marginalia || Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte – pt. 03

Most true is it that “beauty is in the eye of the gazer.”  My master’s colourless, olive face, square, massive brow, broad and jetty eyebrows, deep eyes, strong features, firm, grim mouth,—all energy, decision, will,—were not beautiful, according to rule; but they were more than beautiful to me; they were full of an interest, an influence that quite mastered me,—that took my feelings from my own power and fettered them in his.  I had not intended to love him; the reader knows I had wrought hard to extirpate from my soul the germs of love there detected; and now, at the first renewed view of him, they spontaneously arrived, green and strong!  He made me love him without looking at me.

Beyond the hints at more ominous secrets, the little heartbreaks at faux-fiancée Blanche Ingram, beyond news of illness from what used to be home, so very long ago–I still linger on the romance between Jane and Rochester. That part where Rochester comes to Thornfield Hall after what seems like the longest time to Jane? And it looks like he’s ignoring her, it looks like he’s favoring Blanche over Jane–and Jane keeps telling herself to stop thinking about Rochester, not in that way, dammit woman, get a hold of yourself–that kind of thing? And that part where Jane leaves the most unpleasant rich-people-party evahr, and Rochester chases after her, and he’s funny and he’s asking how she is, and there’s that sternness again, that reluctant sweetness? That one? Where he demands that she go back in there, and Jane’s all like, Hell no I’m tired, and he’s like looking at her for a long-ass time and observes, You sad or something? And Jane stammers and denies anything that has to do with sadness and him, and Rochester’s like, Tell me, and then he’s like,

“But I affirm that you are: so much depressed that a few more words would bring tears to your eyes—indeed, they are there now, shining and swimming; and a bead has slipped from the lash and fallen on to the flag.  If I had time, and was not in mortal dread of some prating prig of a servant passing, I would know what all this means.  Well, to-night I excuse you; but understand that so long as my visitors stay, I expect you to appear in the drawing-room every evening; it is my wish; don’t neglect it.  Now go, and send Sophie for Adèle.  Good-night, my—”  He stopped, bit his lip, and abruptly left me.

Edward Fairfax Rochester bit his fucking lip. Swoon x Infinity. Aherm. I know that if I were a self-respecting book blogger, I would share my thoughts on how the existence of Bertha Mason is slowly being revealed to us, how there’s this wonderful little sub-plot about Rochester and Jane and that beast Blanche Ingram. But man. I am not a self-respecting book blogger then. Hee.

[The Rereading Jane Eyre series: PART 01: Returning to Jane Eyre’s world. Remembering what has been forgotten, & especially the things you never knew you even forgot. PART 02: More on reunions–“I am older than Jane Eyre.” And the first months of Jane’s life at Thornfield Hall.] [Up next: The First Man I Ever Loved–you know I am talking about Edward Fucking Rochester, kids.]

12 thoughts on “marginalia || Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte – pt. 03

  1. For what it’s worth, I’m enjoying your little swoon-fest over Rochester, Sasha. I share your feelings even though intellectually I know I should find him really creepy. I mean, the whole pretending-to-be-a-gypsy-hag thing? Not to mention Bertha, of course. But oh, that Charlotte Brontë. She knew how to do her stuff.

    1. We could invest so much discussion in the tropes, the characters themselves, the motivations. And yes, that Gypsy thing is an example of not-very-subtle fishing. Sometimes creepy, occasionally mean and heartless. And Bertha, Bertha, Bertha.

      But, yes, there’s just something about him. His flaws, and how he grovels? Haha, I still need time to completely figure it out.

      And Bronte’s language just blows me away. I can’t believe I lingered on passages as much as I did–I’m not usually a Classics kind of girl. [Also, I don’t know how you made that umlaut, haha.]

  2. Ahhhhh! Rochester! You are such a wonderful man. I remember the first time I read this thinking he was really going to go for Blanche and I was about ready to throw the book in the trash. But I kept going. Thank God.

    1. I thought it was so cut-and-dried–that Rochester would want that beast for a wife, if only because of social class and all that. But true love prevailed, haha. [On a related note: I’m trying to write an article for a publication, abt Rochester. It’s going to be called, “The First Man I Ever Loved,” hahaha.]

    1. I’ve been trying to write that essay on Rochester being “The First Man I Ever Loved”–it’s proven difficult, haha, all I want to do is squeal.


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