Friday, April 9, 2010

Reading the Classics with Paul Book Group- Jane Eyre Part 2

Well, almost immediately in this week's reading everything has changed.  Helen's part of the story is decidedly over.  I was sorry to see her go but I thought her coda was very sweet.  We flash forward through the rest of Lowood, showcasing an enterprising young woman that Jane has grown into.  We're introduced to the new living space.

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.

1 comment:

  1. I may already be at chapter 18, as you say the reading goes fast. I can't figure out if there are real "ghosts" in this story or just some very weird characters. I do hope Jane wins out in the battle of mind games but it seems to me she reverts to a child like state, craving love and attention and that may bring about her downfall. Look forward to reading more.