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C. Bronte, "Jane Eyre", ch. 23

Text analysis

Carla Langella

on 21 March 2018

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Transcript of C. Bronte, "Jane Eyre", ch. 23

Charlotte Bronte
"Jane Eyre"
chapter 23

The story so far.
Jane Eyre is a young orphan who lives with a cold-hearted aunt and her hostile cousins. One day, after an argument with one of them, her aunt sends her to Lowood charity school, where the discipline is very strict and the girls suffer from cold and hunger.
Jane is plain-looking but intelligent and sharp-whitted, and soon comes to love learning; after eight years she becomes a teacher at Lowood, but her independent spirit and wish for new experiences lead her to advertise for a job as a governess. She finds a place at the household of Mr. Rochester, at Thornfield Hall, and here she has to look after Adèle, a little French girl who is Mr. Rochester's adopted daughter. There is something mysterious in the household: sometimes they hear strange laughter coming from the attic; one night Mr. Rochester's room is found on fire, and another night a man is mysteriously wounded. Jane soon begins to feel attracted to Mr. Rochester, a moody and mysterious man, who is impressed by her sharp wit and resolute spirit. Rochester seems to be about to marry Blanche Ingram, the beautiful but cold-hearted daughter of a neighbour.
Suddenly, Jane is called to the home of her aunt, who is close to death, and during her absence Rochester realises that he loves her. Jane returns and makes an important decision. One night, while she and Rochester are seated under a chestnut tree, they speak to each other freely and openly.

from M. Ansaldo, "EL", Petrini, p.181
Watch the proposal scene from the 2011 film

“I tell you I must go!” I retorted, roused to something like
“Do you think I can stay to
become nothing to you
? Do you think I am an automaton?—
a machine without feelings
? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think,
because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless
You think wrong!
—I have as much soul as you,—and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you.
I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities,
nor even of mortal flesh;—it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet,
equal,—as we are!”
visual text analysis one
*** about

*** about feelings
*** Jane's unconventional speech
visual text analysis two
*** about feelings
*** about values
*** Jane's unconventional speech
“As we are!” repeated Mr. Rochester—“so,” he added,
enclosing me in his arms.
Gathering me to his breast,
pressing his lips on my lips
: “so, Jane!”
“Yes, so, sir,” I rejoined: “and yet not so
; for you are a married man—or as good as a married man, and wed to one inferior to you—to one with whom you have no sympathy—
whom I do not believe you truly love
; for I have seen and heard you sneer at her.
I would scorn such a union
therefore I am better than you—let me go
“Where, Jane? To Ireland?”
“Yes—to Ireland.
I have spoken my mind, and can go anywhere now.”
“Jane, be still; don’t struggle so, like a wild frantic bird that is rending its own plumage in its desperation.”
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me
I am a free human being with an independent will, which I now exert to leave you.”
Another effort set me at liberty, and I stood erect before him.
“And your will shall decide your destiny,” he said: “I offer you my hand, my heart, and a share of all my possessions.”

You play a farce, which I merely laugh at.

“I ask you to pass through life at my side—to be my second self, and best earthly companion.”
“For that fate you have already made your choice, and must abide by it.”
visual text analysis four
*** about feelings
*** about values
*** Jane's unconventional speech
“Jane, be still a few moments: you are
: I will be still too.”
A waft of wind came sweeping down the laurel-walk, and
through the boughs of the chestnut: it wandered away—away—to an indefinite distance—it died. The nightingale’s song was then the only voice of the hour: in listening to it,
I again wept
. Mr. Rochester sat
, looking at me

gently and seriously
. Some time passed before he spoke; he at last said—

Come to my side, Jane, and let us explain and understand one another.

I will never again come to your side:

I am torn away now
, and cannot return.”
“But, Jane, I summon you as my wife: it is you only I intend to marry.”
visual text analysis three
*** about feelings
*** about values
*** Jane's unconventional speech
Full transcript