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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Jane Eyre XVII -- chapter 17: PARTY HARDY

  1. After the first paragraph, Jane is clearly very much in love, but there is a problem, and a significant one, as much from her culture as for ours: "He is not of your order: keep to your caste, and be too self-respecting to lavish the love of the whole heart, soul, and strength, where such a gift is not wanted and would be despised."  Or do I overstep myself?  Are we not as susceptible to issues of caste as was those of Victorian England?
  2. In the second paragraph, Jane considers leaving Thornfield.  If she indeed leaves, what then is her pattern?
  3. Call me crazy, but I think I would actually prefer to be one of the permanent serving staff at a place like Thornwood than be a visiting Lord.  Thoughts (regarding the book, not me)?
  4. I want to like Adele, but she's coming across more as a prop, less as a character--like a ventriloquist's dummy, which parallel I don't think is far off the mark considering that no matter how much she talks she doesn't really say anything.  (And indeed, "Oh what a little puppet!" from Miss Ingram, which comment in context of the situation which drew it causes me to draw up defensively in favor of Adele.  Perhaps she's not such a puppet after all!)
  5. "...and all had a sweeping amplitude of array that seemed to magnify their persons as a mist magnifies the moon."  This is my favorite description of Bronte's yet.  It reminds me of Steinbeck's paisanos' foggy treasure hunt through the dark forest of Tortilla Flat, only here it's used as metaphor, and, perhaps surprisingly, Steinbeck intended to summon ghosts with his fog, while Bronte, otherwise wont to bring the phantoms, merely points out silvery, mysterious, and floating elegance.
  6. I love the British "well preserved" to indicate what we call "aging well."  I can't help but think of pickles.
  7. A stark grammatical shift!  Notice the change to present tense immediately after the introduction of Adele to the fancy ladies.  Certainly this lends a change of tone, but is it necessary (and by "necessary" I mean effectively serving Bronte's purpose, whatever that may be at this point)?
  8. Finally Jane admits her love of the man; and, o, the final moments of the chapter!


  1. 1. Certainly there are issues, but I don't think it's AS bad. I'm reading "Pride and Prejudice" right now, also, so between the two books, I'm getting a pretty good appreciation for how ridiculous it was.
    3. Neither is great. I don't socialize particularly well, but I enjoy the pursuits of the lords more.
    4. Yeah, I think this novel's enduring problem is a lack of a strong secondary cast.

  2. I'm not a partier, and I'm in no way lordly or really even interested in their pursuits. But to live in a place like that--especially one like Thornwood where the "master" is so infrequently present--would be awesome. Get the run of the place without any responsibility save cleaning stuff, which I'd do in my own place anyway.

    So "Pride and Prejudice," eh? I'm working on "The Four Feathers," another contemporary, and after these two, I'm going to do something very modern and non English.

  3. Yes, I thought about calling off P&P the other day. One more Victorian love story would be the death of me. I'm looking at reading "Pilgrim's Progress" by John Bunyan next, one that I got with my Nook money for Christmas. Have you read it? I love allegories, so I'm pretty excited.

  4. I'm not familiar with "Pilgrim's Progress." I might have to look into that. Premise?

  5. Here is the B&N synopsis:

    "Faith, Hope, Mercy, Envy, Ignorance, Guilt: These are not abstract concepts, but the names of vividly imagined, sharply drawn human characters encountered by Christian, the hero of The Pilgrim’s Progress. In John Bunyan’s seventeenth-century allegory of the soul’s search for salvation, each step along the way becomes a dramatic rendering of an inner state of the human psyche. As Christian journeys from “the wilderness of this world” to the glory of the Celestial City, he confronts a seemingly endless array of temptations, threats, and dangers, including the nearly irresistible allure of material splendor at Vanity Fair; the crushing psychological burden of depression and despair in the Slough of Despond; and the fear and uncertainty that eats away at faith in Doubting Castle.

    "This edition includes both the first and second parts of The Pilgrim’s Progress, which collectively reflect the feverish intensity of Bunyan’s religious beliefs. What remains significant is Bunyan’s ability to transform this intensity into an allegory that speaks to people of all faiths and all eras."

    The academic who writes the introduction and notes is apparently from Lehigh University, though, one of American University's Patriot League rivals. They knocked our basketball team out of the conference tournament last year. I don't know that I'll be able to read it anymore!


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