Thursday, March 24, 2011
Thoughts, Re-reading Jane Eyre: Party People
Warning: Important plot points may be revealed in this post.
I cannot tell whether Miss Ingram was a genius, but she was self-conscious--remarkably self-conscious indeed.
Mr Rochester runs off after the fire to his friend's house. Mrs Fairfax comments that he could be gone awhile, "when these fine, fashionable people get together, they are so surrounded by elegance and gaiety, so well provided with all that can please and entertain, they are in no hurry to separate." Hmm, doesn't really seem like Mr R.
Anyway Jane and Grace Poole play a game of chicken to see who knows what about the fire incident. Jane walks away as bewildered as before. With Mr R gone Jane gets shack happy and frustrated with thoughts of "he loves me, he loves me not." Then the party comes to Thornfield.
Blanche Ingram, the supposed love interest of Mr R, arrives in her finery with her Wicked Witch of the West mother, Lady Ingram. What a pair of bitches. They alternate between complaining about governesses and children, especially Adele. Sweet little Adele. Blanche is perfect in every way except she has a heart two sizes too small and she's a gold digger. (Kanye West could be singing about her.) Needless to say, Jane is in the dumps, having to watch games of charades and duets, all that nonsense.
Then, just for fun, a gypsy woman shows up to read the fortunes of all the young ladies. There's something a little weird about her, oh yeah that's right, it's Mr R! Surprise! He must know Hannah Montana's wig maker. Jane figures it out at the end of the interrogation and manages not to pour her heart out to the 'fortune teller.' The thing is when Mr R is actually sincere, Jane reveals more about her feelings than when he was trying to trick it out of her. (Note to guys: Be real with your girl if you want her to share her true feelings. Don't dress up like an old lady.)
Mr R gets distracted when he hears a man named Mason showed up and goes off to investigate after making this comment: "If all these people came in a body and spat at me, what would you do, Jane?" Something is up. Later there is an altercation in the attic and Mason is hurt. Jane lends a helping hand. Once again Jane is the calm head Mr R needed.
The mystery is building but things don't look good for Jane in the romance department. Having read Jane Eyre before, I know what's going on. Mr R is trying to make Jane jealous to see if her feelings for him match his own. Earlier in the story he asks her if she's ever been jealous. Jane's 18 and living at a girls' school for most of her life, how much opportunity has she had for romance? Zero! So this is all new and painful for her. I understand his reservations but he's coming off as a jerk. Jane is his employee and a young one at that. Revealing her feelings to her boss could be disastrous. Jane is just being smart. She can tell he doesn't love Blanche; she knows him well enough to know that. However, she also knows there are cultural influences that would encourage him to marry her. Not many cases of country gentlemen marrying their governesses. Jane is showing more sense than Mr R.
Hopefully Jane will call him on it in the next reading.