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Monday, January 31, 2011


Norham's Castle
Day set on Norham's castled steep, 
And Tweed's fair river, broad and deep, 
And Cheviot's mountains lone; 

The battled towers. the Donjon Keep, 
The loopholes grates, where captives weep, 
The flanking walls that round it sweep, 
In yellow lustre shone. 

The warriors on the turrets high, 
Moving athwart the evening sky, 
Seem'd forms of giant height: 

Their armour, as it caught the rays, 
Flash'd back again the western blaze, 

In lines of dazzling light.


  1. My new favorite analogy: "I again felt rather like an individual of but average gastronomical powers, sitting down to feast alone at a table spread with provisions for a hundred."  I don't think it's entirely accurate here, but what an image!  And certainly "gastronomic powers" could not have carried quite the same meaning then as now, when we have such things as competitive eating.
  2. The behavior of Mr. Rivers is interesting to me:  his return to Jane's place has the appearance of being merely weather-related; the fact that he sits and waits some time indicates he is without hurry, regardless of whether he's building up his courage or wavering over how to articulate his motives; but the most curious is his immediate, apparently hurried departure.  What's his deal?
  3. Forget Bronte: does cosmic force exist that would draw together such estranged families as these, and why?  Perhaps more importantly (and coming back to the author), how does Bronte avoid the appearance of contrivance here (basically, the "Oh-wow-we're-cousins-isn't-that-freaking-convenient?")?
  4. Regardless of what happens in the conclusion of the book, what might prevent Jane, and remain within her character, from sharing the wealth with her new-found family and living with them happily ever after at Marsh End?
  5. The travel or stagnation of information--its content, context, quantity, and quality (among other characteristics) --play a huge part in the creation of fictions and their conflicts.  Consider the palantiri of The Lord of the Rings, and their effective transference of selective information (or misinformation, depending upon the strategy behind their implementation).  The entire plot of Jane Eyre could not happen (well, not without excruciating ignorance on the part of its players) in the modern world.



  1. I love the poetry. We need more fortresses like that today.

    2. I think that the way he handles it is fairly typical of what people do when they're holding something over someone's head. It's like the cat playing with the mouse. As for his departure, perhaps it is possible that he feels that he is growing too close to Jane. We know how he feels about worldly distractions, and he certainly includes relationships in that category.
    3. To me, it actually does seem a bit contrived, but I think it's within the realm of "suspending one's disbelief" that is acceptable for a novel.
    4. She still hasn't resolved her feelings about Mr. Rochester. She's merely set them aside for the time-being, because they are too painful for her to deal with them.

  2. 2. Less favorably, I got the impression that he was avoiding the confrontation that was surely to over-excite Jane. I think you're interpretation is more likely.
    3. In effort to avoid contrivance, I've before tried to keep things as mundane as possible, then I realized, well, that tends to make a really boring story.


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