Disclaimer: I’m tired, have a tummy ache, and the tv is on…sorry if this post is a bit disjointed!
Good ol’ Jane. This second section shows her getting situated as governess at Thornfield Hall. Her life is pleasant and solitary…and then Mr. Rochester shows up. He is handsome in a dark, nontraditional sort of way. They share many conversations and Jane soon (very soon) starts falling for him. He is clearly interested in her as well, but to what extent? It seems his obligations to his class might stand between him and Jane.
When Rochester brings a party of fellow high society people to Thornfield, we meet Miss Ingram, a beautiful and self-important woman more suited to Rochester’s class standing. Jane literally draws a self portrait and a portrait of Miss Ingram and makes herself look at them whenever she starts pining for Rochester. For someone as confident and self-possessed as Jane, she really allows herself to be trod upon by Miss Ingram and the members of her set. I suppose that would be true for the times. It seems that the governess could not expect the conversations like Jane and Rochester had let alone a romantic entanglement.
The gypsy scene was a lot of fun. I remembered from my previous read that Rochester was somehow involved, but I had totally forgotten that Rochester actually WAS the gypsy (I think I thought he was hiding in the shadows watching his guests’ reactions). It was a nice treat for a reread! As the gypsy, Rochester seems to imply that Jane has happiness within her reach yet she won’t reach out for it or isn’t aware of it. Is he implying that Jane should be more assertive in a romantic relationship? That would be incredibly progressive!
The final event in this section is when Jane goes to see Mrs. Reed on her death bed. This is another scene that I did not remember very well. As the reader, you are hoping for a reconciliation and for good closure for Jane, but that is not the case. Instead, she learns that her aunt kept news of existing family (and a chance at an inheritance) from Jane for years. Also, Mrs. Reed’s final words to Jane were horrible. She never acknowledged her mistreatment of Jane. Instead, she made herself out to be the victim here, the martyr that gave of herself to care for an ungrateful, mean-spirited, evil child. I suppose this should not be surprising…it fits in with her character perfectly. However, we see a great moment of Jane’s strength, maturation, and development.
” ‘Love me, then, or hate me, as you will,’ I said at last, ‘you have my full and free forgiveness, ask now for God’s and be at peace.’
Poor, suffering woman! It was too late for her to make now the effort to change her habitual frame of mind: living, she had ever hated me–dying, she must hate me still.”
Jane seems to have learned from Helen. When Helen spoke of her creed to “clearly distinguish between the criminal and his crime.” She sees her aunt as a poor, depraved woman who cannot change and cannot be truly happy. She is able to forgive her and pity her and move on with her life.