Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Volume 2: Jane Eyre blog posts

Attention to Detail! by Noriko Ambe

2008
Cut on catalogues of "Attention to Detail - Curated by Chuck Close" at Flag Art Foundation
12 1/4 (H) x 14 1/2 (W) x 11 1/2 (D) inches
31(H) x 36.8(W) x 29.2(D)cm

Flag Art Foundation collection.


In full disclosure: I did not come up with these topics, but I do like them. I would cite or reference this, but I don’t know from where it came.

Topics for Thursday. April 14th, 2011:

Topic A: In Chapter 10, Jane provides a summary of her feelings and mental state at this point. What is the significance of this passage as a description of Jane’s inner state, and how does it match what we have learned of Jane’s character? What is the significance of her going to the top of the building to make this self-assessment? Is it significant that, almost directly after making this plea, her wish is granted? Does it not seem as though events seem almost to be caused or precipitated by her subjective feelings?

In an equivalent passage, the opening paragraphs of Chapter 12 (the famous “stiller doom” passage) Jane again craves excitement, and very shortly afterward it happens when she encounters Rochester for the first time. What does this passage say about Jane and her ‘self’? Does it confirm her as a ‘Romantic’ character? What is the significance of her ‘Feminist’ sentiments (and it might be worth noting that, in Mary Wollstencraft, there was a close affinity between Feminism and the Romantic movement)? Are both passages further examples of Jane’s sense of frustration at feeling ‘imprisoned’, and how accurately does this tally with Rochester’s assessment of Jane in Chapter 19?

Topic B: In Chapter 12, Jane first encounters Rochester. What significance do you find in the way that he is introduced, the background, use of imagery, etc.? In what ways is he established as a ‘Byronic’ hero from the start?

At two key points, in Chapter 13 and Chapter 27, Rochester and Jane have a discussion, culminating in the moment of choice for Jane. What do you think is revealed by these exchanges? How relevant is it here to bring in ideas of Rochester as the Byronic hero who must be educated?

Half of you will partake in a SRD on one of the Topics. The other half of you will make an extended blog post (1,000 words) addressing the other topic. *see note at bottom of post


Topics for Friday, April 15th, 2011:

Topic C: In Chapter 13, Jane shows Rochester her paintings. What do these tell you? What significance do you find in the imagery and description of these? Does the novel give any clues as to the source of these paintings?

What are we to make of Jane’s responses to the reality of Blanche Ingram? Look at the end of Chapter 16 and then at Chapter 17 “Genius is said to be self-conscious…”. You might also look at Chapter 18: “I have told you, reader, that I had learnt to love Mr. Rochester…”. What do these passages tell us about Jane? What are we to make of Jane’s point of view as the victim? What are the effects of the change of tense in the second extract? Do you detect any elements of masochism or self- martyring in these passages?

Topic D: What do you think is the significance of the retelling of dreams by both Jane and Rochester? What do they show? Look at Chapter 25: “No, no, sir: besides the delicacy and richness of the fabric…”, “I dreamt another dream, sir…”, at Chapter 27: “That night I never thought to sleep…”, or at the final paragraph of Chapter 15.

What strikes you about the use of the ‘Gothic’ passages in these chapters, particularly in Chapter 15, “I tried again to sleep…’”) and the beginning of Chapter 20.

Finally, what do you notice about the use of imagery and symbolism in these chapters? You might look at the lightning episode at the end of Chapter 23.

Half of you will partake in a SRD on one of the Topics. The other half of you will make an extended blog post (1,000 words) addressing the other topic. *see note at bottom of post


* I'm much more interested in the depth and specificity of your answers (analyzing how the text works) than generalities. Click here for passage explication handout. You should use some of these strategies. Also, you will be graded on the APE Rubric.

Post here and please remember to put an extra space between paragraphs for easier reading. I want you all to be able to read these posts.

34 comments:

KKatz said...
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Rachael S said...
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Rachael S said...
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R. Gallagher said...

for Rachael Solano Part 1

Blog Post for Topic C:

In chapter thirteen, we find out that Jane has been commanded by Mr. Rochester to show him the paintings she has completed. Jane seems timid (or even bashful?) and wheels the paintings out into view. As usual when people first interact with him, Mr. Rochester initially appears to be angry and controlling, it is almost as if he is forcing Jane to showcase her artwork for him in the library. However, once he sees the paintings he immediately reprimands Adele and Mrs. Fairfax for looking at them and demands her to view the paintings only after he has. Though she is his elder, Mr. Rochester feels as though he has the power to deny Mrs. Fairfax access to see the paintings solely because he owns the house she resides in. Mr. Rochester’s intense interrogation of Jane is another way he infiltrates his position of power onto the people residing in his house. Likewise Mr. Rochester, not the father of Adele but essentially her caretaker, often scolds the little girl and chides her for her impatience. However, it does not seem as if Adele is acting out when Mr. Rochester yells at her most of the time, she seems to be acting as a child should- excited and curious about the world around her.



I find the character of Adele to be very interesting. Initially when reading, I found her to be the inverse of Jane. Unlike Jane, Adele knew her mother when she was alive. This is the opposite of Jane who reveals very little information about both her maternal and paternal lives before she is sent to reside with the Reed family. When reading, I found it to be intriguing how Jane has become the governess of Adele when it seems that Adele is often sticking up or guiding Jane in a sense. It seems that the bold nature of Adele is reflected in how Mr. Rochester has raised her until her time at his mansion.



Also, to go off of the idea of how Adele seems more fiery and passionate than Jane does at this point in the novel, I found her character to be almost of comic relief in the story. In the scene when Mr. Rochester is throwing the party for all of his friends and Jane is obviously dragged into attending when she is clearly too shy, I thought it was humorous how Adele is sort of just there hanging around with all of the prim and proper adults who think she is adorable. I thought this was Bronte’s way of taking an almost too awkward situation and turning it into something funny. I think the inclusion of Adele in this scene also takes the focus away from Jane and Mr. Rochester’s relationship for a brief moment in time. The novel seems like a twisted, reversed love story to me. I have trouble seeing the intent behind Mr. Rochester’s actions throughout the entire book (from his past, with Adele and Celine in France) to the time in his life when he traveled around the globe and finally the time in which he stays at home in the house with Mrs. Fairfax, Adele and Jane. At first, I thought that Mr. Rochester gave the aura of someone who is very angry and full of intent. It seemed to me that he knew exactly what his plans were and what he was capable of with both his social class and money. A few chapters later, however, and I found Mr. Rochester seeming kind of pathetic. We touched upon this in class, but, I thought the conversation he has with Adele about how he will capture Jane on the moon showed how pathetic he was. Originally, I thought that the quote was supposed to be nice and endearing, since he is bragging about how he wants to keep Jane to himself. Later, I thought that the quote was just one of the many examples in which Mr. Rochester is subtly oppressing Jane because of both her gender and social class. Obviously, this is a recurring theme throughout the book. I think it is fascinating how Bronte, through he writing, is creating bold statements about gender roles in society with both her novel AND by including the preface by “Currer Bell” in the beginning of the novel.

R. Gallagher said...

for Rachael Solano Part 2

Does anybody feel particularly strongly about whether Mr. Rochester is the father of Adele or not? Based on the craziness that happens at the end of Volume 2 (with the insane pyro-maniac wife and all) I am at a loss about who to believe in this story anymore. I think it’s intriguing to see how we instantly trust what Jane, the narrator, recalls about this story of her life even though she clearly indicates that all of these events have happened at least a decade ago. I think there can be a parallel drawn to Hamlet here because, as in that play, we automatically find ourselves trusting the protagonist of the novel and believe their words over others. Could this be Bronte trying to manipulate us further?



In this post I also wanted to dissect the quote “Genius is said to be self-conscious…” which is located in Chapter Seventeen. At a first glance, this quote can seem almost like a paradox, because if a person is truly a genius then they should not be self conscious about whether their intelligence level is high or not. This quote raises the point that perhaps people who are genius are not as bright as they think they are. It communicates the point that we, as people, cannot all be good at everything. There is not a person on the planet without some type of fault because we all make errors and mistakes and need to improve ourselves in one way or another. At a deeper look, the quote brings about the issue that being a true genius is only in the mind of the thinker. Like the phrase “beauty is only in the eye of the beholder” this is a parallel quote because perhaps people are only made into geniuses because others think that their intelligence level is abnormally high or they themselves have been manipulated into thinking this way.

R. Gallagher said...

for Alfonse Femino

To start off, I would like to talk about the paintings that Jane Eyre created, their effects, what they symbolize, how they are used to create meaning, ext… Jane originally introduces the paintings without much enthusiasm or care, saying “I will tell you, reader, what they are: and first, I must premise that they are nothing wonderful.”p.131. In describing her paintings as “nothing wonderful,” Jane immediately shows her lack of confidence in anything she makes an attempt to do. What this also does is puts a reader in a position to look for fault in her description of the paintings, because the only background information we have as viewers is the image of some plain, average paintings, which is directly related our imagery of Jane Eyre has Jane Eyre just being a plain and average looking person.



In painting one, Jane uses the vivid detail as a way of expressing her view of her own life. She describes the first picture: The first represented clouds, low and livid, rolling over a swollen sea.” Here, she sees herself as low, unimportant, and meaningless, just going through the motions of a “swollen sea” or world that does not understand what beauty really is. She continues “All the distance was in eclipse…for there was no land,” meaning that as hard as she searches, there is no hope in sight for her. The meaning of the poem does however become a bit more uplifting, as she describes it as “One gleam of light lifted into relief a half-submerged mast, on which sat a cormorant, dark and large, with wings flecked with foam; its beak held a gold bracelet, set with gems, that I had touched with as brilliant tints as my palette could yield…” In describing this bird, Jane is saying that there is a chance that she might obtain freedom and peace in her life, the bird, with its “gold bracelet,” representing Mr. Rochester, who is serving as Jane’s last hope. Also, there is a bird because the bird represents freedom of life, the ability to go anywhere in the sky, and overall the idea of a bird soaring through the sky naturally creates an uplifting tone. However, the painting takes yet another shift, catching the reader off guard. Jane Eyre says “Sinking below the bird and mast, a drowned corpse glanced through the green water; a fair arm was the only limb clearly visible, whence the bracelet had been washed or torn.” To start off, the drowned corpse once again shows how Jane Eyre views herself and her life as unimportant, and useless, just like a dead corpse. As I have mentioned before, the bracelet was representative of Mr. Rochester, and the place where it was “washed or torn,” shows that she will never really be with Mr. Rochester, and all she will ever be to him is just a rag or mechanism to wash Mr. Rochester.

R. Gallagher said...

for Alfonse Femino Part 2


Jane uses her second picture to once again show how she specifically feels about her life and what she has become. She says “The second picture contained for foreground only the dim peak of a hill, with grass and some leaves slanting as if by breeze.” Here, the dim peak can represent the lift that Jane Eyre would like to one day get to, however his dream is just a dim speck in the distance, an unachievable goal. She then mentions a women at the top of the hill, and describes her as; “The dim forehead was crowded with a star…The eyes shown dark and wild; the hair streamed shadowy, like a beamless cloud torn by storm or by electric travail.” First off, the dim forehead being crowded with a star means Jane’s poor mind is corrupted and crammed with all these ideas of one day being important, and feeling as though she actually has meaning in somebody’s life, and this strong desire eventually leads her mind to become so distorted that her eyes are wild, and she cannot even focus on her reality. To Reiterate the beamless cloud can by symbolic of Jane’s mind, which was distorted by the “storm or by elecretic travail,” both of which represent the desire that Jane has to one day have meaning. Finally, the faint reflection on her neck means once again that all of Jane’s desires to attain meaning is but a vague, distant dream, far beyond the reality of her unimportance.



The final painting does not create meaning of how Jane views her life as much as it represents what Jane is destined for, and determined to do. It starts off with “The Pinnacle of an iceberg piercing a polar winter sky: a muster of northern lights reared their dim lances, close serried, along the horizon.” The iceberg means the incredibly high ambitions that Jane has, and it’s rising into the sky shows that Jane desperately wants to higher her importance. There is also a figure alongside the iceberg, described as “a colossal head,” with “Two thin hands, joined under the forehead…a brow quite bloodless…an eye hollowed and fixed, blank of meaning.” This figure could possibly be Jane, with her hollowed, unimportant figure, with this stare into what she wants to be holding absolutely no significance. The last line of the paragraph “The shape which shape had none,” can also be symbolic of Jane, because she is this figure, with all of this potential, however it is simply not used.
Next, I want to talk about Jane and Blanche Ingram. It is evident from the start that there is a sort of tension between the two, as Jane did not feel comfortable being around people of such importance, such as Ingram. As Jane’s love for Rochester grows over time, her feelings towards Ingram become even more hostile and intense. At first, she speaks of Ingram’s beauty, describing it to be so bright and wonderful that it makes Jane feel less about herself, as she describes herself to be plain and boring. When Rochester announces to Jane that he wishes to marry Ingram, Jane becomes infuriated, claiming that all Ingram has to her is her looks, and she can never intellectually please him. Jane is basically victimized in the presence of Blanche Ingram, because it is evident that Ingram is only interested in Rochester for his money (she became moody after the fortune teller told her Rochester isn’t that rich) and Ingram is empty-headed, and all she is, is a bright smile, and pretty face, while Jane on the other hand has a world of knowledge and character, and she knows that she can truly please Rochester, something Blanche could never do, even with her looks. Rochester in the end does see through Ingram, and realizes what he truly wants, showing that beauty truly “is in the eyes of the gazer,” and that in life a mind can take a person far beyond what looks can.

KKatz said...
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KKatz said...
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KKatz said...
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KKatz said...

TOPIC D (part 1): The whole interaction with Jane and Rochester about dreams and even dreams for Jane in general are very interesting. What I have noticed about Jane is that she does not really like to fantasize or stray from the reality of her life, but she is constantly found day-dreaming throughout the chapters.

I think that these day-dreams represent this side of Jane suppressing her desires and what she wants. If you pay very close attention to the details of dreams, you can see the these dreams reveal the emotions that Jane hides in order to be this "ideal Victorian woman." By looking at the details of this dream, it kind of makes me think about what is going to happen in the future. Maybe there are warnings of future events. They reflect this fear that Jane hides from herself and the other characters. I think what has freaked her out the most and is making her day-dream more frequently is that marrying Rochester will alter her identity. Jane will have to become this "Mrs. Rochester," the new identity that she will assume after marriage.

As for more of the gothic imagery that Bronte describes in chapter 15 is when Jane experiences something so "inception-like" on a “drearily dark,” depressing night. It is not the first time Jane hears wild “goblin laughter.” The laughter is really creepy, like “a demoniac laugh; low, suppressed, and deep, muttered, at the very keyhole of [her] chamber-door.” (ch. 15, pg. 176)

There is not any real explanation to what is happening to Jane and to the other characters at this part of the novel. After Jane is scared to death, she finds Rochester’s room on fire. Jane can’t understand why “Grace Pool” would do such a thing. Maybe she is possessed by a demon or something. It reminds me of the exorcist. What is happening can't be caused by Grace Pool. Maybe it is Rochester's secret that he keeps locked up in the third story tower; it is his crazy wife, Bertha. She is possessed, bewitched, and a murder hungry psycho. This secret has controlled Rochester's life and his happiness, and is still effecting it and eventually effecting Jane’s happiness and her well being. This secret leads Jane and Rochester to call off the wedding and part ways. Bertha represents parts of Bronte's gothic theme because she is a life threatening creature, which imposes fear and danger, causing tragic and strange events to take place.

KKatz said...

TOPIC D (part 2): You can see more of the contrast between Rochester and Jane because of Rochester's feelings. The way he describes the house as being a "mere dungeon," while for Jane it is a "splendid mansion." Jane sees only the glamour of the place, and he sees the gilding as slime, the silk draperies as cobwebs, the marble as "sordid slate." Jane is unable to see below the surface to the secret residing within Rochester's domestic space. Under the domestic tranquility lies a monstrous secret — in the form of the psychotic woman who lives on the third floor. The fact that Jane is unable to see below the surface of the house also reflects that she is unable to see under the surface of herself and become herself.
TOPIC D (part 3): Oh, imagery and symbolism! I think that Rochester's ex-wife Bertha represents all the subconscious rage and pain experienced by Bronte. Bertha can be locked away, kept secret, and labeled as insane, but nobody can deny her intensity or power: she’s sexually potent, smart, and ruthless. Nobody can kill her, either, because she seems to be invincible. But she chooses to commit suicide. If Bertha is representative of Bronte, then what would it mean if Bronte killed off her supposed "twin" as she’s writing?


Bronte uses water and fire as symbols and imagery. For fire, it represents all of the passions within the characters and how it can provide warmth and comfort but can also can "burn" a character. Water, being the enemy of fire, represents straight reason and logic without any passion; it is cold.

Jane has this sort of "fire" within her because she is unable to control her passions and emotions. If you go back to when Jane was locked up in the red room, it represents the punishment for Jane being overly passionate. She needs to be in a cold environment and control herself. You could also think of this in terms of social limitations and how Jane is held back and can not search for expression of herself and her passions.

In terms of Jane and water, because she is so overly passionate, Jane sees water as being locked out of her passion and emotions. Water is the undesirable passion that many of the contrasting characters to Jane experience.

We can also look at water and fire in terms of Rochester. Rochester represents the temptation of Jane's passion over her logical reasoning. He offers Jane the temptation of finding love and being able to express herself and her passions.

Bronte also uses fire and water imagery, in the person of Bertha Mason, to show the potential dangers of allowing only passion to rule uncontrolled. Bertha represents unleashed, untamed passion, without any reason or control.

KKatz said...

TOPIC D (part 2 continued): Bronte uses nature comment on the human relationship with the outdoors and human nature itself. If you go back to the start of Rochester and Jane’s relationship, you can see this natural connection. There is quote that says "It was not without a certain wild pleasure I ran before the wind delivering my trouble of mind to the measureless air-torrent thundering through space. Descending the laurel-walk, I faced the wreck of the chestnut tree; it stood up, black and riven: the trunk, split down the center, gaped ghastly.” This passage is sort of an analogy to the relationship of Rochester and Jane. Once Jane Eyre left Lowood and arrived at Thornfield, the relationship between her and Mr. Rochester seems to develop steadily. This only stands true until the night the lightning strikes the chestnut tree. You see their relationship starting to blossom. And a lot these symbols and images of nature take us through the course of Rochester and Jane’s relationship.

Renee S. said...

for Friday, April 15, 2011
Topic C

In chapter 13, Mr. Rochester invites Jane and Adele to have tea. Automatically, I noticed that there was a contradiction between the way Mr. Rochester was acting toward Jane and they way he felt about her paintings. Mr. Rochester seems to be abrupt and cold. For instance on page 129, Mr. Rochester tells Jane, “You have lived the life of a nun: no doubt you are well drilled in religious forms…” It seems that Mr. Rochester is taking on the characteristics of Mr. Brocklehurst, the parson who directs Lowood. Jane does not like Brocklehurst because he is “a harsh man…at once pompus and meddling.” Though he is acting this way, Rochester is charmed by Jane’s drawings, or paintings rather.

The first painting “represented clouds low and livid, rolling over a swollen sea: all the distance was in eclipse; so, too, was the foreground; or rather, the nearest billows, for there was no land.” Bronte reveals her knowledge of the Bible by describing this first painting. Especially when she explains “As I saw them with the spiritual eye, before I attempted to embody them, they were striking; but my hand would not second my fancy, and in each case it had wrought out but a pale portrait of the thing I had conceived. This first painting though it is a bleak scene of a shipwreck portrays a cormorant. Cormorants are medium to large seabirds. They are costal rather than oceanic birds, and some have colonized inland waters. But, there is something important in this painting. At first I believed it to be the cormorant itself but instead, it is actually the gold bracelet that is dangling in the birds mouth. There is a link between this painting and the portrait of Blanche Ingram. The jewelry makes me believe that the cormorant is made to directly represent Ingram. What I find interesting is that Jane painted the portrait of Ingram before they actually met. So this painting acts as a foreshadow of Ingram’s character. Jane’s painting creates feelings of desolation and despair, feelings that she has encountered and still embodies such emotions. The reader becomes aware that the nature of this painting shows the disdain that Ingram has for women below her, or her social inferiors.

Renee S. said...

Topic C continued


The second picture contained “for foreground only the dim peak of a hill, with grass and some leaves slanting as if by a breeze…On the neck lay a pale reflection like moonlight; the same faint luster touched the train of thin clouds from which rose and bowed this vision of the Evening Star. Evening star is the name given to the planet Venus when it appears in the West after sunset. The ancient Greeks gave it the names Hesperus. What confused me was on page 133, Rochester asks “Where did you see Latmos?” In order to make the connection, I had to look up Latmos on the Google. Latmos is a Greek legend. Mount Latmos is where the goddess Selene first fell in love with Endymion. Perhaps Bronte included this Greek mythology to portray the love between Jane and Rochester. Rochester will protect Jane as best he can.

As far as the third painting goes, I felt it was difficult to interpret. It shows “the pinnacle of an iceberg piercing a polar winter sky: a muster of northern lights reared their dim lances, close serried, along the horizon.” When Jane met Rochester, her artwork took on its deepest significance. Rochester, though he says he believes that Jane has endless possibilities, questions her skills and abilities as an artist. I think Rochester is so interested in Jane’s paintings because even though they done make her self-satisfied, she has “secured the shadow of [her] thought.” When she paints, Jane enters an “artist’s dreamland.” She becomes absorbed in what she is painting and that is what Rochester wants for all of the things that surround Jane.

We discussed in class that Rochester seems to ultimately bring Jane down by complimenting her but then posing a negative view on something, as if to say she is insufficient. For instance, “You had not enough of the artist’s skill and science to give it full being; yet the drawings are, for a school-girl, peculiar.”

In chapters 16-18 the reader becomes very aware of Jane’s feelings toward Ingram. Jane never seems to possess any romantic tension because Rochester displays his feelings for her very early in the novel. But, Blanche seems to be holding Rochester back from admitting and acting upon his feelings. Jane in this section of the novel realizes that she is beginning to have feelings for Rochester. When he leaves to attend a party where Ingram will be, she is disappointed and compares herself to the portait she has painted of Ingram. Ingram is a beautiful woman and Jane feels threatened or insignificant because of her plain manner. On page 176, Jane states “And did I now think Miss Ingram such a choice as Mr. Rochester would be likely to make? I could not tell- I did not know his taste in female beauty. If he liked the majestic, she was the very type of majesty: then she was accomplished, sprightly. Most gentlemen would admire her, I thought; and that he did admire her, I already seemed to have obtained proof: to remove the last shade of doubt, it remained but to see them together.” I feel as though because Rochester has complimented Jane yet presented her with negative sides of who she is, Jane, because she has feelings for Rochester sees herself in no other way. She is always comparing herself to others. This adds to the theme of love versus autonomy.
I strongly feel that these passages and the paintings illustrate Jane’s feelings of imprisonment and longing for freedom and equality. Mr. Rochester is a threat to Jane and because she shares her feelings with some of the other women in the novel, displays Bronte’s view on feminism.

João N. said...
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João N. said...

When Jane encounters Mr. Rochester for the first time, I felt an immediate sense of friction in their relationship. I think I felt this sense of friction because Mr. Rochester, the male, was the one who needed help from Jane, the female. This seemed to me very different from the pattern the novel had showed thus far, but it was still not enough to create the so said friction. After all, Jane is a strong, ballsy, independent woman, who I would expect to be in that position several times throughout the novel. What I found really out of place was the way Jane immediately fits the submissive role when she is near Mr. Rochester. From the way she automatically positions herself as the one with less power in the relationship, even when he is injured, illustrates just how much power Mr. Rochester has over her, and created the terms of their relationship to come.

As far as how Rochester is introduced, I feel like Brontë’s writing helps exemplify not only what I said above, but also foreshadow a lot of Mr. Rochester’s qualities and patterns of behavior. We have talked previously about Brontë’s use of nature, and this kind of imagery is abundant when she begins to describe the setting before Rochester appears. I find that there is often a connection between these natural descriptions and Jane’s internal state, but it also serves as a larger commentary. Brontë may have picked nature as a motif to comment on what the “nature” of the time was, or what natural behavior was. This would work well in the case of Jane, who naturally, as a woman, submits herself to Mr. Rochester in future interactions.

Jane begins by saying that “on the hill-top above me sat the rising moon; pale yet as a cloud, but brightening momently: she looked over Hay, which, half lost in trees, sent up a blue smoke from its few chimneys; it was yet a mile distant, but in the absolute hush I could hear plainly its thin murmurs of life” (118). I think the significance here to me lies in the way the moon can work as a symbol for Jane, how at that point in her life, she wasn’t living to the fullest, she wasn’t necessarily free, yet she still had the wish to do so, and was still, thankfully, able to analyze her own situation and realize that she had much more to live for than what her current environment allowed her to. So, as Brontë uses this imagery of the contemplative moon to describe Jane’s internal struggle for freedom and her awareness and wish to change her situation, she similarly describes the limitations of Jane’s environment by saying it only showed “plainly its thin murmurs of life.”

The power Mr. Rochester will have over Jane can also be seen through imagery. He is introduced as a “rude noise [that] broke on these fine ripplings and whisperings, at once so far away and so clear: a positive tramp, tramp; a metallic clatter, which effaced the soft wave-wanderings…” (118-119). The way he is introduced, then, interrupts Jane’s contemplative, dream-like state, interrupts the “currents” that whispered in her ear (which symbolize her path to freedom). His noisy entrance, overall, clearly illustrates the disruption of Jane’s independence, but also of the monotony she was in: so, although he is clearly disrupting and appears to be a negative force in her life, he also carries some allure, and offers her something new, which she was clearly struggling to find.

João N. said...

Brontë doesn’t stop describing this effortless power Rochester has over Jane there. She continues by explicitly saying that Mr. Rochester “broke the spell at once” (119), which, if looked closer, not only attests to his power but also to break the spell carries some negative connotations, which also helps me get the negative feeling from Mr. Rochester as a whole.

Mr. Rochester as a Byronic hero is also established in this scene, when he falls of his horse. It’s almost a comical image, this man, who was able to just stop Jane in her tracks, later falls of the horse. It’s ironic, and deeply indicative of the fall from grace (at least in Jane’s eyes) Mr. Rochester will suffer. In a more unconventional way, I feel that Mr. Rochester is a Byronic hero because he contradicts Jane’s quest for freedom, he is a direct distraction to her idealism. Jane clings to him because she longs for something different, for a better life, which at that time, I’m afraid, she is weak and believes that a married one will be the answer. At the same time, Rochester also clings to Jane. By showing him injured, Brontë shows his vulnerability, and his tendency to exert power over Jane. He was able to disrupt Jane’s quest with his “beauty, elegance” (120), but ultimately, she is the one who has something to lose, and who will be able to show him that there are other elements in play outside of their struggle for power they call a relationship.

brittanyf said...

Essentially, the dreams are a safety net. Through Jane and Rochester’s retellings, Bronte foreshadows the tragic turn of events that are yet to come. I believe this technique differs from the traditional literary foreshadowing in that rather than merely stirring up some suspense, Bronte is providing her audience with hints, more than anything, so to not lose them. At this point in the story, with Jane and Rochester about to be wed, the audience, for the most part, is likely euphoric. Their protagonist and heroin has gotten what she wanted, and the world of the story (for this brief instant) seems at peace. But Bronte recognizes this just as she recognizes how quickly an audience becomes accustomed to said peace. These dreams, therefore, these doses of negativity immediately preceding the much-anticipated wedding of the story’s protagonist and her love, function to prevent that. Without them, the audience would unarguably grow attached to the fluff of a happy ending—or happy middle, in this case. The sharp snap back into misfortune that Bronte obviously follows with, therefore, would be much too harsh of a change for the audience to handle without losing interest or blurring comprehension in their frustration and disappointment.
Looking back at Jane’s dreams as discussed in Chapter 25, after having read on, it is understood that the dreams represent rather forwardly the fates of Rochester and she. Jane begins by depicting a most threatening, “far more eerie” atmosphere (279), describing “wild and high” winds and a dark and gusty night” at Thornfield during which Rochester was absent. She even admits to having “wished [he] were home” (279). His absence during this time of such great vulnerability for her foreshadows his future failure as far as his remaining a permanent, reliable fixture in her life goes.
The next dream Jane recalls features Thornfield as “a dreary ruin, the retreat of bats and owls” (280). What with her about to be married to Rochester, and her living in Thornfield all for so long, despite its enigmatic aura and recent odd happenings, Thornfield is a sanctuary, of sorts, for Jane. Thus, its suffering would be yet another blow to the story’s positivity, to the audience’s rays of hope, again threatening their attention. This description of Thornfield’s setting is the opposite of glorification, preparing the audience for whatever misfortune the property shall suffer later in the story. The consideration of it as a ruin suggests that perhaps the property will face physical destruction, though whether said destruction might be caused by man or nature is virtually impossible to predict. The “retreat of bats and owls,” meanwhile, under the assumption that these creatures are the only residents of the house in the dream, predict a personal or spiritual absence in the house, an emptiness, or at least a change in the character of those who inhabit the house. Bats and owls alike are animals which dwell in the darkness, suggesting a darker fate to press itself upon Thornfield’s inhabitants in later parts of the book.

brittanyf said...

Jane’s later admittance that the one dream involving the strange woman and her (Jane’s) passing out was actually reality, followed by Rochester’s agreement, only reinforces the authority of the other dreams. That is, with one dream actually reality, even if the others were mere visions of the subconscious, they hold in them some truth. The featuring of one dream as reality is meant by Bronte to encourage the audience to follow the signs they are given and to trust in them. Jane’s persistence that the strange woman was not Grace Poole, then, given that the circumstance was reality, suggests that she might very well be right, that the woman, this antagonist, is someone else entirely. Still, Bronte is not entirely open with her audience, leaving much of the story a mystery yet. Rochester’s claim that it was in fact Grace Poole, alongside his admitting that the latter dream was, in fact, reality. This revelation actually works to benefit Rochester’s character in that it appears an act of honesty. This, later learned to be irony as Rochester is lying to Jane about the woman despite his honesty in admitting that the dream was real, prevents the reader from being bored with the story despite the safeties that this intense foreshadowing offers.

In addition, Bronte’s foreshadowing via dreams reinforces the bold qualities of Jane’s character. Her dreams, much like so many of her thoughts, are worthy of titles such as “inappropriate,” given the context of the story and her being a woman. Women, during the age in which Jane Eyre was written, had very little status and voice whatsoever. Jane, as the audience should now very well understand by this point in the story, breaks this stereotype of the inferior woman completely, with her forwardness, self-discipline, and contemporary thought. Rochester discourages her doubts after she reveals to him her dreams, and even though he does so, unarguably, according to his own hidden agenda, the act resembles that of the traditional man-reigning-superior-figure of that time. He commands that Jane “will not dream of separation and sorrow to-night; but of happy love and blissful union,” and while the command has a pleasant, almost caring twist, it is a command nonetheless, which obviously clashes with Jane’s independent character (283). Jane’s immediately-following reveal that his orders went on unfollowed (“This prediction was but half fulfilled: I did not indeed dream of sorrow, but as little did I dream of joy; for I never slept at all” (283) reflect that independence while simultaneously providing evidence of the level of vulnerability to which Rochester reduces her, for while she disobeys him, she also lacks the opportunity to do otherwise, what with her not sleeping. Bronte’s point here, I think, is to represent Jane as our heroin, fierce and free—to an extent—from the fear of man’s stronghold over woman, but still prisoner—to another extent—despite this freedom from intimidated conscience. What makes her character is that rather than being prisoner to man, she is prisoner to the feelings he inspires—and Bronte means to argue that such is a fate no man or woman can escape.

Nidale Z. said...

Topic B 1/2

For Jane, the beginning of her relationship with Rochester seems to be before she even meets him, when she is on a hill before he comes to Thornfield. It’s cold out, but Jane says she “did not feel the cold, though it froze keenly; as was attested by a sheet of ice covering the causeway” (118). This reiterates that sense of fieriness Jane has had throughout the novel – her heat is enough to protect her from the otherwise freezing cold of her surroundings. Of course, the implications of this are interesting, especially regarding her lack of notice of the cold initially. Rochester seems almost to put her fire out, especially toward the beginning of their affair when she loses her sense of strength in favor of being his fiancee. The ice here foreshadows the coldness that Rochester brings, providing a stark contrast to the fire that has represented Jane’s strength thus far and ultimately almost ending that fire by nearly damning her to a life as the degraded mistress of a rich but married man. Furthermore, Jane describes the view of Thornfield from her seat, saying, “the grey and battlemented hall was the principal object in the vale below me; its woods and dark rookery rose against the west. I lingered till the sun went down amongst the trees, and sank crimson and clear behind them” (118). The implication here that she is looking down upon Thornfield essentially gives her the moral high ground (almost literally), which foreshadows her leaving of Thornfield, which again puts her on the moral high ground, this time over Rochester, who wants her to become his mistress. Thornfield here represents the woman trapped within its walls, Bertha Mason. It is, essentially, the one thing between Jane and lifelong happiness with Rochester, and it is not until Thornfield burns down that Jane is allowed to finally find that happiness. The description of it here is even foreboding; its woods are dark, indicating some sort of secret that Jane is unable to see at this point. The woods hide the sun from Jane, essentially echoing Bertha’s blocking of Jane from Rochester (but also echoing Rochester coming between Jane and her sense of internal fire/strength, especially when Jane turns away from the setting sun and turns in the direction of Rochester. Though she turns eastward, she does so at the time of day at which the sun is furthest from the east, thus echoing Rochester’s effect on her as well as the awful timing of their initial meeting).

Nidale Z. said...

Topic B 2/2

Though I typically think of the relationship between Jane and Mr. Rochester as the most modern one in the novel, it’s not really a relationship between equals. When we first meet Mr. Rochester, he needs Jane’s help, but instead of asking for it, he commands her to help with his horse, to which she can only reply that, “I should have been afraid to touch a horse when alone, but when told to do it, I was disposed to obey” (122). In the very beginning of their relationship, Rochester has already pushed Jane out of her comfort zone and commanded her to do something she fears – but rather than agree to do it, Jane says that she “obeys,” thus giving Rochester a sense of power over her that no other character has really had up to this point. Furthermore, Rochester finds it necessary to use Jane as a support as he limps, but again, rather than ask for assistance, he simply says, “Necessity compels me to make you useful” (122), and essentially terns her into a human crutch without ever asking for permission. He has this sense of entitlement about him, and though it makes sense (he is technically Jane’s boss), it doesn’t sit well – it makes him somewhat unlikable from introduction, exhibiting characteristics of a Byronic hero before we even know his name. His arrogance is clear here.
However, the fact remains that here, Rochester needs assistance from Jane, not the other way around. His reliance on her and dependence on her help creates a sense of equality within their relationship, purely because she becomes a necessity to him to the point that she has some power over him. Though Rochester expresses arrogance, he remains under Jane’s power; she could refuse him, could easily walk away and leave him alone with his horse, but instead chooses to help him, thus essentially indebting him to her. This sets the stage for the sense of egalitarianism within their relationship that appears later on; though at this point, he is definitely her superior, she eventually becomes his equal. By the end of volume two, their sides of conversations involving the two of them are almost perfectly equal, and though Jane’s choice of language is occasionally indicative of her lower class as a woman in society, it is clear that they view each other as intellectual equals. This is important purely because of the necessity of intellect that Jane has from the beginning; she finds herself unable to run away from the Reeds because she fears being poor because she fears being uneducated. For Jane, education is essential, and so her relationship with Rochester is possible because the two of them are educated and have this sense of intellectual understanding between them.

R. Gallagher said...

for Phillip:

Topic B – Rochester and Byronic Heroes
The concept of a Byronic hero is for one to be an ideal person held back from perfection by one grave flaw. Even before his introduction in Chapter 12, Rochester is established to be some type of ideal character. Simply being in the fortune of owning Thornfield mansion would seem to imply that he is in some way a successful man. From this success, it is easy to imagine him being brilliant, perfect, and whatnot. His actual introduction serves to shatter this illusion and place the title of Byronic character upon him. Firstly, Rochester returns to Thornfield riding a horse that the faraway Jane identified to be a Gytrash. The Gytrash according to Bessie is a fearful and mystical creature which disguises itself through shapeshifting and as Jane puts it, “was always alone” (119). At the time of this observation, Jane did not yet physical identify the man riding atop the horse to be Rochester. A wide range of implications can be gathered from this occurrence. For one, it would seem clues toward Rochester’s Byronic flaw are being dropped in plain view. Despite the success, money, and brilliance, he is perhaps denied perfection from having qualities similar to the Gytrash. Perhaps he is lonely, or has an intimidating presence that damages social abilities. Or maybe he’s just clumsy or has some bad luck, because immediately after Jane spots him, the horse slips on ice and sends both itself and Rochester slamming to the ground. An important thing to note, however, is that when Jane arrived at the scene, she observes Rochester “struggling himself free of his steed” with “vigorous” efforts (119). This event may be a testament to the other side of his Byronic character – the ideal part. It points to a type of persistent or adamant nature that he may possess, and which may have enabled him to come into acquisition of success in the first place.

R. Gallagher said...

cont.

What appears to be Rochester’s true flaw reveals itself in Chapter 13. The coldness of his personality reflects his troubled past and matters of family. It seems Rochester had an inferiority complex of some sort in relation to his older brother. When their father died, his older brother inherited Thornfield, possibly sending Rochester into a fit of jealousy. Here it would seem that Bronte is commenting on another societal problem – the matter of inheritance. She seems to support the idea that it is not fair for the older brother to inherit everything left behind by the father solely based on the fact that he is older. Older does not necessarily mean superior, but logic means nothing in the face of long rooted tradition, at least during this time period. Anyway, the older brother died nine years back and Rochester was able to inherit Thornfield, yet he is still bitter about the whole thing and rarely even lives in the mansion he owns. The rest of his family obsessions with money and prosperity may have distorted his views on those things with disgust, and so he prefers to be away from anything related to monetary richness. Jane, however, presents a change of pace at Thornfield, coming not from a rich background but from one where she worked her way up – perhaps that is the way Rochester himself desired to have acquired his success, rather than the underhanded means of meaningless inheritance.
The relevance in bringing up the idea that Rochester is a Byronic hero that must be educated lies in the expectations this sets for the development of the relationship between him and Jane. Rochester with his family problems will likely find solace in Jane, a woman that is not family biologically, but perhaps someone he can connect with on a closer level than any blood related family he’s ever had. Jane may also help him rid himself of the preconceived notion he seems to have about poorer people – that they’re stupid. When he sees one of Jane’s paintings, he immediately balks and accuses Jane of having third party assistance with it. But already, after an exchange with Jane, he begins to recognize that was certainly not the case. The whole situation is also relevant in how gender roles appear to have reversed from what is typically to be expected from pieces of writing at this time period. If anyone was to be educated among a man and a woman, it would be expected almost 100% for the woman to be the one who needs teaching. Bronte breaks from the norm and has a woman enlightening a man, A rare situation, and one that would certainly seem dubious were it not for Bronte having built up special circumstances and giving Rochester a deeply troubled past in hopes that the audience will feel enough sympathy for him to excuse this otherwise abhorrent gender transgression.

R. Gallagher said...

for Phillip:

Topic C – The Paintings and Blanche Ingram
I guess I already went into this a little in my previous post. But to expand upon it, they are all apparently significant since Bronte went through the painstaking effort to describe three separate paintings in excruciatingly elaborate detail. The first is of an image of the sea, with clouds above, a ship’s mast protruding from the watery surface, and a big bird biting down on a splendid piece of jewelry sitting on it. Most importantly, beneath both was a sad corpse with its arm sticking out of the water in the style of a zombie’s arm sticking out of its grave. The message is clear. Jane likely painted the corpse in her own image. Her time in Lowood, while beneficial in giving her an education, was suffocating and restrictive, reflecting in her painting as being so drastic as to kill her. That’s taking the concept of being bored to death to a whole other level. The bird sitting atop the mast represents her jealousy. It, with it’s large, strong wings, is free to do and go as it pleases. Its possession of a golden piece of jewelry is indicative of how Jane finds this type of freedom to be the ultimate form of richness and satisfaction. But since, at the time, she had no such freedom, she reflects on her situation as being trapped under the sea while the clouds above mocked her for her lack of freedom.
The next painting depicted the cryptic image of a woman in the background. Her ghastly image is supplemented by the assets of nature, as if her form was an integration with the skies, stars, and vapors in the air. Going by the description, Jane drew the outline of a woman and filled it in with to match the background of sky and stars. What is this supposed to mean? To be honest, I really don’t god damn know but I could probably bet my left arm it has something to do with a desire for freedom since the sky and to a lesser extent space are involved. But I’m not going to bet anything because I like my left arm where it is currently. But yeah. That nature woman she painted was likely a self insert. She wanted the opportunity to branch out from dull old Lowood and reach for the stars. Literally, it would seem. I guess. Luckily, Rochester sheds some light on this painting. The hill in the foreground is apparently Latmos, a legendary mountain from Greek mythology. The clear, yet not-so-brilliant eyes of the image of the women would indicate that Jane has taken a heavy amount of influence from her dreams and imaginative mind to create the subjects of her paintings.

R. Gallagher said...

cont.

Continuing with the loose theme of nature, the third painting depicts an iceberg. In front of it, a large head performing a large face palm? And a ring of white fire surrounds the neck, apparently symbolic for Death, as according to Milton’s Paradise Lost. The allusion to Paradise Lostshows how Jane is still taking religion with more than just a grain of salt. The head forcefully attached to the iceberg by the fire ring is, surprise, probably another self insert. Milton’s description of Death calls it a Kingly Crown. Crowns don’t usually fit on the neck, but for Jane’s self insert it apparently does. Attaching her to an iceberg must mean that she believed her current life at Lowood was much like death, as it bound her by the throat to a cold, boring, meaningless existence. That’s the best I can do, sorry.
Linking these three paintings together would be their possible source. Obviously, Jane has never actually been out to sea, seen an iceberg, a floating corpse, and has never seen Latmos in Greece. Most likely, she’s only been able to experience these things from books and reading. At the very least she must had read Lost Paradise. This speaks volumes for her imaginative prowess – to be able to recreate such lively and beautiful scenes without ever having experienced them firsthand. The paintings illuminate her talent, potential, and insatiable desire to live her dream and see the outside world. But now that she has, all she’s finding is that her superior is criticizing both her, and her paintings. In retrospect, that makes these paintings deliciously ironic. Normally, one would be embarrassed by such a turn of events but Jane stays strong and defends herself to the end.
At the very least, Jane is disappointed to learn of the existence of Blanche Ingram. In a painfully obvious display at the end of Chapter 16, she tries to console herself and tell herself in a strange manner that she is not worthy of pleasing Rochester. Masochistically, she indulges in a monologue with herself where she scolds herself harshly, referring to herself as “You” (164) and repeatedly telling herself that she is trash. Dealing with this in an incredibly roundabout way, she creates a sketch of what she images Blanche Ingram’s beauty to be like, and vows to compare herself with the picture whenever the thought arises that she can please Rochester, to make herself feel even crappier and deter future similar thoughts. Talk about some amped up masochism right there.Hardcore. Jesus Christ. Anyway, Jane is certainly the victim. Victim to many things. Victim to reality, to Blanche Ingram’s grotesque attitude, particularly when she and the other party goers began ragging on governesses in general with Jane within earshot, but most importantly, to her own self-loathing

Gabby said...

Topic B

1/2:

In Chapter 12, I was automatically confused about Mr. Rochester’s first induction into the novel. I found it very weird at the fact that he did not introduce himself to Jane that evening even after she had told him that she is new to Thornfield, which he owns. The way Bronte decided to introduce Rochester’s character gives the impression that he is a very stubborn, arrogant man with dark qualities (his personality) symbolizing him as a “Byronic Hero”.

I loved the way Jane described the setting of Thornfield the night that she ran into Rochester. “… the gray and battlemented hall was the principal object in the vale below me; its woods and dark rookery rose against the west. I lingered till the sun went down amongst the trees, and sank crimson and clear behind them…” (118) All of these descriptions have a sort of airy feeling to them based on the fact that these images may help the reader depict the kind of character Rochester is. All of the scenic descriptions that Jane provides on page 118 are all dark, gloomy, bold colors, (ex: crimson). I think Bronte did this not only to show what kind of character Rochester will be like based on his dark personality traits, but to foreshadow the night that Jane actually meets Rochester for the first time. As she describes the night, it becomes ironic when she and Rochester actually meet because the descriptive scenarios helped to foreshadow a gloomy night in which it indeed turned out to be. Before, Jane sat glaring out of the window at the “dark rookery woods” but then when she leaves the house, “… the rising moon; pale yet as a cloud, but brightening momently; she looked over Hay, which half lost in trees, sent up a blue smoke from its few chimneys…” (118) This passage helps further the idea that at this point in the novel, something meaningful was about to occur in the story based on the gloominess, descriptive, naturalistic imagery created.

When Jane helps Rochester up after his horse had fallen, he gives off the Byronic hero trait. Jane asks if he needs help, but Rochester refuses. When she asks him if he knew of Mr. Rochester he exclaims, “No, I have never seen him.” (121) At this moment in Chapter 12, I think it is evident enough that Rochester is a Byronic hero. He becomes another protagonist in the story who finds interest in Jane, but has so many dark qualities. Rochester also symbolizes what Bessie calls a “Gytrash” due to the night that he was traveling throughout Thornfield alone. This represents the idea that Rochester is very lonely and possibly only dependent on himself. For him to be traveling alone that night helps depict that Bronte uses a lot of irony in this chapter because Rochester is a man of good wealth and fortune, but pretty soon he will end up depending on Jane to be a pillar because he is a “Gytrash” who ends up enjoying the connection he finds with Jane.
I think Bronte did a great job in connecting Rochester’s personality with the ominous night that Jane (being narrator) had described.

Gabby said...

Topic B- continued

2/2:

Also, I agree with the bond that Bronte creates between Jane and Mr. Rochester throughout the story because it represents how Jane, who came from nothing, was able understand the character Rochester is and become his dependent.

First of all, Rochester was a bit harsh on Jane due to judging and testing her abilities and inabilities from her past to present. In Chapter 13, Rochester and Jane have a discussion that symbolizes the past of both of the characters. Rochester is questioning Jane about her past, and practically judges her. “And you came from----?” “From Lowood School in ---- shire.” (128) This conversation, in my opinion is what helped Rochester become adjusted to Jane and start trusting her. As he learns more and more about her life, he feels that maybe he could relate to her in some ways, not all. After all, Rochester being a Byronic Hero has had a past and is portrayed as that rebellious character. I think before, maybe Rochester expected much more, maybe too much of Jane’s character. He wanted her to be more of a servant (kind of) who just does what they’re told to do and that is that, but little did he really know how educated, intelligent, and strong Jane is. In this chapter, Rochester also views Jane’s paintings and is extremely fascinated and curious as to why she chooses to draw what she draws. At this point, Rochester concludes that Jane has come from a tough past, but there is so much more to her character because she has artistic qualities as she finds happiness through painting. Her drawings help represent the inner visions of Jane Eyre. The person who she dreams about being- peaceful and calm; wishing all of her troubles away.

Towards the end of the novel (Chapter 27) it is evident that Jane has changed Rochester in many ways, maybe even causing him to open up about his feelings and life rather than being a “Gytrash”. The conversation in Chapter 27 when Rochester tells Jane about his past with Bertha helps show the structure of Mr. Rochester and Jane’s relationship. At this point, Jane fears that she will become a “peasant” or “mistress” to Mr. Rochester and that is not what she wants. By hearing Rochester’s past story, Jane becomes confused as to wondering whether she is actually loved by Rochester or if she is just another mistress whom he will corrupt.

In Chapters 12, 13, and 27, Bronte uses a lot of irony and foreshadowing to further the relationship being built between Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester. From the first night they met to the time in which Jane flees from Thornfield, we see that the character Rochester is, obviously has more pros and cons to him than we were given at the beginning. I especially like how Bronte used imagery to describe not only a scenario, but to foreshadow the character of Rochester. That was interesting!

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