1) The suffering that Jane endures is compounded by her belief that she has `no claim to ask` for help. How is this philosophy in keeping with her character?
In her novel “Jane Eyre” Charlotte Bronte shows an extraordinary and isolated young woman. Throughout the writing, her embarrassment and complications in communicating represent the main anxiety of the author. Being a poor orphan from the first days of her existence, Jane Eyre felt herself lonely among other people and isolated from the society. Her extraordinary character that is distinguished first of all by the striving for independence that was very difficult to gain for Jane. Being poor, she faced the humiliating attitude of the rich; being a woman she met the opposition of men, who demonstrated their superiority that was recognized by the society. Jane was not impudent and cunning, she was too simple and her character was closed, so she recognized and accepted her position and was looking only for the honest ways to improve it. A young woman knew pretty well that her rights in this world were too limited. This is emphasized in Chapter 28 by the phrase “no claim to ask” – and it is explained by the next phrase – “no right to expect interest in my isolated lot”.
2) As the author of the text, Bronte is the artist who chooses what events happen in the plot, in the same way a painter chooses the composition of a painting. Why did she choose to create a section where her main character goes through so much pain? Is it appropriate?
The novel “Jane Eyre” is full of feelings and emotions. One can’t read it without tears for the first time. The plot blends together romantic and real events and this is the novel’s significance. The Chapter 28 was needed in order to show the full imperfection of that time society deeply and emotionally.
1) Do a bit of quick Wikipedia research, Where do the names Mary, Dianna, St. John, and Hannah come from? What is the significance attached to each name? Compare the meanings of the name with their characterizations in this and the next chapter.
` St. John Rivers – After leaving Thornfield in order to hide from Rochester, Jane met a supporter in the person of St. John Rivers. Together with his sisters he saved her life and did not let her die from starvation. St. John is cold, aloof, and habitually calculating in his relations with other people. Due to his complete alienation from the feelings and concentration exclusively on the strict goal, St. John represents a character that is quite opposite to Edward Rochester. In Chapter 29 St. John is a Jane’s safer who seems to be a kind angel, however in Chapter 30 his real nature is perfectly opened before the reader.
Diana and Mary Rivers are John’s sisters who support Jane and save her life. They are good-natured and well-educated young women also working as governesses to earn their life. They are perfect examples of independent women and have a lot of in common with the main character Jane, serving for her a perfect model of the behavior. As they had more opportunities in their life than Jane, their characters are not so conflicting and they are not so closed and isolated. Diana and Mary perfectly combine the strong characters and preservation of their dignity with friendliness. In Chapter 29 they seem just two simple girls, kind and dependant. However, in Chapter 30 their strong characters are showed to the reader.
Hannah is an old woman working in River’s house for all her life. In Chapter 29 she seems an integral part of the cruel society who asks Jane to go away. However in Chapter 30 it became obvious that she is just too simple to understand Jane’s position, but kind and completely devoted to the family she serves for. Hannah is an example of a devoted servant of that time.
1) Compare the Rivers siblings to the Reed siblings. In what ways are they similar? In what ways are they foils? Do the names signify anything?
The only thing that is similar between Rivers and Reeds is that they are a brother and two sisters. These families are completely different in terms of their upbringing, values, behavior. Reeds are negative, cruel, mean and impudent, their name means “reed” – grass on the bog, while Rivers are positive, honest, kind and disinterested.
2) Reread Janes description of St. Johns sermonizing in the middle of pg. 381. What is her reaction to his tone? Recall that Helens expression of her belief in God caused similar feelings in Jane. How are Helen and St. John alike and different?
The character of St. John possesses one more significant function: he makes an attractive comparison to the understanding of religious conviction of Helen Burns, a girl met earlier in the novel. The Jane’s reaction to the religious conviction of the both characters was the same – being strong and independent she could not accept their submissive position. However their submission was quite different. Contrasting the submissive and tolerant Helen, St. John is energetic and motivated. Helen is passive and ready to accept any destiny the God prepared for her while St. John considers Jesus to be a pioneer that shows the way for him. He is not insincere like for example Mr. Brocklehurst, however he is so strictly upright and lacking in understanding that his actions is really just as disparaging.
1) Enjoy a rereading of the introduction of Rosamung on pg. 393. What does her character symbolize? What is another interpretation of her name beyond what St. John notes (ie, Rose of the World)?
Rosamond Oliver: the small-minded, however very beautiful and friendly girl. In contrast to Blanch Ingram, she is beautiful, but not cruel and selfish. She gives money to organize the school for poor children from the village. The girl represents one more interesting and different character which helps to understand the similarity between St. John and Jane Eyre and the essence of St. John’s difficult nature. She also helps Jane understand at last that beauty does not mean so much and can’t bring mutual love, respect and happiness to the person. St. John calls Rosamond “Rose of the World” – she is just a flower to blossom for some time in this world and than disappear without leaving any remarkable trace.
1) What do you think of St. Johns stoic reasoning behind his decision not to wed Rosamond on pg. 405?
The stoic reasoning of St. John not to marry Rosamond in Chapter 32 seems stupid to the reader at first. However, then it becomes clear that this decision was right for him. Taking his nature into account, one can’t but notice that the nature of Rosamond is quite different. They really have nothing to talk about. She would never understand his passion and her small and simple mind would irritate him all the time. The girl would really be happier with another man who would understand her better. St. John realizes this rather well and did not let himself love her in order not to spoil her life. This is one of the sacrifices the man makes for God and people.
2) On pg. 406, St. John calls himself `a cold, hard man` Do you agree? Does Jane agree? St. John calls himself cold, hard man but Jane just “smiled incredulously”. He was not really hard, but just had strong convictions and sometimes they were stronger of other wishes people usually have. The tear St. John lost after meeting Rosamond testifies that he really had rather kind and sensitive soul.
1) In this chapter, the final pieces of the puzzle slip into place. Is this resolution too coincidental or is it satisfactory?
The novel “Jane Eyre” is significant by the mix of romanticism and realism made by the author. The final resolution in Chapter 33 seems too coincidental so represents the element of romanticism rather than the events which could really happen.
2) Consider the family tree on the board. What parallels do you see amongst the families in terms of structure? How has wealth affected them?
As it was mentioned above the main parallel created by the author is the same structure of the Reed’s and River’s families – a brother and two sisters where Reeds hate each other being really spoiled by their wealth they had from their birth, and Rivers are positive, kind and intelligent plain family who received some wealth being already adult for their kindness. However, the presence or absence of money can’t build human’s character completely, it just can affect it. Here we can trace a one more element of Romanticism – the two families with the same structure but the quite opposite characters of member’s while in real life people can’t be completely good or bad. The author created such parallel in order to show the imperfection of the rich society.
Bronte, C. (1922). Jane Eyre. London: J. M. Dent & Sons