“Do you think I am an automaton? a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless?” (296)
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being, with an independent will…” (297)
“I am not an angel…and I will not be one till I die; I will be myself, Mr. Rochester; you must neither expect nor exact anything celestial of me…” (304)
Rochester had a few good lines too:
“I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you, especially when you are near me, as now; it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame.” (295)
Anyway, Jane continues to be amazing. When Rochester admits he was courting Blanche to make Jane jealous, Jane’s biggest concern is whether he hurt Blanche in the process. When Rochester tries to buy her fancy dresses and jewels, she refuses most of them–above all she wants to be herself.
Granted, although she seems to be aware of several warning signs, and keeps Rochester at a bit of a difference, she ignores them. Including the giant symbol of the burnt tree. Hello Jane? You read a lot of books. Don’t you recognize a literary device when it’s staring you in the face?
But, surprise! Rochester has more than a skeleton in his
closet attic–he has a crazy wife he’s stashed away up there. He doesn’t seem to think this is a big deal, and tries to convince Jane to pretend to be his wife anyway.
And Jane, because she is amazing, refuses. Upset, he asks her “Who in the world [besides me] cares for you?”
“I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained, I am, the more I will respect myself.” (369)
As I alluded to in my last post, I have very mixed feelings about Rochester. He tricks Jane, pretends to love someone else, and then hides his past from her. Also, let’s not forget that he’s hidden his wife away in an attic. Hark, A Vagrant has a comic that captures my feelings about this very well (warning: there are spoilers for the end of the book in the footnote at the bottom): http://www.npr.org/assets/img/2011/09/21/harkpg89_archive.jpg.
At the same time, he does love Jane and tries to treat her well in his own way. They banter wonderfully, and they are well-matched. He’s genuinely heartbroken when Jane announces she is leaving. If you ignore or accept the weird stuff, it is very romantic, I suppose.
Our section concludes with Jane running away and almost starving to death before finding a new home with the Rivers–St. John, Mary, and Diana. (Side note: St. John is pronounced SIN-jihn. I have yet to figure out why.)
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