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Monday, September 23, 2013

Septemb-Eyre: Jane Eyre Readalong Recap #3

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

Chapters XXII-XXIX

Commentary:

The too short amount of time we get to see of Jane and Rochester's courtship is one of the highlights of this book for me.  So sweet and romantic on Mr. Rochester's part and so sassy and teasing on Jane's; I feel like this is a heightened idea of how Mr. Rochester and Jane's conversations went towards the end of the three months they were getting to know each other in the beginning of the story.  Where Jane was just beginning to realize her power of "vexing and soothing him by turns."  Their banter in these couple chapters just makes me smile!

But my favorite chapter in this book is chapter 27 - the one where Mr. Rochester talks to Jane after the interrupted wedding.  The scene where Mr. Rochester's secret is revealed is incredibly devastating, but in this chapter the emotional damage to this reader just gets worse.  It starts with the fact that Jane believes Mr. Rochester didn't really love her, to her realizing that he did and still does, but that doesn't change the fact that she must leave him.  And Mr. Rochester is deluding himself with a hope that he can keep Jane with him by promising to treat her as his only wife. It's so tempting and Jane does love him, but she just can't compromise her integrity and her moral beliefs and it's an exquisitely painful dilemma.  And even though Mr. Rochester has committed such a betrayal, I love that Jane forgives him almost instantly when she sees how remorseful he is and how much he still loves her.  It's such a big thing to forgive him for, but I completely understand it because Mr. Rochester is a flawed character and he tried this because he was desperate to secure Jane.  This is the time that Mr. Rochester is totally truthful as well (it is his only recourse now) and when he has no more secrets and no more games to play but is earnestly pleading, it's so darn moving!  And romantic!  So much of both Jane and Rochester is revealed in this chapter and I think that's why I find it so powerful.

Jane's three days wandering is a part of the book that I didn't used to appreciate as much - it really is distressing to read how Jane suffered and was almost ready to give up.  But she clung to her dignity and to her moral convictions.  As if it wasn't enough that she had to turn her back on the love of her life, she also had to suffer starvation and mortification!  But again everything just reinforces Jane's strength of character and makes her a fabulous heroine to look up to.

This section has all the extreme ups and downs of the entire book!  Though I don't really think of it, it is pretty odd that Charlotte Bronte plotted this story to have such a climax in the middle, but I feel the last section of the book is a genius addition that really completes Jane's journey.  So til next week!

Memorable Quotes:

“I never met your likeness. Jane, you please me, and you master me—you seem to submit, and I like the sense of pliancy you impart; and while I am twining the soft, silken skein round my finger, it sends a thrill up my arm to my heart. I am influenced—conquered; and the influence is sweeter than I can express; and the conquest I undergo has a witchery beyond any triumph I can win." - Mr. Rochester, Chapter XXVI

"“Well,” he said, after some minutes’ silence, “it is strange; but that sentence has penetrated my breast painfully. Why? I think because you said it with such an earnest, religious energy, and because your upward gaze at me now is the very sublime of faith, truth, and devotion: it is too much as if some spirit were near me. Look wicked, Jane: as you know well how to look: coin one of your wild, shy, provoking smiles; tell me you hate me—tease me, vex me; do anything but move me: I would rather be incensed than saddened.”" - Mr. Rochester, Chapter XXV

Then you are mistaken, and you know nothing about me, and nothing about the sort of love of which I am capable. Every atom of your flesh is as dear to me as my own: in pain and sickness it would still be dear. Your mind is my treasure, and if it were broken, it would be my treasure still: if you raved, my arms should confine you, and not a strait waistcoat—your grasp, even in fury, would have a charm for me: if you flew at me as wildly as that woman did this morning, I should receive you in an embrace, at least as fond as it would be restrictive. I should not shrink from you with disgust as I did from her: in your quiet moments you should have no watcher and no nurse but me; and I could hang over you with untiring tenderness, though you gave me no smile in return; and never weary of gazing into your eyes, though they had no longer a ray of recognition for me” - Mr. Rochester, Chapter XXVII

"Gentle reader, may you never feel what I then felt! May your eyes never shed such stormy, scalding, heart-wrung tears as poured from mine. May you never appeal to Heaven in prayers so hopeless and so agonised as in that hour left my lips; for never may you, like me, dread to be the instrument of evil to what you wholly love." -Jane, Chapter XXVII

(there's seriously so many quotes I wanted to put here!)

Extra Credit:

M. Constantin Heger, circa 1865
In 1842, Charlotte and Emily Bronte attended a boarding school in Brussels to learn French and Charlotte developed a strong attachment to her teacher M. Heger.  Who was married and had kids.  Although it's possible that Mr. Rochester is based in part on M. Heger (who did have a rather abrupt and changeful character), I mention this because of the song that Mr. Rochester sings to Jane in this section of the book -

The truest love that ever heart
Felt at its kindled core
Did through each vein, in quickened start,
The tide of being pour.

Her coming was my hope each day,
Her parting was my pain;
The chance that did her steps delay
Was ice in every vein.
(Chapter XXIV)

Charlotte wrote this poem and what I find so interesting is that this is based off a longer poem she wrote around 1845 that seemed to explore her feelings for M. Heger.  She returned alone to Brussels in 1843 to take up a short-lived teaching position at the Heger Pensionnat but she was mostly unhappy there as she was lonely and her feelings for M. Heger were unreciprocated.

 The poem was also revised and adjusted for the first novel she wrote The Professor which was published after her death.  There are some differences in that version but I just wanted to focus on the original and Jane Eyre.  So I read both again and put the original below.  I hope other Septemb-Eyres will find it interesting!

At first I did attention give
Observance-- deep esteem
His frown I failed not to forgive
His smile-- a boon to deem

Attention rose to interest soon
Respect to homage changed
The smile became a returned boon
The frown like grief estranged

The interest ceased not with his voice
The homage tracked him near
Obedience was my heart's free choice
Whate’er his word severe


His praise unfrequent-- favours rare
Unduly grew
And too much power-- a haunting fear
Around his anger threw--

His coming was my hope each day
His parting was my pain!
The chance that did his steps delay
Was ice in every vein

I gave entire affection now
I gave devotion sure
And strong took root and fast did grow
One mighty feeling more

The truest love that ever heart
Felt at it's kindled core
Through my veins with quickened start
A tide of being pour 
*[line 28]

[A] halo played about the brows 
*[line 29]
Of life as seen by me
And bliss within me rose
And anxious ecstacy

I dreamed it would be nameless bliss
As I loved-- loved to be
And to this object did I press
As blind as eagerly

But wide as pathless was the space
That lay our lives between
And dangerous as the foamy race
Of ocean's surges green

And haunted as a robber path
Through wilderness and wood
For might and right woe and wrath
Between our spirits stood

I dangers dared- I hindrance scorned
I omens did defy
Whatever menaced-- harassed warned
I passed impetuous by

On sped my rainbow fast as light
I flew as in a dream
For glorious rose upon my sight
That child of shower and gleam

And bright on clouds of suffering dim
Shone that soft-solemn joy
I care not then how dense and grim
Disaster's gather nigh 
*[line 56]

I care not in this moment sweet 
*[line 57]
Though all I have rushed o'er *[line 58]
Should come on pinions strong and fleet *[line 59]
Proclaiming vengeance sore

Hate struck me in his presence down
Love barred approach to me
My rival's joy with jealous frown
Declared hostility

Wrath leagued with calumny transfused
Strong poison in his veins
And I stood at his feet accused
Of false stains *[line 68]

Cold as a statue's grew his eye
Hard as a rock his brow
Cold-- hard to me by tenderly
He kissed my rival now.

She seemed my rainbow to have seized
Around her form it closed
And soft its splendour blazed
Where love and she reposed

Footnotes:
28: The original version of the line reads "And life a glory bore" --- uncanceled
29: "halo" written above "It played"; neither is canceled
56: "gather nigh" written above "bring nigh"; neither is canceled
57: originally the line read "The hate the love the joy the sweet"-- uncanceled
58: originally the line read "the wrath I had passed o'er"-- uncanceled
59:"Should come" written above "There came"; neither is canceled
68: blank space in manuscript


- from "The Poems of Charlotte Bronte: A New Text and Commentary" by Victor A. Neufeldt


There's definitely a less happy ending with the original poem than to Rochester's song.  Because I feel like Rochester's song does have a lot of foreshadowing in it relating to what's to come in the book, I'm surprised by how closely this version follows the version in Jane Eyre, but I suppose the obstacles to happiness in both cases are pretty much the same.  In film adaptations I've always wanted to see this scene enacted but have always been disappointed.  This scene and the one where Mr. Rochester takes Jane in his carriage to Millcote was on my list of Scenes I Would Love to See in the films, but in the 2006 version they do a take on the 'carriage scene,' so it's just this one left!

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11 comments:

  1. "It's such a big thing to forgive him for, but I completely understand it because Mr. Rochester is a flawed character and he tried this because he was desperate to secure Jane." This! I mean, it's sort of awful that he has a lady locked up in the attic, but he is so sadly desperate to be happy, and so madly in love with Jane (I really do think he loves her, I don't think she is just a prop to him), that I can see how he ended up where he is.

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    1. Absolutely, Mr. Rochester loves Jane, and I think more importantly he needs Jane to help him be the person he would like to be. *sigh* :)

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  2. Suchhhh a dramatic section. This is beyond the portion I must've read when I was younger because I remembered nothing. It does tug at the heartstrings. Was proud of Jane for leaving, but dear heavens, girl, take some stuff! ;)

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    1. Oh that must have been fun to read it for the first time then! I think I was pretty much a wreck the first time I read it. :) LOL, Jane just forgot her stuff in the coach - so really, they need like a lost and found for the coach service back then!

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  3. That chapter is SO amazing and powerful..I feel so much for Charlotte reading that poem..she poured all of that heartbreak into an amazing book...too bad Rochester is fictional for he and us ;)

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    1. I know, it's very sad to think that this is Charlotte's wish fulfillment novel actually. Especially since I think it might be mine as well! Haha, now I think I should write a poem about how Mr. Rochester doesn't exist... if only I could write poetry!

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    2. I would imagine that the inability to write poetry shouldn't be a problem when you are writing it about someone who doesn't exist. Those two facts seem fitting together.

      You read how dramatic of a love story this is. How Jane is just torn between what she wishes she could do and what she knows she has to do. Then, I realize that this is, despite the melodrama, a novel that is very heavy on the girl power. Go Jane. She manages to do the right thing and it's hard and she still keeps going. She's willing to do whatever it takes to remain the person she's spent her young life becoming and without pride, just determination, a will to live and her strong moral core. There are plenty of authors who could learn a lot from Jane's story. It's also nice to know (and thank you for that) that Charlotte managed to do it, too.

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    3. Heh, well I guess I could try, and no one would ever have to see the effort. :)

      I definitely agree that Jane is such a powerful heroine. Very proper and nice, but uncompromising in her beliefs and unapologetic about it. I know I have learned a lot from Jane's story.

      And thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed reading about the origin of the poem!

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  4. I look forward to your posts for the extras as much as your commentary on Jane Eyre itself, and this week's extra surpasses the previous ones! I'm saving this post for future reference :-)

    Now, back on point! I really dig your second paragraph; it encapsulates the way I feel about Rochester. I did forgive him at that point and saw why he did what he did (not that I think he should be given a pass).

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    1. Aw, thank you for that! I think I have a great extra next week for the last recap! Much more fun than informative though. :)

      And I'm so glad you agree with me on Rochester - definitely it's a terrible thing he did and I wouldn't blame Jane if it took much more for her to forgive him, but Rochester is in a tough situation and he's had to live with it for so long, I just feel really sympathetic towards him.

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  5. Chapter 27 was your favorite! I was an emotional mess while reading that chapter. I also loved how much was revealed about both Jane and Rochester in that heart-wrenching post-wedding scene. - Maggie @ An American in France

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