Monday, October 27, 2014

Jane Eyre Read Along Chapters 20 - 23





Welcome to our discussion on chapters 20 -23. This week’s questions and my answers are below.


The events of Chapter 20 are very strange, yet Jane does everything Rochester asks her to do, and continues to trust him, for the most part. She does ask him some questions, but makes no demands for an explanation of what's really going on at Thornfield, nor does she seek another position, in spite of her fears and inner doubts. How can her behavior be explained?


Jane is not in a strong position. She is an employee. Perhaps more importantly Jane has been in places that are much worse then Thornfield. In fact, even with the odd occurrences, one can argue that Thornfield may be the best place that Jane has ever been. Furthermore, as I have noted earlier, Rochester is a strong personality. There must certainly be some temptation for Jane to go along.

This does raise an interesting question about Jane’s character. She seems to vary between a relatively passive person who does just go along, and a strong person who vigorously stand by her convictions. Here she is playing the passive role. When her inner beliefs are challenged, that is when she seems to show a lot of will.



Rochester pressures the doctor to rush Mason out of the house and away, even though the latter is seriously injured. What do you think of this action, and why he took it?


These actions seem to go along with Rochester’s actions to deceive as well as to be secretive. As we progress through the book we will no doubt find out why he is so mysterious here.

The effect on the narrative at least for me, is to really draw the reader in with a terrific sense if mystery.




What do you think of Eliza and Georgina as adults? 


It seems that the maliciousness of the sisters’ childhood has reaped a bitter adulthood. The two now hate one another. Eliza seems to have allowed religion to make her self - righteous. Georgina has become bitter. I think that Bronte may be trying to show the results of a having malicious behavior encouraged in childhood.



Do you think Jane was right to forgive Mrs. Reed in light of the important information the later withheld from Jane for three years?



I think that Jane would have forgiven Mrs. Reed anyway. This seems consistent with her personality. Though at times she is inconsistent about it, in many ways Jane does exhibit a Christian worldview and behaves as such. In addition to concealing the fact of Jane’s inheritance, Mrs. Reed has treated Jane terribly, yet Jane forgives her anyway.

Personally, I almost never fault anyone for forgiving others who have transgressed against them.



What does Jane's impassioned speech to Mr. Rochester, while they're in the orchard, tell the reader about her?


Jane is a person of strong emotions. Furthermore, though in some ways introverted, she seems to always eventually speak her mind. Here she finally articulates her feelings for Rochester, as well as the life that she has found at Thornfield. Jane also is clearly in love with Rochester.



A terrible storm suddenly springs up, as Chapter 23 draws to a close. During the night, lightning strikes the horse-chestnut tree, at the base of which Jane and Rochester had sat earlier. The tree is split in two. Do you think this is a bad omen? If so, what do you think it means? 



This has bad omen written all over it. Obviously something sinister is going to come between Jane and Rochester. I am of two minds about the symbolism here. It is deliciously powerful. On the other hand I do think that one could argue that it is a little over the top, melodramatic and heavy handed.


Next week we will be reading chapters 24 – 28. Below are our discussion questions. As always please feel free to answer as many, or as few as you would like.


At several points both Rochester and Jane refer to each other in terms of mythical creatures and magic. Why do you think that they do this?



In Chapter 24 when Rochester jokingly compares Jane to a Turkish slave girl Jane becomes indignant and replies sharply to him. Does this say anything about Jane’s personality and the relationship between the two?



At one point, after gazing at the damaged horse-chestnut tree, Jane gathers apples in the garden and remarks “ I employed myself in dividing the ripe from the unripe” Do you think that there is any significance to this?




In chapter 25 Jane relates to Rochester several of her dreams. What do you make of them?



Rochester is revealed to have perpetrated a major deception upon Jane in regards to his first marriage. What does this say about Rochester?



What do you think of Jane’s decision to flee from Rochester?



Please link all posts using the widget below so that we can all read them.





Week 6: Oct. 27th

Reading: Chapters 24 - 28
Discussion Questions: Chapters 20 - 23
Discussion Questions for Next Week:
Babbling Books


Week 7: Nov. 3rd

Reading: Chapters 29 - 33
Discussion Questions: Chapters 24 - 28
Discussion Question for Next Week:
A Night's Dream of Books


Week 8: Nov. 10th

Reading: Chapters 34 - 38
Discussion Questions: Chapters 29 - 33
Discussion Questions for Next Week:
Babbling Books


Week 9: Nov. 17th

Discussion Questions, Chapters 34 - 38


Week 9: Nov. 21st

Book Reviews Posted





Monday, October 20, 2014

Jane Eyre Read Along Chapters 15-19






Welcome to our discussion chapters 15 - 19. This week’s questions and answers are below.


Rochester seems a very strong personality. Is it surprising that he would become enamored with someone like Céline Varens?


I think that Rochester’s in infatuation with Céline is problematic, but it is, in the end believable. Rochester is both intelligent and has a strong personality. Furthermore he expresses the opinion that he is looking for a mate with similar attributes. Céline seems to be vacuous at best. Though unexpected, based upon observation of real people, I find that this fictional relationship is plausible. In real life, sometimes these very powerful personalities will gravitate towards a persona less intelligent and with less gravitas. I think that such relationships generally do not work in the long run. In the time of Jane Eyre, where marriage was more or less permanent, matrimony in this case would likely lead to very unhappy participants.


We find that Thornfield Hall is a place with strange servants, where demonic laughter is heard and mysterious fires are set. Are these just clever and atmospheric plot devices or is Bronte saying something more?


As I have written previously, I think that Bronte is trying to say something about the Universe in this book. In the author’s reality there are mysterious things about. The world is a strange place with some very dim recesses in it. Some twisted and frightening things are going on. The nature of this  darkness is in of itself mysterious. Perhaps this is all a manifestation of the human mind.

Either way I think that Bronte is trying to dig into something fundamental here. This is manifested in various aspects of this work including the nature of the inhabitants, and the goings on in Thornfield Hall. In my commentary thus far, I have been admittedly vague about this gray part of existence. I am waiting until I am through the book in order to say anything too definitive about it.


At one point Jane rebukes her self as a result of her attraction for Rochester and resolves to suppress that attraction. Is this a realistic reaction of a person falling in love? Do people act this way in the real world and the present day?


I do think that Jane’s reaction here is very realistic.  Personally, I have known people who, when falling for someone attempt to resist doing so. Sometimes, depending on circumstances, personalities, as well as how far deep they are in the process, such endeavors fail. I suspect that they will also fail with Jane and that she will continue to fall in love with Rochester.


Jane believes that Rochester is planning on marrying for the benefit of connections. Is she accessing his character fairly? Based upon what we know about Rochester at this point, would a man like him likely enter into marriage for such reasons?


From the outside looking in, it seems obvious that Rochester would never marry for such materialistic reasons. However, no matter how intelligent and perceptive that Jane is, from her point of view, her assessment of the situation is certainly understandable. The evidence indicates that Rochester will marry for these reasons. A reader of a novel also has the advantage of concentrating on the character traits that the author wants us to see. Thus, while Jane’s hypothesis is off base, it is not unfair of her to believe it.


At one point Blanche Ingram insults and acts cruelly to a passive Jane. Rochester allows this to go on and he takes no action to stop it. What can be concluded from his behavior?



I was curious as to why Rochester does not intervene. In some ways, though a man of strong emotions, he seems detached especially when it comes to the needs of others. I get the impression that he considers the insulting behavior to be  trivial and will not allow it to occupy his thoughts or time. Another possibility is that, as in the interview, he may be testing Jane to see how she reacts to it all.


Rochester disguises himself as a fortuneteller and deceives Jane and several other characters. Is this the act of a trustworthy person?  In reality can someone who acted this way ever be worthy of trust?


Once again Rochester shows himself to be flawed hero. The entire episode seems to be another of his tests. One thing about Rochester is that he is single minded and arrogant. It seems that he planned this charade and was determined to carry it out regardless of the fact that he was practicing deception. As far as this goes, while not a pernicious character, he cannot really be trusted to act honestly in his everyday affairs.


Next week we will be reading chapters 20 -24. The questions are below.



The events of Chapter 20 are very strange, yet Jane does everything Rochester asks her to do, and continues to trust him, for the most part. She does ask him some questions, but makes no demands for an explanation of what's really going on at Thornfield, nor does she seek another position, in spite of her fears and inner doubts. How can her behavior be explained?


Rochester pressures the doctor to rush Mason out of the house and away, even though the latter is seriously injured. What do you think of this action, and why he took it?



What do you think of Eliza and Georgina as adults? 



Do you think Jane was right to forgive Mrs. Reed in light of the important information the later withheld from Jane for three years?

What does Jane's impassioned speech to Mr. Rochester, while they're in the orchard, tell the reader about her?

A terrible storm suddenly springs up, as Chapter 23 draws to a close. During the night, lightning strikes the horse-chestnut tree, at the base of which Jane and Rochester had sat earlier. The tree is split in two. Do you think this is a bad omen? If so, what do you think it means? 



Please do not forget to add your name and the link to your latest post below.




Week 5: Oct. 20th

Reading: Chapters 20 - 23
Discussion Questions: Chapters 15 - 19
Discussion Questions for Next Week:
A Night's Dream of Books


Week 6: Oct. 27th

Reading: Chapters 24 - 28
Discussion Questions: Chapters 20 - 23
Discussion Questions for Next Week:
Babbling Books


Week 7: Nov. 3rd

Reading: Chapters 29 - 33
Discussion Questions: Chapters 24 - 28
Discussion Question for Next Week:
A Night's Dream of Books


Week 8: Nov. 10th

Reading: Chapters 34 - 38
Discussion Questions: Chapters 29 - 33
Discussion Questions for Next Week:
Babbling Books


Week 9: Nov. 17th

Discussion Questions, Chapters 34 - 38


Week 9: Nov. 21st

Book Reviews Posted