, rude manners, and debasing vices.” Jane is able to see her fears of being uneducated and living their life. Even though she wants to find to live with people who truly care about her, she is not brave “enough to purchase liberty at the price of caste.” The ability to look at one self and admit their own flaws demonstrates high levels of maturity even many adults have problems expressing. The passage allows the readers to see Jane’s astonishing talent to understand herself.

With the use of the passage, Jane is easily characterized to be a mature and intelligent young girl. Her ability to understand the differences in though processes between children and adults show her knowledge of different viewpoints. Her sophisticated language gives the readers the impression that Jane is able to deeply describe her thoughts in a well organized manner. Jane’s own ability to reflect on herself throughout the passage shows maturity in such a young age. The passage is rich with Jane’s thoughts, feelings, and character which allows the readers to adore her maturity, openness, and humble attitude.

sodaba said...

At Lowood, Jane is harshly treated as soon as she is enrolled by the help of Mr. Lloyd. She is mistreated by Mr. Brocklehurst and her other teachers, and she has to endure the other harsh conditions at Lowood. Despite these tough conditions, Jane is able to excel in her studies, show her talents to the rest of the school. Although Jane is talented and intelligent, the rest of the school still only sees her as a burden, because she is poor and an orphan. Mr. Brocklehurst forces his power over these lower-class girls at Lowood because they are seen as helpless. Society perceives the poor as an affliction, and therefore usually do take advantage of them. This is what Mr. Brocklehurst is doing with the orphan girls. In chapter seven Mr. Brocklehurst announces to the whole school that Jane is a liar, has a really upsetting impact on her. She worries that her reputation might be ruined in the school. As person with the highest power in the school, Mr. Brocklehurst thinks it is appropriate for him to act as so. This is what occurs in our society. The one with most power bullies the one with the least power, the rich’s take on the poor.

There is also a contrast between the characters, Helen Burns and Mr. Brocklehurst. The passivity of Helen and her Christian ideas of love and forgiveness seem to oppose Mr. Brocklehurst aggressive nature. “You dirty, disagreeable girl! You have never cleaned your nails this morning!” As Miss Scatcherd is yelling at Helen, she does not defend herself, but instead carries on with her passive behavior. Jane does not agree with Helen’s actions because she does not understand, but she also disagrees with Mr. Brocklehurst’s actions towards others below him as well. Helen and Mr. Brocklehurst contrast each other in their moods of religious thought. Mr. Brocklehurst is somewhat of a hypocrite. As stated earlier as the higher power, he takes advantage of the girls, by using the money for his Lowood students to support his own luxuries. Helen sticks to her practices of Christian endurance while Mr. Brocklehurst ignores all the religious views and forces his power onto the girls at Lowood.

Ashley A said...

…for I am not her father; but hearing that she was quite destitute, I e'en took the poor thing out of the slime and mud of Paris, and transplanted it here, to grow up clean in the wholesome soil of an English country garden. Mrs. Fairfax found you to train it; but now you know that it is the illegitimate offspring of a French opera-girl, you will perhaps think differently of your post and protégée: you will be coming to me some day with notice that you have found another place -- that you beg me to look out for a new governess, etc. -- Eh?"

"No: Adèle is not answerable for either her mother's faults or yours: I have a regard for her; and now that I know she is, in a sense, parentless -- forsaken by her mother and disowned by you, sir -- I shall cling closer to her than before. How could I possibly prefer the spoilt pet of a wealthy family, who would hate her governess as a nuisance, to a lonely little orphan, who leans towards her as a friend?"

"Oh, that is the light in which you view it! Well, I must go in now; and you too: it darkens."

But I stayed out a few minutes longer with Adèle and Pilot -- ran a race with her, and played a game of battledore and shuttlecock. When we went in, and I had removed her bonnet and coat, I took her on my knee; kept her there an hour, allowing her to prattle as she liked: not rebuking even some little freedoms and trivialities into which she was apt to stray when much noticed, and which betrayed in her a superficiality of character, inherited probably from her mother, hardly congenial to an English mind. Still she had her merits; and I was disposed to appreciate all that was good in her to the utmost. I sought in her countenance and features a likeness to Mr. Rochester, but found none: no trait, no turn of expression announced relationship. It was a pity: if she could but have been proved to resemble him, he would have thought more of her

In the passage beginning on page 150, Bronte suggests that Jane Eyre’s overwhelming desire to be loved and accepted, prompts her to take on the role of being more than Adele’s governess after discovering that both of Adele’s parents have abandoned her. Jane’s disruptive childhood forces her to feel compassion for Adele’s situation and motivates her to save Adele from everlasting despair. Bronte establishes this point through specific diction that allows the readers to understand how closely related Jane’s past is to Adele’s present.

The first section of this passage begins about one third of the way down page 150 and Bronte reveals the heartless nature of the character Mr. Rochester, as he informs Jane that he refuses to care for Adele because he does not consider her his daughter. The powerful effects of his words hit severely with Jane, starting from, “…I am not her father,…” Mr. Rochester ruthlessly continues by saying, “… I e’en took the poor thing out of the slime and mud of Paris, and transplanted it here…” Mr. Rochester carefully chooses to refer to Adele as “it” rather than my daughter or even by her name because this shows how distant their relationship is. By telling Jane that Adele’s mother left her for a musician and by following this statement with what appears to be his gracious efforts of bringing Adele to England, emphasizes his desire to uphold his façade of appearing to be a generous gentleman. However, by Mr. Rochester saying, “…to grow up clean in the wholesome soil of an English country garden” and connecting that with Mr. Rochester and Adele’s first interaction after many years of separation, where he lavishly presented her with gifts, it seems as if Mr. Rochester views Adele as more of his charity case. By taking a child who he claims to have no relation to, out of the slums and bringing her to a luxurious castle, maintains his appearance of being a charitable and loving gentleman. Mr. Rochester also subtly says “…mud of Paris…”which juxtaposes his comment on “…the wholesome soil of an English country garden…”because the theme of appearances is prevalent at that moment because he implies that England is far better than Paris, which can also be the reason as to why he refuse to claim Adele as his daughter.

The second section introduces the idea of Jane’s longing to be accepted and loved by others as she openly expresses her disgust for Mr. Rochester’s words and her desires to form a closer bond between herself and Adele. After Mr. Rochester inquires that Jane will soon “…beg [him] to look out for a new governess…” she immediately replies with, “…No — Adele is not answerable for either her mother’s faults or yours: I have regard for her, and now that I know she is, in a sense parentless — forsaken by her mother and disowned by you, sir, — I shall cling closer to her than before.” Those lines are quite powerful on various levels ranging from Jane’s choice of words to the differing usage of punctuation. Jane’s initial reaction of “No…” followed by a hyphen shows how abruptly she was willing to inform Mr. Rochester that she would not easily relinquish her duties and by soon there after realizing that Adele was parentless, just as she, Jane harshly tells Mr. Rochester that Adele should not be punished for her parents’ irresponsible behavior. Cleverly, Jane remains respectful by calling Mr. Rochester “…sir,…” however, she dutifully notes that she could not care for the “…spoiled pet of a wealthy family, who would hate her governess… [but rather] a lonely little orphan.” The spoiled pet reference connects backs to Jane’s childhood and how she was constantly abused by John Reed and the “…lonely little orphan…” was Jane just a few years prior when she lived at Lowood, but through all of this, Jane found a savior in Miss Temple. Just as this teacher at Lowood went beyond her duties to guide Jane through many difficult times during her childhood, Jane now desires to do the same for Adele.

In the third section, Bronte portrays Jane as a motherly figure towards Adele and this portion is significant because Jane does not yearn to be loved through a phony appearance but through her genuine actions. After Mr. Rochester briefly tells Jane to go inside, she disobeys and decides to stay out and play “…a game of battledore and shuttlecock…” with Adele and when they went inside, Jane “…removed [Adele’s] bonnet and coat [and] …took [Adele] on [her] knee…” Jane’s actions represent a motherly persona, and she even promises to “…appreciate all that was good in [Adele] to the utmost,” all of which are things Jane was denied of while growing up. The fact that Mrs. Reed could not look past her outward appearances and the fact that Jane was only at their residence upon request of Mr. Reed, contributed to Jane’s solitude. The last line of this section, “…if [Adele] could have been proved to resemble him, he would have thought more of her” is something that Jane finds extremely disheartening because constantly throughout her childhood, many referred to her as “…physically inferior…” (20) If Adele was of English decent and Jane was one the Reed’s, both of them would have physically upheld to their family’s standards and would have been accepted.

The passage on page 150 is significant on many levels one of which is that it reveals Jane’s desires to finally be appreciated and valued for who she is rather than overlooked and considered an outcast. Bronte also portrays the many levels of betrayal and cruelty many of the characters possess as Mr. Rochester denies paternity of Adele. Jane’s ambitions cause her to want to begin a deeper relationship with Adele, such as the one she created with Miss Temple because Jane understands that she was able to overcome some of her greatest challenges with the assistance of someone who genuinely cared about her well being. Bronte’s idea of love and accepting people for who they are is importance because through Jane she shows how anyone can overcome a struggle with the support of loved ones.

Matsuoka, Mitsuharu “Charlotte Bronte Jane Eyre.” 14 April 2009. < http://www.lang.nagoya-u.ac.jp/~matsuoka/Bronte-Jane-2.html#XV>

Stephen said...

In Volume I, an interesting occurrence takes place before the famous scene in which Mr. Brocklehurst condemns Jane as a liar. On page 73, Mr. Brocklehurst, after lecturing Miss Temple because of Julia Severn’s hair, starts building up a head of steam. He, upon realizing that Julia’s hair curled naturally, ordered Miss Temple to cut off all of Julia’s hair. As if in an afterthought, he orders all the youngest girls to turn around so that he can inspect their hair. After examining them for five minutes, he orders that “All those top-knots must be cut off” (73). When Miss Temple protests,, he pursues, “Madam, I have a Master to serve whose kingdom is not of this world: my mission is to mortify in these girls the lusts of the flesh: to teach them to clothe themselves with shame-facedness and sobriety, not with braided hair and costly apparel; and each of the young persons before us has a string of hair twisted in plaits which vanity itself might have woven: these, I repeat, must be cut off…” (74). In the passage following, the Charlotte Bronte suggests that Mr. Brocklehurst is certainly a hypocrite, and also demonstrates the different mores accepted for higher and lower social classes.

In seems clear that Mr. Brocklehurst paints an austere picture as his ideal institution. As a clergyman of the time, he has the seeming moral authority to criticize others, at least in that time frame. He quickly singles out a young girl, Julia Severn, and immediately criticizes her hair for being too curly. Told by Miss Temple that Severn’s hair is naturally curly, and not curled with vanity products, he tells her that curls as simply unacceptable, and orders the extreme solution of cutting off all the hair. Immediately, this strikes the reader as unreasonable. Because of the extreme nature of this order, and its arbitrary nature: the curls, after all, are not Severn’s fault, Mr. Brocklehurst’s capacity for judging others is put into question. When he further orders that all the girls must cut off their hairstyles, he explains his motives, with the paragraph given above.

First, he clothes himself in moral authority by claiming to serve a “Master…whose kingdom is not of this world.” As a clergyman, it is clear that he is appealing to God’s authority. Then, he condemns all manner of hairstyles and costly clothing, in short, anything that can be attributed to vanity or wealth. As the institution’s self appointed arbiter of morality, he believes that making the children wear only the simplest clothes and the simplest hairstyles, would make them more pious and upstanding Christians.

Then, Mr. Brocklehurst is interrupted by the entrance of three women: two young teenagers and an older woman. Eyre describes them as “splendidly attired in velvet, silk, and furs. The two younger of the trio…had gray beaver hats, then in fashion, shaded with ostrich plumes, and from under the brim of this graceful head-dress fell a profusion of light tresses, elaborately curled; the elder lady was enveloped in a costly velvet shawl, trimmed with ermine, and she wore a false front of French curls” (74). The imagery created by this description is straightforward, these women are wealthy, dress richly, and clearly are different from the group that Mr. Brockehurst is lecturing.

The crux of this juxtaposition is the irony displayed in the parallels that the reader immediately draws between the Christian ideal that Mr. Brocklehurst describes, and the lifestyle demonstrated by Brocklehurst’s family. The curls that Mr. Brocklehurst rails against for young Julia Severn are present “elaborately curled” with the sixteen and seventeen year old girls. The “costly apparel” that Brocklehurst ostensibly advocates that the institution teach against drips off of Mr. Brocklehurst’s female relatives, with hats of the latest fashions, costly silks, velvets, and furs, and expensive shawls all pointing toward vanity and luxurious living. Indeed, one could note that all of the vices that Mr. Brocklehurst condemns to Miss Temple, are exemplified by his relatives, in direct contrast to the picture of austere morality that Mr. Brocklehurst claims to follow.

Notice that the narrator does not finish Mr. Brocklehurst’s lecture; Jane simply notes that the womenfolk comment on the quality of the bed sheets, and then walk out. The simple impression of the women and their wealth, is sufficient to illustrate to the reader the comparison between what Mr. Brocklehurst preaches for the institution, and what he tells his family. The striking difference between the two: demanding that all of the institution’s girls cut off their top-knots of hair because he perceived a girl with natural curled hair, while making no comment concerning austerity for his own relatives demonstrate a hypocritical attitude concerning Brocklehurst’s definition of Christian morality.

The result of painting Brocklehurst as the antithesis of the pious Christian by recalling him as a hypocrite, the narrator sets up an extreme for Brocklehurst as the opposite of pious and devoted Christianity. Though he is a clergyman, he is set up against Helen Burns, who represents a Christian ideal due to her patience, understanding, and faith in the Bible. Having rejected Brocklehurst’s false piety, and Burns’s extreme morality (though the narrator certainly admires Burns for it), the narrator strives to find some sort of moral common ground.

Furthermore, this contrast also illustrates class differences. Because the institution’s girls are orphans, and Mr. Brocklehurst’s relatives are wealthy aristocrats, this contrast, and Mr. Brocklehurst’s different reactions to female vanity for each social group may also illustrate that era’s social stratification and that era’s tolerance of different mores for different social groups. Perhaps the author is making a statement of recognition between the differing social classes and expectations regarding them.

By direct juxtaposition of both Mr. Brocklehurst’s lecture condemning vanity and luxury, and a description of his female relatives who exemplify both vanity and luxury, the narrator brands Brocklehurst as a “false” Christian, who doesn’t practice the morals that he preaches, who claims to uphold Christian morals while holding his family and himself exempt. This hypocrisy establishes him as the anti-Helen Burns, who personally exemplifies Christian values. The narrator also comments on different expectations accorded different social classes, perhaps intending this passage to reflect social divisions of that time.

Jenny L said...

“All right then; limpid, salubrious: no gush of bilge water had turned it to fetid puddle. I was your equal at eighteen—quite your equal. Nature meant me to be, on the whole, a good man., Miss Eyre: one of the better end; and you see I am not so. You would say you don’t see it: at least I flatter myself I read as much in your eye (beware, by-the-by, what you express with that organ, I am quick at interpreting its language). Then take my word for it,--I am not a villain: you are not to suppose that—not to attribute to me any such bad eminence; but, owing, I verily believe, rather to circumstances than to my natural bent, I am a trite common-place sinner, hackneyed in all the poor petty dissipations with which the rich and worthless try to put on life. Do you wonder that I avow this to you? Know, that in the course of your future life you will often find yourself elected the involuntary confidant of your acquaintances’ secrets: people will instinctively find out, as I have done, that it is not your forte to talk of yourself, but to listen while others talk of themselves; they will feel, too, that you listen with no malevolent scorn of their indiscretion, but with a kind of innate sympathy; not the less comforting and encouraging because it is very unobtrusive in its manifestation.” (141-142)

The relationship between Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester is foreshadowed to reach beyond that of a governess and her employer as Bronte forms a parallel between the two by contrasting both the unconventional personalities each possesses for their time. The passage taking place as the first exchange shared between Jane and Mr. Rochester, creates a sense of initial awkwardness that is quickly dissipated by the blunt and rather straightforward thoughts and opinions shared. Seeing himself as “[Jane’s] equal at eighteen”, Mr. Rochester’s character can in ways also serve as a possible foreshadow of Jane’s growth and development A growth that may result from her lost of innocence as to the faith she holds concerning justice as well as the prevalence of goodness. The contrast of Jane’s innocence and Mr. Rochester’s experience is clear not only in their age difference but also in their difference in genders creating a further distance and also interestingly enough, a bond that leaves Jane “elected [as] the involuntary confidant of [his]… secrets.”
With the passage beginning with the imagery of water, not pure, but tainted, Bronte imposes a tone of a loss of innocence. Mr. Rochester, who has once been “limpid, salubrious” and “quite [Jane’s] equal” discloses that though “Nature meant [him] to be, on the whole, a good man…[he is] not so.” It can be seen that in Mr. Rochester’s youth, he quite resembled the determined, stubborn, and even naïve nature of Jane. However due to circumstances not revealed by the passage, the naivety he once held of society has clearly diminished and has been tainted, just the water had been in his analogy. Mr. Rochester’s speech in the passage, characterized by its complicacy with interjections of thoughts in the midst of a sentence in ways shows the character he is: complicatedly blunt. As he considers himself to be a “trite common place sinner”, Mr. Rochester’s realistic and harsh view of reality is juxtaposed with Jane’s rather more romanticized view of society.
While this passage marks the beginnings of the relationship between Jane and Mr. Rochester, it also marks a divide that exists not only in age, in societal position, in experience but also in gender. Mr. Rochester, serving as the second male figure to have entered Jane’s life (Mr. Brocklehurst being the first) presents a possibility of contrasting the malevolent traits possessed by Brocklehurst. Prior to and even during the passage, Jane has yet to experience benevolence from that of a male character, as she has limited and rare interactions with them. Her connection with men is limited. The entrance of a new male figure into Jane’s life will no doubt lead to a change as has all the other male figures. Each has brought upon a change in Jane. As with the spirit of her uncle instilling upon her a sense of courage and passion to call for change, and with Mr. Brocklehurst who has taken Jane into Lowood, the arrival of Mr. Rochester will be no exception. Bronte’s incorporation of the men has served as markers of turning points in her life.
Though the façade of Mr. Rochester may seem intimidating, it is revealed that he in fact may be the weaker of the two characters for he seeks the “innate sympathy; not the less comforting and encouraging because it is very unobtrusive in its manifestation” that Jane possesses. Beneath the harsh words spoken in bluntness and demands, Mr. Rochester seems to have an immediate dependency on Jane, forming a connection for he “quick at interpreting [the] language” spoken through her eyes.
Though the relationship between Jane and Mr. Rochester is still in a tentative stage, Bronte no doubt foreshadows a bond to be formed from the contrast of the two characters.

Kristen W. said...

“A great deal: you are good to those who are good to you. It is all I ever desire to be. If people were always kind and obedient to those who are cruel and unjust, the wicked people would have it all their own way: they would never feel afraid, and so they would never alter, but would grow worse and worse. When we are struck at without a reason, we should strike back again very hard as to teach the person who struck us never to do it again.”
“You will change your mind, I hope, when you grow older: as yet you are but a little untaught girl.”
“But I feel this, Helen: I must dislike those who, whatever I do to please them, persist in disliking me; I must resist those who punish me unjustly. It is as natural as that I should love those who show me affection, or submit to punishment when I feel it is deserved.”
Volume 1 Chapter 6 Page 67


In this exchange between Helen and Jane, extremely different perceptions of life arise. These perceptions cause conflict within the conversation itself. Jane is extremely aggressive towards how she approaches life, while Helen is also an extreme, but and extremely passive person. Bronte incorporates the character of Helen to show just how strong Jane’s personality is. She is a character who brings out many ideas about how much Jane can do with her ideas and views. It is a very controversial relationship between the two characters.

Jane says, “When we are struck at without a reason…” Jane clearly states that although she is a very strong willed character, her intentions are still dominant over her emotions. Jane says that she will only adjust to how people treat her and now the judgment of how she sees people. She also uses the term, “wicked” which suggests that the only people she mistreats are the extremely negative people in her life that have no goodness lingering inside. It was very interesting that Jane said the word “obedient.” That is how she is supposed to be within society. She is seen as a poor girl who should do whatever she is told. On the contrary she does just the opposite. This adds irony to the passage because Jane lives and sees life the way that she wants to and is not afraid to speak her mind. She is very far from obedient.

Helen continues the conversation with a very hopeful mindset. She continues to try and sway Jane’s opinion and views on life. She refers to Jane as a “little untaught girl.” This statement was put there to show the juxtaposing views and characteristics of the two characters in the conversation. The word “untaught” refers to the uninformed and less experienced aspect of Jane’s life. Jane disembarks on her own journey not needing the idea of someone telling her what to do and what is what. Helen subjects Jane to the idea that she will grow wiser with age. The time lapse suggests that foreshadowing may be occurring within this text. It shows that maybe something will happen to alter Jane’s views on life.

Jane answers with the same mindset as before. She discusses her desires and how some people aren’t acting the way that they should. She states the word “natural” within her context. This suggests that maybe the society is not run the way that it naturally should be. Naturally, people are created equal, but in this society the poor are looked down upon and treated unjustly. Jane also says that she will “submit punishment” when necessary. This shows the power struggle that is occurring within Jane. She wants to do so much, yet she cannot due to her stature in her society. The contrasting character of Jane and society is as much the same as the relationship between Jane and Helen. Although there are struggles, it is indeed a bond that needs to be adapted to.

In this passage, the two characters have a very insightful conversation that reveals their true nature and beliefs. It shows the juxtaposition between the characters and how they behave. Their behavior not only affects themselves, but their society as a whole. The exchange between the two highlights their personality and adds a bit of controversy between the ideas they express. This conversation is added to pursue the idea that Jane is basically the most dominant character within the novel, “Jane Eyre”.

Cynthia R said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cynthia R said...

"Hush, Jane! you think too much of the love of human beings; you are too impulsive, too vehement; the sovereign hand that created your frame, and put life into it, has provided you with other resources than your feeble self, or than creatures feeble as you. Besides this earth, and besides the race of men, there is an invisible world and a kingdom of spirits: that world is round us, for it is everywhere; and those spirits watch us, for they are commissioned to guard us; and if we were dying in pain and shame, if scorn smote us on all sides, and hatred crushed us, angels see our tortures, recognise our innocence (if innocent we be: as I know you are of this charge which Mr. Brocklehurst has weakly and pompously repeated at second-hand from Mrs. Reed; for I read a sincere nature in your ardent eyes and on your clear front), and God waits only the separation of spirit from flesh to crown us with a full reward. Why, then, should we ever sink overwhelmed with distress, when life is so soon over, and death is so certain an entrance to happiness—to glory?"

(Volume I, Chapter 8, pages 78-79)

In this passage of the novel, Helen has come over to console Jane after she has been humiliated and punished in front of the entire school by Mr. Brocklehurst. Jane is upset and worried of how others will perceive her and Helen responds with the quote. In this passage from Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte uses the angelic character of Helen to further reveal Jane’s role as the Byronic hero of the story.

It is important to notice that it was Helen who discovered Jane crying, and not any other character. So far in the novel, Helen is seen as a tolerant, calm, and accepting person. Helen embodies the qualities of a Christian better than any character and because of this can be trusted as a good judge of character. Therefore, it is important to listen carefully to what Helen says of Jane’s character. The reader’s trust in Helen as a character is further developed and intensified when towards the end of chapter 9 Helen is laying in Miss Temple’s room, under white clothes, dying of consumption. Helen eventually dies is Jane’s arms and her tombstone reads in Latin, “I shall rise again”. The image of Helen wearing white and her tombstone saying that she will one day resurrect evokes the idea of Jesus or an angel. The biblical allusions create a trust in Helen and therefore it becomes easier to believe her when she tells Jane of her “sincere nature in your ardent eyes and on your clear front”.

When Helen walks over to Jane and kneels with her, she begins by trying to calm Jane. Helen then goes into a lengthy and well-orated speech to Jane about how she must not get caught up in what others think of her and about those who do not love her. Whether it was Mrs. Reed or Mr. Brocklehurst, Jane always dealt with adults who never fully understood her or cared enough to try. As Helen continues to speak to Jane, she begins to mention some of Jane’s flaws which include being “too impulsive, too vehement.” Both of these qualities can be those of a Byronic hero; while Jane does have many flaws, she is still destined to do great things. Helene is aware of Jane’s innocence to Mr. Brocklehurst’s accusations and to the fact that Jane has always been rejected by most of the people around her. This rejection, along with her struggles against those of higher rank and privilege such as Mrs. Reed and Mr. Brocklehurst are once again qualities of a Byronic hero.

As Helen continues her speech, she then goes into a lengthy description of heaven and of God, which once again brings up the biblical allusions. Helen lets Jane know that no matter what those around her think of her, it is all meaningless under the most important and final judgment, which is that of God at the gates of heaven. By this reasoning Helen ends her speech with the question, “Why, then should we sink overwhelmed with distress, when life is so soon over, and death is so certain an entrance to happiness- to glory?” This final comment scared Jane a bit because Helen seems so certain of her own death. As eerie as this comment is, however, it seems to leave Jane with a deeper message; it could be interpreted as Helen letting Jane know that she should continue to be herself and do what she needs to as long as it is not sinful because in the end, the only judgment that matters is that of God. Although it might be a stretch, if taken a step further, this long comment by Helen could be thought of as Helen letting Jane know that she is destined for greater things in life. Jane may be rejected by those around her and she may have her flaws, but ultimately she has the backing of a higher power, and thus she is a hero.

Matt Z! said...

“The red-room was a spare chamber, very seldom slept in; I might say never, indeed; unless when a chance influx of visitors at Gateshead Hall rendered it necessary to turn to account all the accommodation it contained: yet it was one of the largest and stateliest chambers in the mansion. A bed supported on massive pillars of mahogany, hung with curtains of deep-red damask, stood out like a tabernacle in the centre; the two large windows, with their blinds always drawn down, were half shrouded in festoons and falls of similar drapery; the carpet was red; the table at the food of the bed was covered with a crimson cloth; the walls were a soft fawn colour, with a blush of pink in it’ the wardrobe, the toilet-table, the chairs were of darkly polished old mahogany. Out of these deep surrounding shades rose high, and glared white, the piled up mattresses and pillows of the bed, spread with a snowy Marseilles counterpane. Scarcely less prominent was an ample, cushioned easy-chair near the head of the bed, also white with a footstool before it and looking, as I thought, like a pale throne.”
(Volume 1, Chapter 2, pages 25-26)

The existence of the “red-room” in the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is a symbolic representation not only of Jane’s imprisonment within the hostile environment that is Gateshead Hall, but also of her enslavement to her own passions and the passions of others. The author uses extensive color imagery and descriptions of furniture in order to portray these vices, as well as foreshadow the entry of an extremely benevolent force into Jane’s life later on in the novel- her friend Helen.

Jane’s experience of isolation is first hinted in the very first sentence of the passage, as the “red-room” (25) is said to be a “spare” (25) room that was “very seldom slept in.” (25) Sleep is used in the passage to represent a restful, peaceful time that is in stark contrast to the fiery, active chaos that tends to permeate Jane’s life at Gateshead Hall. This mention of a “spare” (25) room that is hardly ever “slept in” (25) depicts a room that has been neglected and devoid of the comforts of life, much like Jane herself has been by her “benefactress,” Miss Reed. Being one of the “largest and stateliest chambers in the mansion,” (25-26), the red-room also is described as to contain furniture and structures such as windows that are described as “massive” (26) and “large.” (26) The author’s repetitious use of these words stands in stark contrast to Jane’s frail frame. Jane, being a little girl at the time, has just previously been overpowered by two house servants under orders from Miss Reed to be placed in the red-room as an undeserved punishment. The room’s windows are described as having blinds that are “always drawn down” (26) in a symbolic effort to further contain and oppress anyone who took up residence in the room. Juxtaposition is then set up between Jane’s defeated body and the foreboding yet imprisoning presence of the red-room, as if she were continuously being overpowered long after she had even been placed in the room.

Color imagery is carefully used in this passage in order to materialize one of Jane’s biggest vices- her passion. Prior to this moment, and long after it in the novel, Jane has demonstrated emotional volatility that has surprised not only the other characters in the book, but the readers themselves. This emphasis on powerful emotion is paralleled by the repetitious description of the color “red” (26) in its many forms. The bed is described as having “deep red” (26) curtains that flow down elegantly from its posts, reflecting on the flowing blood issuing from a wound on Jane’s head after her physical altercation with Miss Reed’s son, John. “Deep red” (26) also denotes the darker, more destructive side of passion because of its association with blood. Even the “red” (26) carpets on the floor of the room reflect on how the foundation of Jane’s personality itself is that of passion and energy. The walls of the room, however, are described as being “a soft fawn color, with a blush of pink in it.” (26) These colors, which are more closely related to love and compassion than passion or aggression, contain the room and the contents wherein. This foreshadows the future relationship that Jane will develop with a girl named Helen from her school, who embodies the Christian values of compassion and tolerance. Helen’s personality works to counteract and contain Jane’s warrior passion and aggression, just as the pink walls of the room contain the passionate red carpets and draperies. Helen’s role in Jane’s life is also foreshadowed by the description of the easy chair, the footstool, and the bed in the red-room, which “rose high, and glared white” (26) in blatant contrast with its crimson surroundings. The author chose to describe these items of furniture as “snowy” (26) and “white” (26) because these pieces of furniture are objects of rest and relaxation. The easy chair, bed, or footstool would all serve as a chance to rest for a weary traveler, just as Helen’s purity, symbolized by the color white, offers Jane rest and relief from her otherwise chaotic and passionate lifestyle.

CarlaC said...

How much i wished to reply fully to this question! How difficult it was to frame any answer! Children can feel but they cannot analyze their feelings; and if the analysis is partially effected in thought , they know not how to express the result of the process in words. Fearful however, of losing this first and only opportunity of relieving my grief by imparting it,I, after a disturbed pause, contrived to frame a meager, though as far as it went, true response.

(Volume 1, Chapter 3, pg.35)

Jane Eyre is a little girl whose parents past away when she was at a young age, leaving her in the custody of her aunt and uncle. When her uncle past away the only feelings the rest of the family had towards her was that she was a burden. She was mentally and at times physically abused by the rest of her family. She was locked up in a room of the house called the red room as a punishment for trying to protect herself from the physical assault from her Cousin John. While in the room she had what some would call a break down, or a panic attack and was put in the nursery. The doctor who came to see her was a very kind man who talked to her about what had happened he wanted to be sure she was okay. This was her first and only opportunity to tell some one how she felt and about the things that were happening to her.

This book is narrated through Jane reflecting on her childhood as an adult, so in the paragraph I chose she is looking back on how as a child she knew what it was she felt. Childhood Jane had tendencies to be a bit explosive and because she was still a child she was unable to make the words that would make the doctor really understand that she was being hurt and was deeply sad. Adults feel the same amount as children do, the only difference is adults have the ability to process those emotions and use them constructively. “Children can feel but they cannot analyze their feelings; and if the analysis is partially effected in thought , they know not how to express the result of the process in words”. Charlotte Bronte wanted the reader to see how Jane as an adult is able to understand the mistakes she made as a child, and the faults of children.

Vanessa G. said...

“...it was one of the largest and stateliest chambers in the mansion. A bed supported on massive pillars of mahogany, hung with curtains of deep-red damask, stood out like a tabernacle in the centre...the carpet was red; the table at the foot of the bed was covered with a crimson cloth; the walls were a soft fawn colour, with a blush of pink in it...the piled-up mattresses and pillows of the bed, spread with a snowy Marseilles counterpane...this room was chill, because it seldom had a fire; it was silent...solemn, because it was known to be seldom entered.” (Bronte 15-16).

It is apparent that season has much to do with the opening of novel, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. The season at the time was autumn and is usually associated with death, renewal, and even harvest. The description of the Red Room is extremely significant for the basis of the novel, especially when introducing Jane’s character. In the beginning of the book, Jane is found sitting in the Red Room reading Berwick’s “History of British Birds”. But, what the other characters in the book did not know was that she was hiding behind the red curtains of the Red Room.

The autumn season of the introduction of the novel could possibly represent Mrs. Reed’s dead husband, who had passed away over nine years ago, coincidentally, in the Red Room. It was rare for anyone to enter the Red Room, which proves the build-up of the dust that the house-maid would clean off the furniture. Since there are remnants of dust in the Red Room specifically, Mr. Reed’s presence might still be around lingering about—especially since Mrs. Reed was known to be bitter because of the death of her husband. The remaining dust that would continuously appear in the Red Room also signifies the relationship between him and Jane. “I doubted not—never doubted—that if Mr. Reed had been alive he would have treated me kindly...I thought Mr. Reed’s spirit...might...rise before me in this chamber,” (28-29). The fact that she is clung on Mr. Reed shows how much differently she was treated by him, unlike the other house residents who abuse her. Both Mrs. Reed and Jane are in some way affected by this Red Room.

The colors also play a significant role in the developing story. The “snowy whites” of the Red Room add a winter touch to the chamber. Winter is associated with danger along with frustration, possibly even anger—including the different shades of red: mahogany, fawn, and crimson, also associated with anger, “passion” to sum it up. The room was also a majority of the time cold because since people rarely entered the room, fire was not so much a necessity to warm it up. The chilling atmosphere of the room also adds symbolically that these kinds of emotions are instilled in the room. Jane also adds that the room has a “blush of pink in it”, which is a feminine color. The feminine color pink in the Red Room can also represent the two women that are affected by it. Women are commonly described as the weaker sex, mainly because it is known that women display too much emotion, whereas men show less. Jane, the ten-year old girl narrating the story, characterizes this description. She gives off attitude and sarcasm, even coming out rudely at times, especially towards John Reed, her young master. “What do you want?” I asked, with awkward diffidence, (22). “Wicked and cruel boy!” I said. “You are like a murderer—you are like a slave driver—you are like the Roman emperors!” (23). The manner in which she speaks to John, considering he is her “young master”, would be considered outright, inappropriate, and disrespectful. John had thrown the Berwick book she was reading earlier and told her she was forbidden to read the books from then on. Though Jane fears John, she tries not to show it because she seems to possess a massive amount of pride within her. Even one of the other maids said that Jane had “such a picture of passion!” (24). Jane’s tantrums in the beginning of the novel occur mostly in the Red Room, too.

All-in-all, the Red Room and the colors that are visible in the area play a major role in developing the story and characterizing the people in the novel. Winter and autumn are the two seasons associated in the room and they too provide supporting themes for the story when it comes to relating to the women in the story, that being Jane and Mrs. Reed.

Tzivia H said...

“ ‘I don’t know- it is not easy to describe- nothing striking, but you feel it when he speaks to you: you cannot be always sure whether he is in jest or earnest, whether he is pleased or the contrary; you don’t thoroughly understand him, in short- at least, I don’t: but it is of no consequence, he is a very good master.’

This was all the account I got from Mrs. Fairfax, of her employer and mine. There are people who seem to have no notion of sketching a character, or observing and describing salient points, either in persons or things: the good lady evidently belonged to this class; my queries puzzled, but did not draw her out. Mr. Rochester was Mr. Rochester in her eyes; a gentleman, a landed proprietor- nothing more: she inquired and searched no further, and evidently wondered at my wish to gain a more definite notion of his identity,” (Bronte 112).

The passage, written by Charlotte Bronte in volume 1 of Jane Eyre, becomes central to the idea of identity that manifests itself frequently throughout the book, unearthing both the identity of Jane herself and the enigmatic Mr. Rochester. The profusion of dashes and commas in the first passage, spoken by Mrs. Fairfax, characterizes her inability to be direct when discussing Mr. Rochester. The extra pauses provided by the specific punctuation suggests the greater contemplation and weight given to the subject, and further attests to the indescribable nature of Mr. Rochester. Bronte further employed juxtapositions such as “jest” and “earnest” in parallel sentence structure to convey Rochester’s inability to be singularly characterized. These sort of conflicting, even polarized, emotions and actions suggest Rochester as a Byronic hero within the book.

By the end of the first passage, Mrs. Fairfax concedes that Rochester is “a very good master,” ending her dialogue by cementing Rochester’s identity as only that, a landed aristocrat. As Jane herself later adds, “Mr. Rochester was Mr. Rochester in her [Mrs. Fairfax’s] eyes; a gentleman, a landed proprietor- nothing more…”. In this manner, Bronte creates an image of Mr. Rochester that is inextricably bound to his wealth and property, and that besides Jane, none can separate him from. Thus Bronte creates irony within the passage; until this point it was Jane whose identity hinged on her social standing as she was frequently condemned for her lack of wealth. In noting that Rochester too is evaluated simply on his worldly and material possessions, it seems both the affluent and the poor are bound to a similar fate, where identity depends solely on wealth.

Bronte establishes early in the passage the contrast that forms between Jane and many of the other characters within the book. She offsets Jane by noting that “there are people who seem to have no notion of sketching a character,” conceding that unlike Mrs. Fairfax, Jane does not fall within this aforementioned category. Bronte continues this idea by noting that Mrs. Fairfax questioned Jane’s “wish to gain a more definite notion of his [Mr. Rochester’s] identity.” Unlike Mrs. Fairfax, Jane is not contented with merely the surface information provided on Mr. Rochester- that he was “a landed proprietor.”

A similar shift in tone between the two passages, noting the change in speakers, further conveys Jane’s divergence from the other characters. While Mrs. Fairfax’s tone is ambivalent and affable, as dictated by her social position, Jane is much more direct even at times bordering self-important. Jane analyzed Mrs. Fairfax’s inability to characterize Rochester as a flaw, noting “the good lady evidently belonged to this class;” the class being those who were content merely considering Rochester a proprietor and master. Bronte used Mr. Rochester’s identity or lack thereof as a device to establish Jane’s own identity, one that is not content with the status quo.

Mels1619 said...

"And I clasped my arms closer round Helen; she seemed dearer to me than ever; I felt as if I could not let her go; I lay with my face hidden on her neck. Presently she said in the sweetest tone,--'How comfortable I am! That last fit of coughing has tired me a little; I feel as if I could sleep: but don't leave me, Jane; I like to have you near me.'
'I'll stay with you, dear Helen: no one shall take me away.'
'Are you warm, darling?'
'Yes.'"

Chapter 9, pg. 90

This passage represents the first true friendship Jane creates with another orphan, Helen. Both Orphans create this scene where the audience feels sympathetic towards them. For Helen, she has found someone to spend the last minutes of her life with, As for Jane, she has found finally a person that does not want her to leave.

Helen, represents a massive importance to Jane. For the first time in her life, Jane felt that something was leaving her for good and it was hurting her. The friendship these two girls created represent their loneliness and pain. They had so much in common that at one point they formed this pact where they would look up to each other.

The passage written above, include both Helen and Jane but in a way, there are two more hidden characters. Since these two orphans have pretty much been alone their whole lives, they are able to create this character, a character that they want to have by their sides such as a mother, a father, a just someone who cares about them. In this passage, Helen creates the character of a ‘mother’, she explained to Jane earlier that she doesn’t have a mother so she acts to Jane like a mother, like the mother she never had. While Jane, creates this character of a child who does have a mother. Just like Helen, she didn’t have a mother who took care of her, so having Helen hugging her, asking her if she’s warm, and telling her to not leave her, it makes Jane feel like a child with a family.

This short moment impacted both girls. It was probably one of the best moments of their lives, even though Helen was about to die. The reader gets to see how badly Jane and Helen are in need of love and someone to truly take care of them. Bronted wanted to show how easily humans can get attach to one another when one is feeling lonely and with pain. She successfully creates this image of two orphans saying bye to one another as one is about to take a trip to never come back.

Michaela I. said...

Page 43, 7th Paragraph

For some brief context, in this scene Mr. Brocklehurst visits Gateshead and summons Jane. Jane makes note of what she observes concerning his physical appearance and then he questions Jane on her behavior and character and the following exchange occurs.

In uttering these words, I looked up: he seemed to me a tall gentleman; but then I was very little; his features were large, and they and all the lies of his frame were equally harsh and prim.
“Well, Jane Eyre, and are you a good child?”
Impossible to reply to this in the affirmative: my little world held a contrary opinion: I was silent. Mrs. Reed answered for me by an expressive shake of the head, adding soon, “Perhaps the less said on that subject the better, Mr. Brocklehurst.”
"Sorry indeed to hear it! she and I must have some talk;" and bending from the perpendicular, he installed his person in the arm- chair opposite Mrs. Reed's. "Come here," he said.
I stepped across the rug; he placed me square and straight before him. What a face he had, now that it was almost on a level with mine! what a great nose! and what a mouth! and what large prominent teeth!
“No sight so sad as that of a naughty child," he began, "especially a naughty little girl. Do you know where the wicked go after death?"
"They go to hell," was my ready and orthodox answer.
"And what is hell? Can you tell me that?"
"A pit full of fire."
"And should you like to fall into that pit, and to be burning there for ever?"
"No, sir."
"What must you do to avoid it?"
I deliberated a moment; my answer, when it did come, was objectionable: "I must keep in good health, and not die."
"How can you keep in good health? Children younger than you die daily. I buried a little child of five years old only a day or two since,--a good little child, whose soul is now in heaven. It is to be feared the same could not be said of you were you to be called hence." Not being in a condition to remove his doubt, I only cast my eyes down on the two large feet planted on the rug, and sighed, wishing myself far enough away.
"I hope that sigh is from the heart, and that you repent of ever having been the occasion of discomfort to your excellent benefactress."
"Benefactress! benefactress!" said I inwardly: "they all call Mrs. Reed my benefactress; if so, a benefactress is a disagreeable thing."

This passage is exemplary of the conflict between perception of the outside and internal truth. Throughout volume one of Jane Eyre, the words “silence” and “sound” are used frequently. Here specifically, Jane reveals that her true, sincere sentiments are contained silently within her when she says, “my little world held a contrary opinion” and “Benefactress! benefactress!” said I inwardly: "they all call Mrs. Reed my benefactress; if so, a benefactress is a disagreeable thing” It appears that whenever the truth is present it is present in silence rather than outward declaration or if the truth is vocalized, it often tends to come in the form of an uncontrolled passionate outburst. It also appears that much of what is said, especially what is said by Mr. Brocklehurst, and the Reeds, is false. For example, Mr. Brocklehurst proclaims his Christian doctrine when in actuality he is a self-indulgent hypocrite and Mrs. Reed is often vocalizing lies about Jane Eyre’s behavior. This quote shows the separation of truth and falsities in relation to or in terms of internal and external expression. Also outward appearance is given much attention in the novel so far. The first part of this quote, when Jane is describing Mr. Brocklehurst, she is viewing him through with a skewed viewpoint. To expand, Jane is a child and rather small, therefore she falsely gauges Mr. Brocklehurst’s size. Vision allows a person to perceive the outside, and in this case vision perceives what is false since so far in this novel the external is often false. Again this part of the quote reiterates the idea of false appearances, false external interpretation.

Appearances throughout the novel have proved to be rather deceiving. The ideal, pleasant façade at Gateshead and Mr. Brocklehurst false projections of piety and self-deprivation are a couple examples. This quote makes an indirect point about perspective when gauging appearances. Jane says, “but then I was very little”, therefore she realizes that Mr. Brocklehurst’s size may have appeared exaggerated. Appearance proved deceitful due to a skewed perspective. This connects to the idea that what is external to one’s person can often be false because such external elements are often sensitive and dependent on perspective. The author is making a statement about the superficial thought, and what is perceived by the senses, in other words, the tangible. More specifically she is denouncing reliance on the senses alone and is perhaps is advocating the use of emotion, intuition, and abilities of interpretation that stem from the mind. When Jane produces a witty, atypical answer to Mr. Brocklehurst’s question about hell, the idea of looking past the common or the superficial is apparent. Jane clearly utilizes a logic that is deeper than a superficial understanding of how to avoid damnation to hell. Another point concerning the reliability of the narrator includes the fact that children, because of their stature, their underdeveloped minds and immature understanding of the world, tend to generally have distorted interpretations. This factor can cause the reader to question their trust in the narrator who is recalling her thoughts as a child.

The novel is somewhat critical of Christian doctrine or rather the interpretation and use of Christian doctrine by people, particularly adults. In this case Mr. Brocklehurst is defending his argument by using aspects of Christian belief as a way to produce fear and to punish. In earlier parts of the novel Mrs. Reed uses Christian beliefs to support her distorted arguments against Jane. This interpretation of Christian doctrine stands in contrast of how children like Helen interpret the Bible. Helen approaches Christianity in a more sensible manner. She, more so than Mr. Brocklehurst, considers the calm, rational, pious side of Christianity rather than focusing on the negative. Again these conflicting interpretations can connect back to the idea of perspective: the adult perspective versus that of children. Another connection to the points made above includes the idea of sound versus silence and what is true versus what is false. Helen who tends to be a quiet child preaches a true explanation of Christian doctrine, while Mr. Brocklehurst, who is a much more vocal character preaches a skewed Christian message. This reiterates the point that what is silent and internal is true while what is vocalized and external tends to be false.

Note to Mr. Gallagher: I meant to post during my period 7 study today but when I plugged in my flash drive I found that my blog post didn't save on it so I just posted when I got home.

Pretty Lady said...

Passage from Volume 1 Chapter 1 page 24:
He ran headlong at me: I felt him grasp my hair and my shoulder: he had closed with a desperate thing. I really saw in him a tyrant: a murderer. I felt a drop or two of blood from my head trickle down my neck, and was sensible of somewhat pungent suffering: these sensations, for the time predominated over fear, and I received him in frantic sort. I don't very well know what I did with my hands, but he called me "Rat! rat!" and bellowed out aloud. Aid was near him: Eliza and Georgiana had run for Mrs. Reed, who was gone up stairs; she now came upon the scene, followed by Bessie and her maid Abbot. We were parted: I heard the words: --
"Dear! dear! What a fury to fly at Master John!"
"Did ever anybody see such a picture of passion!"
Then Mrs. Reed subjoined: --
"Take her away to the red-room, and lock her in there." Four hands were immediately laid upon me, and I was borne up stairs.

In this passage, Charlotte Bronte parallels the characters, Jane and John, to a Jesus and Jewish figure. On a superficial level, this passage provides a glimpse of the main character's daily life and what she is forced to overcome on a normal day at the Reeds: she is forever stuck in a lose-lose situation: if she does not fight back with John she gets beaten up, if she does fight back she gets punished. The fight between Jane and John also helps to develop each character's personality: John, symbolizing the Jewish (or Roman) figure, is an instigator, harmful to others, a liar, and takes pride in seeing others suffer; whereas Jane, representing Jesus, is trampled on, blamed for wrong she did not do, is humiliated and forced to endure a punishment. Similarly, the person of Jesus in the Bible, just before being crucified suffers immense torture and emotional damages, just as Jane does.

To better connect her work to the universally known life of Jesus, Bronte carefully chooses her words. In her passage, Bronte uses words to create an imagery that outlines major events and/or symbols in Jesus' life. From "head," parallel to the thorns Jesus was forced to wear, to "hands," which in his case, were nailed to the cross, to "laid upon," representing Jesus laying in his tomb, the words used in the paragraph create a strong imagery to Jesus' life. John symbolises the "murderer" who crucified Jesus, spilling the savior's "blood" and "suffering" for all to see. Jane, enclosed with "fear" is forced to tolerate his abuse and is eventually taken away and thrown in a tomb-like room. Also, Bronte includes key words such as: "we were parted," (as in Jesus died and was parted from this humanly world) "passion," (as in the passion Jesus had for the sinners) "take her away... lock her in there," (representing Jesus being taken to the sepulcher) and "I was borne upstairs" (parallel to Jesus' return to heaven) not only to summarize the death of Jesus, but also to illustrate what happened to Him thereafter. The audience realizes that resembling Jesus' death, Jane's life will be difficult and undesirable, but in the end she will be honored and praised, eventually resting in happiness.

In this passage, Bronte uses a play on words and names to continue her references with the Bible. Ironically and not-coincidentally, both John's and Jane's name means "God is gracious." In Jane's case the name meaning is ironic because God has not been so gracious to her. Living in a hostile environment, treated as a servant, cruelly punished, and left to crave a life like her cousins one would believe God to be severe and unkind. With John, his name's meaning is ironic in the sense that it defeats the "gracious;" John's character lives an abundant lifestyle, but is far to being gracious to those around him. Both characters do not live up to their names, representing the flaw in Jane's heroic figure. Bronte puns the word "borne" in this passage. Jane's character is brought upstairs, but can the "borne" is used to sound like Jane was born upstairs--as in her soul was created by God at that instant and she became a new person. Or perhaps the "borne" can be used to symbolize Jane's awareness of an "upstairs," causing her to question religion in controversial ways, making her religiously flawed or impaired.

This passage is furthermore ironic. Put through an agonizing torture for a simple action, Jane's punishment is easily connected with Jesus' death, from which we can deduce that Jane's future life will be a blessed one... for an ironic ending, Bronte will have Jane suffer in the end. Because Jane a flawed hero, does not follow the established doctrines of liking the Bible, or obeying it's strange commands she is prone to having a different outcome then Jesus did, even though she is the Jesus figure. Additionly, what is ironic about this scene is that Jane is not only being punished for wrong doings she did not commit, but unlike Jesus, Jane is a female, which means that the audience can expect a an ironic ending.

Overall, this passage is significant, because it relates to one of the universally known stories, giving it deep meaning and allowing the audience to better connect to the overall message of the novel. Though the fight is early on in the book, after making the Biblical connection the audience can continue to make parallel references to Jane and Jesus, or possibly to John and the Jews. This passage serves as a backbone to the future character development of Jane. By casting a female verison of a Christ figure, Bronte is perhaps retelling the story and answering the question of "What if Jesus were a woman?" Her female perspective of a Jesus figure adds to the plot, and portrays an interesting view of how the life of Jesus would have been different, if he was in fact a woman.

emily said...

"All John Reed's violent tyrannies, all his sisters' proud indifference, all his mother's aversion, all the servants' partiality, turned up in my disturbed mind like a dark deposit in a turbid well. Why was I always suffering, always browbeaten, always accused, for ever condemned? Why could I never please? Why was it useless to try to win any one's favour? Eliza, who was headstrong and selfish, was respected. Georgiana, who had a spoiled temper, a very acrid spite, a captious and insolent carriage, was universally indulged. Her beauty, her pink cheeks and golden curls, seemed to give delight to all who looked at her, and to purchase indemnity for every fault. John no one thwarted, much less punished; though he twisted the necks of the pigeons, killed the little pea-chicks, set the dogs at the sheep, stripped the hothouse vines of their fruit, and broke the buds off the choicest plants in the conservatory: he called his mother "old girl," too; sometimes reviled her for her dark skin, similar to his own; bluntly disregarded her wishes; not unfrequently tore and spoiled her silk attire; and he was still "her own darling." I dared commit no fault: I strove to fulfill every duty; and I was termed naughty and tiresome, sullen and sneaking, from morning to noon, and from noon to night." (page 27)

In Volume I, Chapter 2 of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, Jane is banished to the "red room" for an altercation that occurred between herself and her cousin John, with whom she lives. Jane is forced to sit alone in the room, and proceeds on her current situation as she does so; this reflection serves to characterize Jane and appears to foreshadow central themes that will be illustrated throughout the rest of the novel-the contrast between rich and poor, men and women, and Jane's constant struggle with her social standing.

Bronte's use of the phrase "a dark deposit in a turbid well" to describe Jane's thoughts at the beginning of the paragraph sets a gloomy tone for the rest of the paragraph. This denotes Jane's extreme unhappiness with her life in the Reed house, and lays the groundwork for her to brood about her place within the family.

One of the most notable things it Bronte's use of rhetorical questions at the beginning of the passage. All of the questions begin with "why," demonstrating that they are questions that do not have concrete answers and are instead used for contemplation by Jane, and as a result, the reader. As indicated by the past tense in which the novel is written, the reflection came after the incident; instead of saying "why am I always suffering" Jane asks "why was I always suffering;" this indicates that she is still baffled by the way the household was run. For this reason, instead of attempting to answer these questions in the remainder of the paragraph, Jane chooses to provide justification for asking them. In doing this, Bronte characterizes Jane as having pride and a strong sense of morality, without coming off as having an overly developed sense of self-pity.

It is important to note that the passage opens by discussing John Reed rather than his sisters or his mother. Although it appears as though this is simply because he is the reason Jane is currently sequestered in the red room, it is also symbolic of not only Jane's, but women in general's subordination to men throughout the novel. Throughout the passage, Jane focuses on John more so than his sisters; she does discuss their faults to a certain extent, however she clearly holds John in greater contempt. Jane does not seem to have a personal aversion to Georgiana and Eliza, just a feeling of disrespect for their attitudes and the praise it receives them. At length she points out John's flaws, and the list of ethical infringements he has committed-for example, hurting animals-reinforces Jane's sense of justice. Jane's struggle with her inadequacy in comparison to a male character will be demonstrated throughout the rest of the novel.

These few lines also imply Jane's complex social status; although she lives in the same house with these three children and is raised by the same mother, they are "universally indulged" while Jane is "for ever condemned." The fact that John "blunted disregarded [his mother's] wishes" creates a further contrast between Jane and John as she continues on to describe her unyielding obedience. She describes herself as being a nearly perfectly behaved child, and is therefore clearly only rejected as a full fledged member of the household because she is a poor orphan. Although John misbehaves and Jane does not, he is referred to as his mother's "own darling, " where as Jane is "termed naughty and tiresome, sullen and sneaking." Her unequal standing in the house is furthered by her comment in the first sentence about the "servants' partiality;" even the servants, who would in theory be the lowest social class in the hierarchy of the household, feel no reason or obligation to treat her as they would the Reed children.

The last sentence indicates a slight shift in Jane's attitude toward her lifestyle and indicates an slight vulnerability in her character; she states that she "dared commit no fault," implying that she behaved well more for fear of the consequences if she did not than because she knew it was right. Although this does not necessarily undermine Jane's moral conduct, it reminds the reader that despite her intelligence and maturity, Jane is still only a child.