Friday, April 9, 2010
Reading the Classics with Paul Book Group- Jane Eyre Part 2
Mrs. Fairfax is a gentle and loving woman. I really get a kick out of Adele as well. She's a breath of fresh air in what would otherwise be a very gloomy atmosphere filled with mainly very gloomy people. Occasionally literally (as when she tries on her present) the only bit of color in the place. I think there must be some metaphoric intent in Jane's description of her own clothing as Quaker. She seems to live an austere and ascetic life, content with bare necessities and very little in the way of diversion. I understand that her formative years were in a place where deprivation was the norm and so this is the young woman she is as she enters the larger world.
We soon realize that there is far more to the house than meets the eye and that there is also an absent employer. I know enough about the story to come to know that the weird laughing Jane keeps hearing is, in fact, foreshadowing.
Mr. Rochester is a dictionary definition of Byronic hero, isn't he? At his entrance into the narrative right down to the detail of having a foot injury. He's moody and closed, brooding but intellectually sparring, giving to fits of strange rhapsodies and apparent visions (I think. Anyway, the whole scene near the end with him embrace an angel or whatever it was struck me as very strange. I think he may spend too much time alone.)
He's also a bit of an ass, but a troubled one. Almost as if there was some horrible secret, some skeleton in his closet which Jane is totally unaware of at this point in the narrative. A secret which will shed light on why he behaves as he behaves and somehow explain why it's okay that he play mind games with his new employee.
Our reading this week ends with one of the odder flirting scenes I've ever read. It's full of awkward fumblings for power and dominance mixed with commentary on character, social duty and forgetting of position on both sides. It seems to establishing a game of wits. Somehow, I think smart money's on Jane.
This next week we shall read through Chapter 18 which will bring us to page 226 in my edition. It is fast reading and we've still a long way to go.