Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Portrait of a Governess: Disconnected, Poor, and Plain


Chapter Eleven
Jane is taken to her new employment at Thornfield Hall and meets Mrs. Fairfax, a kindly older woman and the manager of the mansion belonging to Mr. Rochester, who does not reside there himself very often.  Mr. Rochester is guardian of Adèle Varens, a girl of eight and Jane’s pupil.  In exploring the rooms and halls of Thornfield, Jane thinks she hears ghostly laughing, but then brushes it off as foolishness when Mrs. Fairfax assures her it was one of the servants.

Chapter Twelve
Jane has so much to be grateful for, but she wants more than to just be content with serenity; she wants action and change and to utilize her abilities instead of being confined to her usual mundane tasks.  One day she walks to town to mail a letter for Mrs. Fairfax when she encounters a gentleman on horseback who has an accident, and she helps him as much as she can until he is on his way, leaving her thinking about the incident as something new in her droning life; and when she returns to Thornfield, she learns that the gentleman she helped is none other than Mr. Rochester.

Chapter Thirteen
What a queer, distracted, cold man Mr. Rochester seems to me; Jane considers him to be abrupt.  He spent some time analyzing her paintings, her piano playing ability, and her life, and with that, he is able to tell Jane about own experiences and what kind of person she is.  According to Mrs. Fairfax, he had some family problems and acquired Thornfield Hall on a technicality, and has not been happy about it since.

Chapter Fourteen
Though Jane rarely sees Mr. Rochester during his time at Thornfield, he does call her and Adèle to see him one evening, and he has a long conversation with Jane; awkward though it is for her, as he is unusually talkative and always brazen.  Sometime later, Adèle makes a comment about her mother (and I had to research that because I do not know French) and Mr. Rochester tells Jane that he will explain it to her later.

Chapter Fifteen
Mr. Rochester does relate the story of Adèle’s mother: she was a French opera-dancer, whom he loved and cared for until he caught her in the midst of an affair; and later she left an infant daughter to his responsibility, which he took in, although he does not believe Adèle to be his and does not show her much affection.  One night, Jane hears demonic laughing again and a door open, causing her to leave her room, when she sees or smells smoke coming from Mr. Rochester’s room and must throw basins of water on him to wake him while putting out a fire; he is genuinely grateful.  For some reason he searches the third floor and then returns saying, “I have found it all out…it is as I thought,” and then they discuss Grace Poole, the servant.   (Did she really try to kill him?  Huh?)

Chapter Sixteen
In the morning, Jane learns that Mr. Rochester did not relieve Grace Poole of her duties, nor was she punished; in fact, everyone in the house believes it is an accidental candle fire.  Jane also finds out that Mr. Rochester has left for a week to attend an elite party where beautiful woman will be, including a woman named Blanche Ingram, whom Jane compares herself.  She punishes herself for foolishly believing that flattery and praise from Mr. Rochester would do her any good.





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