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Monday, September 16, 2013

Septemb-Eyre: Jane Eyre Readalong Recap #2

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , , ,
Hosted by Kerry at Entomology of a Bookworm

Chapters XII-XXI

Commentary:

Oh Jane.  I find your restlessness so endearing!  When I was a teen, I would re-read those passages where Jane wishes to see more of life and "more vivid kinds of goodness" and really empathize with how she was feeling. I think this is one of Jane's great monologues in this book, and I always find it funny how such deeply heartfelt thoughts are suddenly followed by Grace Poole and the strange laugh.  It's like those momentous thoughts of hers should be it's own chapter!

Now Mr. Rochester! I just love him so. He acts so unconventionally with Jane from the beginning - and his sense of humor is so skewed!  Cause it's kinda mean how he didn't introduce himself to Jane in Hay Lane. But Jane wasn't even upset, so you know it's true love! :D  I love how Jane can barely follow and almost certainly doesn't understand some of the things he talks about in their second conversation and yet she holds her own and comes up with great answers!  The back and forth banter in those scenes between Jane and Rochester just remind me how much I love Charlotte's writing because it's intelligent with that touch of humor.  And re-reading it I am again reminded how much I associate Michael Jayston's voice and acting with Rochester now because I just hear and see him in this role completely! (I'm referring to the 1973 miniseries adaptation - my favorite!)  Mr. Rochester is so talkative too, Charlotte makes it clear through Mr. Rochester's words that he is falling in love with Jane, even if Jane is not so sure.

There's really all kinds of moments in this section where I'm just gleeful every time there is an indication of Mr. Rochester's interest in Jane.  My favorite is the tantalizing "Good-night my--"  Ahh, what was he going to say??  And then the whole scene after the fire in his bedroom is full of indications as well as the Gypsy scene, the scene in the garden after Mason's attack and Jane asking for leave.  These are all some of my absolute favorite parts of the book because this is the kind of romance I adore - the subtly indicated and gradual evolution of love. It's just so beautifully done!

Oh yeah, Mr. Mason's attack.  For the first-time readers - weird huh? :)

Memorable Quotes:

"Anybody may blame me who likes, when I add further, that, now and then, when I took a walk by myself in the grounds; when I went down to the gates and looked through them along the road; or when, while Adèle played with her nurse, and Mrs. Fairfax made jellies in the storeroom, I climbed the three staircases, raised the trap-door of the attic, and having reached the leads, looked out afar over sequestered field and hill, and along dim sky-line—that then I longed for a power of vision which might overpass that limit; which might reach the busy world, towns, regions full of life I had heard of but never seen—that then I desired more of practical experience than I possessed; more of intercourse with my kind, of acquaintance with variety of character, than was here within my reach. I valued what was good in Mrs. Fairfax, and what was good in Adèle; but I believed in the existence of other and more vivid kinds of goodness, and what I believed in I wished to behold." - Jane, Chapter XII

I believed he was naturally a man of better tendencies, higher principles, and purer tastes than such as circumstances had developed, education instilled, or destiny encouraged. I thought there were excellent materials in him; though for the present they hung together somewhat spoiled and tangled.” - Jane, Chapter XV (this is sooo perceptive of Jane, and I think an important counter-argument for anyone who thinks Mr. Rochester is a "bad man.")

"I had not intended to love him; the reader knows I had wrought hard to extirpate from my soul the germs of love there detected; and now, at the first renewed view of him, they spontaneously arrived, green and strong! He made me love him without looking at me." -Jane, Chapter XVII

"The forehead declares, ‘Reason sits firm and holds the reins, and she will not let the feelings burst away and hurry her to wild chasms. The passions may rage furiously, like true heathens, as they are; and the desires may imagine all sorts of vain things: but judgment shall still have the last word in every argument, and the casting vote in every decision. Strong wind, earthquake-shock, and fire may pass by: but I shall follow the guiding of that still small voice which interprets the dictates of conscience.’" - Mr. Rochester, Chapter XIX


Extra Credit:

"I must see the light of the unsnuffed candle wane on my employment; the shadows darken on the wrought, antique tapestry round me, and grow black under the hangings of the vast old bed, and quiver strangely over the doors of a great cabinet opposite—whose front, divided into twelve panels, bore, in grim design, the heads of the twelve apostles, each enclosed in its separate panel as in a frame; while above them at the top rose an ebon crucifix and a dying Christ.

According as the shifting obscurity and flickering gleam hovered here or glanced there, it was now the bearded physician, Luke, that bent his brow; now St. John’s long hair that waved; and anon the devilish face of Judas, that grew out of the panel, and seemed gathering life and threatening a revelation of the arch-traitor—of Satan himself—in his subordinate’s form." Chapter XX

This Apostle's cabinet described by Jane while she is caring for Mr. Mason in the mysterious room on the third story, was an actual piece of furniture Charlotte Brontë had seen when she visited North Lees Hall in 1845.  It's also thought that Thornfield Hall is partially based on North Lees Hall, and a family named Eyre did live there at the time.  So cool right!?

When I visited England a few months ago I of course stopped by Haworth, where Charlotte lived, and the Brontë Parsonage Museum where they have this cabinet available for viewing in a fantastic and informative display room.  This is the quick photo I snapped of it, sorry it's not the best quality!  There are much better photos of it online.

It  felt so incredible to stand next to this and imagine both Charlotte and Jane looking at it.  Although I loved touring the Brontë's home - glimpsing what their lives were like and seeing so much of their personal possessions - I have to say seeing this cabinet was probably the highlight for me.  Because I love the book so much and it almost made the story feel real to me.  I could imagine I was looking at something that was recovered from Thornfield Hall instead of North Lees Hall. (Normal fangirls think that way right?)

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19 comments:

  1. I loved this post! Loved the insight into North Lees Hall. That cabinet is a bit creeptaculous. And the banter between Jane and Rochester is one of my fave bits about the book.

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    1. Very true, the cabinet is so striking! That must be why Charlotte included it in that chapter! And the banter is fun, in my head there's lots of finger snaps and Jane is full of attitude. LOL

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  2. I loved the quotes you pulled out, especially the second one. I'm miffed there's nothing to eat or drink today but I love that pic of the Apostle's cabinet so you're forgiven :D

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    1. LOL, I don't think I can come up with another recipe for the rest of this book (especially as I'm not as accomplished a cook!) so perhaps another mug of hot negus? I know I'll have more! :) I'm glad you liked the picture though!

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  3. "Good-night my--" YES! I love when he says a little bit more than he intends to. And that quote about Rochester, which you use to argue against him being considered a bad man--I don't think there's anything *bad* in him. Yes, he can be rude and standoffish, but not bad. And I love how perceptive Jane is. She sees directly through people's disguises, masks, and charades, straight through to their real core. I extremely admire that about her. - Maggie @ An American in France

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    1. I totally agree! There are people who see Rochester more negatively (more like the version in Wide Sargasso Sea probably) but I tend to think that Charlotte did not imagine him to be insensitive and only harsh in a way that suits some people - Jane specifically. He makes some big mistakes but he does it with rationalized best intentions that I think the reader should look beyond his actions like Jane does and consider his history and his motivation. I might have gotten too serious with this comment. :)

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    2. No, not at all! I like serious comments :) I completely agree with what you said about his rationalized best intentions. He really has a kind heart, it's just buried under his hard exterior.

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  4. Oh, the info about North Lees hall is SO cool! Thanks for sharing. THIS IS WHY I LOVE READALONGS.

    Also, Mr. Mason's attack... whaaaat? I really need to know what's going on here. Must read faster.

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    1. I know, I wish I could have visited when I was there last time - I think it is a guest house now, so it would be so cool to stay there!

      Hee, yes! Can't wait for next week's recap posts!

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    2. THAT WOULD BE AMAZING.

      Sorry, I got excited and started posting in all caps again.

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    3. LOL, I completely understand! :D

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  5. YES this is my favorite part..I admit when retreading I sometimes jump forward to these chapters because I can not wait to see Mr.R again! It amazes me that this book never fails to make my heart race..I love Jane as a character and I endeavor to be more like her..though I admit to being less forgiving at times than her ;)

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    1. Totally agree with being less forgiving! Maybe Jane will help me change someday, but it's not going to be today. :D

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  6. Have you seen the 1983 mini series? While I would never imagine Timothy Dalton as Rochester, he did a great job. I think he may be my favorite Rochester. Although, it could have more to do with the fact that the story told over many hours is so much better than a two hour movie.

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    1. I have seen it, and it used to be my favorite version before the Michael Jayston one! I think Timothy Dalton did a great job too! I do prefer the longer adaptations just because they can capture more of the novel.

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  7. The North Lees Hall cabinet is awesome. Was there anything else real that you saw that made its way into the books?

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    1. Ooh good question, I can't think of anything at the moment... I'll reply back if I do though! :)

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  8. I've never seen the adaptation you mentioned. As I read, I was actually thinking that all the adaptations I've ever seen do not have the appropriate Rochester casting. They are all too good looking! I think Rochester is more of a John C. Riley type (if he was a bit darker).

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    1. Well casting Rochester and Jane is too difficult I think because Charlotte made the characters to be "ugly" or at least not too pretty and no one would want to cast that in a romantic movie. But John C Riley might do well - I like him as an actor so I wouldn't mind seeing him as Mr. Rochester! :)

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