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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Jane Eyre XI -- chapter 11: GHOSTS and CROWS

For the size of this chapter, there's remarkably little in it, more than just the transition from old life to new, and I just have a few points to draw your attention to, any one or more of which are well worth discussion:

  1. There's a marked romanticism to the opening of the chapter, through the stay at the hotel and the drive and early introduction to Thornfield;
  2. the development of her impression and understanding of Mrs. Fairfax;
  3. the continued absence of dominant male figures ("dominant" as in consistently present and/or influential), who have very little apparent motive for continued absence--they're just not here;
  4. the slip from romantic back to gothic with the mounting exploration of the mansion;
  5. the nature of the discussion--internal and external--of ghosts, as they are clearly an accepted facet and group of participants in every day life, unsurprising and unremarkable, except that they bear with them some measure of terror.


  1. I'm really not sure what to make of this story so far. Is it going to turn into magical realism? A deeply psychological sort of tale? Or is she just going to grow out of these ghostly episodes? It's a bit interesting that a book has gone on this long without (at least in my mind) a clear sense of which genre we are reading. And I guess it doesn't really bother me that much because I'm enjoying the book a lot. It's just hard to get a feel for exactly what is going to happen next--or even a sort of ballpark estimate. In some ways, that can make it more fun, I guess, even as it is somewhat frustrating in others.

  2. As far as I'm concerned, this is pretty straight up Gothic, with a few other things thrown in. My only problem with it--and, really, this is related to your point--is that as we proceed, there is too much of the Romanticism to maintain the Gothicism. I think the jury's still out on whether it will work effectively or not.

  3. I see this becoming less Gothic as we go on. I obviously can't be sure since I've never read it before, but this just seems more "Cinderella" than anything else. We'll see.

  4. Like you said earlier, and for me this is significant, at least it's fascinating and engrossing enough to keep reading. The genre issue doesn't detract from the overall effect. I'm also really enjoying it.

  5. Yeah, I agree. The fact that we can't easily put it in a box shouldn't detract too much. I am enjoying reading it.


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