Currently reading: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Jane is finally grown and her attitudes and the change in the way she reminisces reflects that. She is restless, and puts this advertisement in the local newspaper:
“A young lady accustomed to tuition” (had I not been a teacher two years?) “is desirous of meeting with a situation in a private family where the children are under fourteen (I thought that as I was barely eighteen, it would not do to undertake the guidance of pupils nearer my own age). She is qualified to teach the usual branches of a good English education, together with French, Drawing, and Music” (in those days, reader, this now narrow catalogue of accomplishments, would have been held tolerably comprehensive). “Address, J.E., Post-office, Lowton, — shire.”
Something I’ve noticed while reading is that Charlotte Bronte manages to share a little piece of herself, her mind, so that I’ll find myself thinking about a certain issue or way of thinking without even realizing she’s brought my mind to it. Sometimes it’s almost brought up in a way that it would be if we were having a conversation with the author. That is what reading is, essentially – a conversation with the author. More so in Jane Eyre
(Ch 12) Women are supposed to be very calm generally; but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a constraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.
Charlotte Bronte obviously felt strongly on this point. And I’m glad she did, because had she been playing the piano or “embroidering bags”, we might never have been able to enjoy Jane Eyre.
Meeting Mr. Rochester
Ah, my favorite part! The way in which Jane meets Mr. Rochester. All so dark and mysterious, and Jane obviously had let her imagination run away with her while on her lonely walk to Hay (Which, incidentally, what kind of name is that? It almost ruins the romance for me, lol).
I heard a rush under the hedge, and close down by the hazel stems glided a great dog, whose black and white colour made him a distinct object against the trees… The horse followed, – a tall steed, and on its back a rider. The man, the human being, broke the spell at once… He passed, and I went on; a few steps, and I turned: a sliding sound and an exclamation of “What the deuce is to do now?” and a clattering tumble, arrested my attention. Man and horse were down; they had slipped on the sheet of ice which glazed the causeway.
Jane: “If you are hurt, and want help, sir, I can fetch someone either from Thornfield Hall or from Hay.”
Edward: “Thank you; I shall do: I have no broken bones, – only a sprain;” and again he stood up and tried his foot, but the result extorted and involuntary “Ugh!” (Such a typical male!)
(From my favorite version of Jane Eyre – the Masterpiece Theatre version!)
And we see Mr. Rochester’s habit of messing with people… I’m sure he particularly enjoyed playing with women’s minds, especially one he fancied to be a witch.
(After finding out she lives at Thornfield Hall)
E: Whose house is it?
J: Mr. Rochester’s.
E. Do you know Mr. Rochester?
J. No, I have never seen him.
E. He is not resident, then?
E: Can you not tell me where he is?
J. I cannot.
Of course he knew all this! And he knew that she would know he knew later. ;-)
I love the dialogue between Mr. Rochester and Jane, all their conversations! At the end of one of their little bantering conversations, Jane thinks to herself, “Decidedly he has had too much wine“. They cause Mrs. Fairfax to raise her brows at them, wondering what madness has come over them.
And now, I must get back to reading. I’m right in the middle of one of those interesting conversations right now. I’ll leave you with this description of Mr. Rochester (Jane was obviously very perceptive):
He was, in short, in his after-dinner mood; more expanded and genial, and also more self-indulgent than the frigid and rigid temper of the morning: still he looked preciously grim, cushioning his massive head against the swelling back of his chair, and receiving the light of the fire on his granite-hewn features, and in his great, dark eyes; for he had great, dark eyes, and very fine eyes, too – not without a certain change in their depths sometimes, which, if it was not softness, reminded you, at least of that feeling.
Previous posts on Jane Eyre:
Currently Reading: Jane Eyre (My excitement about starting the book and my review of the Masterpiece Theatre version of the movie)