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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Jane Eyre X -- chapter 10: DEPARTURE with a TAILWIND BLAST FROM THE PAST

Reading Questions
  1. Mr. Brocklehurst: neglectful or dishonest?
  2. The use of the word "inmate" in the third paragraph interests me.  By our modern connotation of the word, its usage here appears to further fulfill the dichotomy of tone thus far: good while being bad; bad while being good.  Since Bronte put pen to paper, has the connotation of the word changed? because etymologically speaking, it's simply this: inmate -- 1580s, "one allowed to live in a house rented by another" (usually for a consideration), from in "inside" + mate "companion." Sense of "one confined to an institution" is first attested 1834 (thanks, etymonline.com).
  3. Could any man, no matter how noble, have been more than "almost worthy of such a wife" as Miss Temple?
  4. How this chapter reminds me of my former employment!  Secret applications (though I expect my motivations for secrecy differed from Jane's) and only getting one response--if any! --to a submitted request.  Why isn't Jane telling anyone her ambition to get away?
  5. Interesting that Jane is so optimistic upon the arrival and reading of the letter from Mrs. Fairfax, so much so that she brushes off the doubt of "getting into a scrape."  But as she proceeds to envision the woman and her possible situation in Thornfield, what risk does she run, anway?
  6. For better or worse, the narration of this story has a heavily feminist tone (a common avenue, feminism, for literary analysis, by the way, and one which I haven't spent much time with).  It would be interesting to read as contrast one of the many novels from the same general period, also with female protagonists but written by men (The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins; Sister Carrie, by Theodore Dreiser; Pamela, by Samuel Richardson; or Evelina, by Frances Burney, to name a few).
  7. Was there evidence in the Gateshead chapters sufficient to justify Bessie's effusion here?  Also, is there any significance to the catchings-up of the Reeds' goings-on?  I expect that Jane, if anticipation of such knowledge had been possible, would have looked forward to news of the Reeds' general lack of grandness, yet what might she be learning of herself now instead?
  8. The final mentioned detail of the conversation is another cliffhanger, the MIA uncle, and this potentially much more significant than the issue of the Helen's family and grave marker.  Any ideas or thoughts?
  9. What is it about Miss Temple's departure that is the required catalyst to Jane's self-awareness?
  10. Chapter 10 marks the end of the second chapter of her life, at least as we know it.  What do you think so far, especially compared to the end of chapter 5, when she left Gateshead?


  1. 1. Dishonest. He heard about these things and thought they were GOOD.
    4. I think it's almost like, "If you want to kill the king, you had better succeed." If she lets it be known that she wants to leave before she receives an offer, she runs the risk of creating ill-will between those with whom she works. Better to have it in place and then suddenly break it off rather than working with people who know that you don't want to be there.
    8. I really don't know. Could having a relative matter at this point? She needed them when she was a child, not so much now.
    10. I think the characters are gaining more nuance as Jane becomes older and her perspective matures. I hope this continues because it's a good thing for the story.

  2. 4. Where does that come from "If you want to kill the king..."? I've never heard it, yet it smacks of aphorism. Did I miss the boat? Very cool.
    10. I'm gaining confidence in Bronte as a writer. Perhaps her greatest strength, at least so far, is the development of voice and observation in Jane as she grows, yet, of course, Bronte writes the book from within a much smaller framework of time.

  3. 4. I really don't know. My dad's always told it to me. I even looked for the person that said it online (if anyone said it!) before I wrote it, but I couldn't find anything. I just love the concept.

  4. 4. along the same lines to james' comment--if jane tells everyone of her secret ambition to find a new appointment, she'll likely feel like a failure and trapped in her current situation if she doesn't succeed. there's nothing worse than telling people of your dreams with every hope they'll come true and then have them fall at your feet in a crumbled heap.

  5. Well said, Katie. That's why for ages I never told anyone that I was writing novels. Even now I can't say that I'm a "writer," and think I might be able to say it once I've gotten published, but not bloody well until. As far as telling people about my books, well, insularity doesn't exactly solve my publication problems.

  6. Frances Burney is a woman, actually, and Evelina could be interpreted as a feminist text, I suppose, but the title character is nothing like Jane Eyre. It's an interesting book, but interesting in a historical relic kind of sense more than in a casual reading sense. Have you read it?

  7. I was assigned to read each of those, and I believe they were all during my stupid spell where I went a semester without reading any of my assigned texts. I went back and read part of it, I remember, and I have read a couple of others I listed up there, but I wasn't crazy about any of them. (And, duh, Joe -- FrancES -- female...)


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