Poor, poor Jane, and her poor, unfortunate circumstances. First, she is orphaned
Even though things are looking up at the end of Chapter XI, I've got a sneaking suspicion this state of happiness is not meant to last in Jane Eyre's world.
What struck me most about Jane throughout each of these trying situations was her terrible, incredible sense of justice. She argues with the Reeds, with her teachers, and with her dear friend Helen that she could not possibly back down in a situation in which she felt herself to be in the right:
"You are good to those who are good to you. It is all I ever desire to be. If people were always kind and obedient to those who are cruel and unjust, the wicked people would have it all their own way; they would never feel afraid, and so they would never alter, but would grow worse and worse. When we are struck at without reason, we should strike back again very hard; I am sure we should--so hard as to teach the person who struck us never to do it again."Now that is a 10-year-old who knows her own mind. But then again, she doesn't, always, for she continually puts so much stock in what others think of her; her sense of justice is completely tied up in her sense of how other people view her.
I've never read this, but I have a feeling that may get complicated for her down the road, single, unattractive, passionate girl that she is.
And also, what's up with the "circumstance of ghostliness" that accompanies the "curious cachination" (love that turn of phrase, even f spellcheck doesn't think "cachination" is a word)? Is Jane Eyre a book I could have put on my RIP VIII list?
For those reading for the first time, what did you find most noticeable about Jane?
For those re-reading, what stood out to you the second time through?
Next week: Chapters XII-XXI.
*I mean, really, the Reeds must be the original Dursleys. What part of Bronte's description of John Reed does not remind you of Dudley?
"John Reed was a school boy of fourteen years old...large but stout for his age, with a dingy and unwholesome skin; thick lineaments in spacious visage, heavy limbs and large extremities. He gorged himself habitually at table, which made him bilious... He ought now to have been at school; but his mamma had taken him home for a month or two, 'on account of his delicate health.' Mr Miles, the schoolmaster, affirmed that he would do very well if he had fewer cakes and sweetmeats sent him from home; but the mother's heart turned from an opinion so harsh, and inclined to the more refined idea that John's sallowness was owing to over-application, and, perhaps, to pining after home."