- caviler: one who cavils--one who nitpicks, splits hairs, or argues
- letter-press: a quality of printing, resulting in sort of the opposite of embossing; a quality of high-end, old publishing
- bilious: since Bronte's not likely talking about the issue of bile from liver problems, she's more likely using "bilious" to indicate John's bad attitude and temper
Reading Questions and Notes
- The weather as indicator of mood, tone, motif, etcetera is typical of Gothicism, of which Jane Eyre is a defining text. The weather is, of course, generally considered--and especially out of Victorian England--as act of God. What does Bronte indicate by aligning Jane with the weather and the surrounding family with this weather's opposite? "Folds of scarlet drapery shut in my view to the right hand; to the left were the clear panes of glass, protecting, but not separating me from the drear November day."
- While I'm less interested in issues of Transcendentalism, at least at this point (the prefatory "notes" of my edition say it's at issue here), there are already indications of Romanticism: emphasis, even reliance, on human emotion rather than reason; the power and influence of nature and even the supernatural; advocacy of free thought. What does Jane and the text demonstrate of Romanticism this early?
- The passage from Bewick's is indicative of Jane, certainly already but likely increasingly so as we continue through her history. How?
- What is the "solitary church-yard"? Where did it come from? And the gallows?
- Is John Reed not Dudley Dursley, from Harry Potter, or Mo, from Calvin and Hobbes? Why is this the stereotype for bullies?
- There's another issue of weather, taking the dreariness from another perspective: The elements of a storm surely don't dislike their nature and likely find pleasure in the tormenting of the landscape. If Jane is the island, what is the storm?
- Are all entirely against Jane? I doubt the complicity of Eliza and Georgiana.
|by Bill Waterson|