Septemb-Eyre (Chapters 12-21)

(Click on the comic to see a bigger version on the artist’s website)
Kate Beaton: “Dude Watchin’ with the Brontës” Hark, A Vagrant! #202.

This comic captures what life must have been like for the Brontë sisters. Let’s face it–Rochester isn’t really going to win any personality awards. He’s definitely a step above Heathcliff, the male lead from Wuthering Heights, if you are familiar with Charlotte’s sister’s novel. He’s kind to Jane and Adele in his way and seems to care about them to some degree. At the same time, he’s grumpy, brooding, and unpredictable. I have trouble getting over the age difference between him and Jane (he’s twice her age–she’s 18 and he’s 35). And what is he doing with Blanche Ingram, eh?
One thing that struck me as I reread the book this time was how lonely and isolated Jane is prior to Mr. Rochester’s arrival. I don’t think that had really stood out to me before. In my head, she was content to be at Thornfield from her arrival until Rochester enters the story. In reality, she’s has more wanderlust and desire to escape her situation than I remembered. Faced with this loneliness (which I imagine reflects Charlotte Brontë’s loneliness), it’s no surprise that she falls for Rochester so quickly.
Having read Jane Eyre before, there’s not a lot more I can add because I don’t want to spoil anything for first time readers. I will cryptically say it’s been enjoyable finding more hints of what’s to come scattered throughout the book. 

This post is part of the Septemb-Eyre Read-Along hosted on Entomology of a Bookworm. Be sure to check out all the wonderful posts from other participants.


12 thoughts on “Septemb-Eyre (Chapters 12-21)

  1. Kerry M

    Oh, Rochester's little game with Miss Ingram is GETTING ON MY NERVES.

    The speed with which Jane falls for Rochester kind of bothered me, but I hadn't thought about it from the perspective of her loneliness before. Someone else pointed out that having been so starved for love in her life, it makes sense that she'd be quick to fall, which also makes sense.

  2. magsteronni

    Ha! That comic is genius.

    And Jane's loneliness didn't stick out to me until I read about it on other blogs–I guess I wasn't paying attention during that chapter or two, oops! – Maggie @ An American in France

  3. Madeleine

    Yes! The Blanche/Rochester game is ridiculous. Last time I read, I don't know if I ever fully understood WHY Rochester is playing these games (if I did, I forgot). Maybe things will become clearer with the rest of my reread.

    I think Jane is starved for love, lonely, and a bit too self-deprecating at time, which makes her a bit vulnerable. While it works for me within the story, when I step outside of it and think about it, it sometimes makes me a bit uncomfortable.

  4. Madeleine

    I love the comic (and really everything by Hark! A Vagrant).

    The loneliness stood out to me more this time than it did last time, but I also just recently moved to a new city where I don't really know many people, so maybe I just identified with Jane's description a bit more this time around…

  5. JoanneMarie Faust

    I didn't think about her loneliness until this reading, either. She was used to a spartan and simple life. The grandeur of Thornfield and the good people she spent her time with there seemed to be a novel adventure for her. But, think about it. She just headed out into the world and wound up just far enough away from it that she couldn't help but feel a little cheated and trapped. Of course, Mr. Rochester is nothing if not the cure to boredom. He's always got some surprise or other up his sleeve.

  6. Charlene C

    Ooh I love that cartoon! Poor Anne!

    I think in the recent Jane Eyre film – the 2011 one, they really highlighted that loneliness for Jane in the beginning and again when Rochester left after the fire in his room – and it's something I loved about the film partly because it gave the story something poignant to center on, and also because it makes that contrast between life with and without Rochester greater.

  7. Loosheesh

    The Blanche/Rochester thing got on my nerves as well! I wanted to, a la Andie, “kick him in the crotch” and spin Blanche by her hair! Too many bad feels 😦

    Hilarious cartoon, btw 😀

  8. Madeleine

    I agree–the atmosphere and loneliness is one thing that the 2011 film really captured well. I've only seen it once–definitely need to revisit it again after Septemb-Eyre.

  9. Madeleine

    This makes a lot of sense. Thornfield would initially be very exciting because she's lived in such a narrow world her whole life, until she realized she is still pretty isolated from the world by her location. Really though, isn't that the way most of life often seems to work? We're initially excited about new things until we settle in and the new becomes the mundane.


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