Friday, April 30, 2010
Reading the Classics with Paul- Jane Eyre Part 5
I always cry at weddings, don't you?
Well, we've certainly had an eventful week in our narrative! In fact, I daresay, the bombshell has been dropped and exploded and the rest is fallout (mostly. Actually, I'm ahead in my reading and I will say nothing more than there is another bombshell coming. Although Bertha was decidedly the big one.)
In keeping with the spooky atmosphere but mercifully rooted in the pragmatic world, the narrative brings us to the description of dreams of ill things happening to mother and child. Coming into this side of the Dreaming from what were clearly easily analyzable dreams, Jane sees Bertha for the first time but mistakes the event for some kind of vision. Does Rochester come clean to his soon to be wife? We can take this as a cautionary tale. Don't build elaborate mythologies, secrets and illusions around the woman you're about to marry. This section very much reminded me of Laurie and my recent viewing of the 1944 Ingrid Bergman vehicle called Gaslight, from the lies and deception, even down to the boarded-up third floor. Although that's far from the only film to borrow or resemble Jane Eyre. Welcome to the other side of recognition! I just got here myself.
Then there's Chapter 26. They are rushing to the wedding, they get up to the altar, and then everything falls apart as we learn that Grace Poole has been the victim of being associated too closely with one's work.
Bertha seems to mean a lot of things. On the practical level, she means Jane and Rochester are not going to be getting married right now. On another level, there is the dread of the madwoman, the wild, violent uncontrolled force in the home with happens to be Rochester's wife. Maybe I'm getting a little too eggheaded here, but it would seem to me that Bertha might be a symbol of something. Something to do with a view of marriage and certain forms of marriage. It may even be that this theme will be explored further in other ways in chapters to come.
Without a doubt we end this week with anything but closure. There is much to be resolved. Jane resolves to leave, but not before Rochester digs his hole a little deeper in suggesting more unsatisfactory solutions. He gives his life story. They part on those most difficult of terms, the wounded lovers who are still in love.
As much as I was loving the book before, I really felt it gel into remarkable greatness this week. This next week we shall read through Chapter Thirty-Three, which in my edition takes us up to page 456. The following week we will finish!