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Friday, January 7, 2011

Jane Eyre XVI -- chapter 16: JANE'S OVAL PORTRAIT

  1. "A deal of people, Miss, are for trusting all to Providence; but I say Providence will not dispense with the means, though he often blesses them when they are used discreetly."
  2. Is there anything to be gained by translating Adele's French, or are the girl's words superfluous?
  3. I appreciate Bronte's lack of attributive description.  Upon hearing that Mr.R is out and will be likely so a week hence or more, she asks, "Are there ladies at the Leas?" and I can't help but hear a variety of  tones in her voice, including, and most strikingly, panic.
  4. I forget sometimes our contemporary parallel to the Lords and Ladies of England from this period.  I forget, because I'm not a little disgusted by the shallow fawning of Mrs. Fairfax over the beauty and elegance and accomplishments and blah, blah, blah of the rich and privileged, not to mention Jane's subsequent insecurity derived from it (a reflection, certainly, of my own insecurity).  Then I remember: People Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, the tabloids, and so on.  Who doesn't love--love and hate--the rich and beautiful?
  5. "...a greater fool than Jane Eyre had never breathed the breath of life; that a more fantastic idiot had never surfeited herself on sweet lies, and swallowed poison as if it were nectar."  There are layers and layers of thoughts.  There are thoughts I have (good and bad; fantastic and realistic) that I won't even let my internal, "speaking" conscious acknowledge, which I keep not just on the back burner but, like, in a crock pot tucked under a pile of collected Wal-Mart bags at the back of the pantry.  Has Jane been aware of her falling for Mr.R but wouldn't even let herself admit it until now?
  6. Consider the themes of Jane's previously described paintings, and their sources.  While the therapy of these paintings was still a bit nebulous after the last mention of them, this seems to solidify their purpose for her: what benefit does she provide herself via her paintings?  With a twist, it recalls to me Poe's "The Oval Portrait."  It is one my favorites of his.  Check it out here.


  1. 2. Totally superfluous. I try to imagine what she's saying based on the few roots that I know from other languages, and I'm almost always disappointed when I read the endnote and realize what she actually said.
    3. Yeah, I imagine it's very poorly masked panic. Really good job there by Bronte getting that across in so few words.
    4. At least the people today do SOMETHING, even if it's just acting, singing, or looking good without much clothes. But that probably is the closest parallel.
    5. I think there's something to that. Also, I find it interesting that Jane's been treated evilly her entire life, but when does she get upset? Not when anyone does anything particular mean, but just when she fears her love is unrequited. It's crazy, but I think it's quite realistic. I find that I can tune a lot of people's dislike for me out as long as the people whom I truly care about love me back.
    6. Let me read this short story and get back to you. I love Poe.

    By the way, I think that this novel is really getting good. It took a while, but I think it's paying off as we learn more about the chief characters.

  2. 6. I see the similarity. Here it is hatred of self rather than love of painting that compels her on, though, although with similar dubious effects.

  3. 5. There are so many things people do that a crazy but realistic.
    6. I love this story by Poe.


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