Jane Eyre Jane Eyre discussion


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Rochester: Yay or Nay?

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Aimee What do you think?


Okie I don't think either option she has in the book is good enough. St. John was a selfish, cold fish. Rochester is just plain cruel, no matter how he feels about her.


Kate I liked Rochester. But I don't think I liked him for Jane. He treated her rather badly...


Okie I hear you, Kate. St. John ended up being so white-washed. It seemed to me a choice between two evils.....


Cindy I love Rochester. He suffered for his sins and Jane is his reward.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

"He treated her badly". I have heard said that Rochester was unkind, unworthy and many other descriptions. But as I saw it even as a teen, he was tortured by his own desires needing to keep her at a distance yet she fell in love with him. It is the height of poetic literature. I found him irresistible and a tortured hero.


message 7: by Woolfie (last edited May 23, 2011 07:06AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Woolfie Silvanus I think he was a product of his time. Bear in mind the 'bad boy' or being mad, bad and dangerous to know, was in it's heyday during that period; case in point the most wanted man in Europe, sought after for dangerous liaisons by women; Lord Byron, the paragon misogynistic, fiercely,scandalously romantic aloof male figures such as Heathcliff and Mr Darcy were figures of tragic romance and social realism respectively. Rochester has many faults, granted, one of them being that he loves too much but not to well.


Alley Rivers Chen I agree with Woolfie that Rochester is in part a product of the time. However, it's hard to overlook his treatment of Bertha. His original plan was to smoother her in her sleep which he so nobly decided against. And then while it was kind of him to keep her out of the insane asylum, locking her up in almost total isolation except for a drunk woman is not the kindest act.


Woolfie Silvanus Well I suppose but considering that the asylum would be tantamount to a fate worse than death in those benighted days of 'medicine', perhaps he saw two unattractive options and chose the lesser of the two. As much as he acknowledges her insanity and blames Mason for witholding the truth of her condition from him, he does not cast either of them away, instead draws Bertha to him like his dirty secret, which she was, a caricature almost of the vengeful ex wife warped into a figure of helpless pitiable horror.


Alley Rivers Chen I agree that Rochester went with the lesser of two evils (keeping her locked up at his home instead of in an asylum) of course this came after deciding against killing her. It's true he doesn't cast Mason away but I got the feeling this was to protect his secret more than it was out of kindness towards him or his sister.


Cate (The Professional Fangirl) This is a rather unpopular opinion among my friends and I - and I think with the literary populace in general... Rochester > Darcy. XD

So, Rochester is a YAY for me.


Woolfie Silvanus Lol you think Rochester is better than Barcy? Hmm it'd be an interesting case study to switch their situations and novels and see how they coped. Would Rochester find Elizabeth only 'tolerable'? How would Darcy cope with Bertha?

Have you read Lost in Austen Create Your Own Jane Austen Adventure by Emma Campbell Webster it's like a Jackson and Livingston game book but allows you to make choices so that your character journies through Austen's novel in the uest for love:)


Cate (The Professional Fangirl) Yep, I do lol. I can't explain why, I just do.

I have a copy of that in the wings but I think I lent it to a friend. I'll definitely read that one of these days.


BubblesTheMonkey I say "yay". I loved that book and it is my favorite romance of all the romances I have read.


message 15: by Becca (new) - added it

Becca brown Ahhhhh! I just started this book about a week ago...so far it's pretty good, i'm just loving the language. You guys are making me so excited!!!


message 16: by Emma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma I'm almost half-way through the book and it's really good. I already figured out that Jane Eyre is in love with Mr. Rochester and I think he loves her as well. I say 'Yay,' because it's a pretty good match.


Kristen Callihan Sonia wrote: ""He treated her badly". I have heard said that Rochester was unkind, unworthy and many other descriptions. But as I saw it even as a teen, he was tortured by his own desires needing to keep her at ..."

I agree with you! But I think people forger She loved him, so that makes him the right choice for her.


Kristen Callihan Woolfie wrote: "I think he was a product of his time. Bear in mind the 'bad boy' or being mad, bad and dangerous to know, was in it's heyday during that period; case in point the most wanted man in Europe, sought ..."

We need like buttons for comments, like on facebook, because I really liked how you put that!


Rebecca Grubb Yay yay yay!
My favorite book of all time, and that's saying a lot, because I read a ton.

He is the ultimate Byronic hero.

When he cries, "Jane! Jane! Jane!" across the moors, my soul is ripped from my body.......


Woolfie Silvanus Thanks Kristen, but it was naught but a casual observation, I mean I didn't know for sure if I even got the time periods of Byron's lifetime and when Jane Eyre was published right, I just assumed there was something of Byron is the romantic male protagonists of such novels:p

Rebecca, I felt the same way too; Byronic heroes as you call them have an uncanny way of blending the supernatural with the emotionally complex, which in my view makes them fascinating characters, but perhaps not the best people for your emotional and physical health.


message 21: by Kiki (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kiki Hiroku yah


Rebecca Grubb The "Byronic Hero" is a character who is made more charming by his deformity, for example, a scar or wound. It makes them seem dangerous and sexy. Rochester is more appealling in his wounded state.


Maddie L I just can't get "The Wide Sargasso Sea" out of my mind...that book forever ruined Rochester's character for me.


Rebecca Grubb That's why I didn't read it.


Vashti Definately Yah


message 26: by Anna (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anna What about Bertha? What did she do to be banished to one of the rooms? Sure she went crazy but you shouldn't banished your wife like that. No wonder she killed herself by jumping. I am sorta in the middle.


Vashti Anna C. wrote: "What about Bertha? What did she do to be banished to one of the rooms? Sure she went crazy but you shouldn't banished your wife like that. No wonder she killed herself by jumping. I am sorta in the..."

But Bertha was not just crazy, she was harmfull to herself and others around her. Look at the attempts on Rochester and Jane,(not simple threats mind U but setting beds on fire, and almost killing her own brother) that is why she was contained, not banished and given full time caregiver. He could have had her institutionalized or he could have had the marriage annuled.


message 28: by Gwen (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gwen Bertha was insane, as the term was understood at the time. Today, she would probably do reasonably well on antidepressants or lithium. But in those days, there was no way of dealing with such irrational and dangerous behaviour. I think Rochester was pretty generous to keep her in his home rather than to send her to an asylum. At least she had an attendant dedicated just to her, as opposed to one doctor or nurse to several hundred inmates. And surely Mason's intervention at the wedding was a spiteful gesture - it would have been more compassionate to allow the marriage to proceed, on the assumption that if Rochester was happy, Bertha would be better cared for.

Someone said that Rochester was more sympathetic after he had been maimed in the fire. I think this is the key to the relationship between him and Jane. He would have been too proud, too far above her, before that happened. But his disability means they are more evenly matched, and that suits Jane's supportive but independent nature more than his previous arrogance. The whole story can be read as two characters finding their true nature through adversity, and I for one like to think of them living contentedly ever after.


Megamarie Yay! Because I love his poems and that he fell in love with Jane and that he's a man of contradictions.


Julie S. YAY! Rochester is the man.


Aimee What about Rochester's involvement in the slave trade?


Rebecca Grubb Are you referencing the original text or "The Wide Sargasso Sea"?

If I didn't pick up to a reference to the slave trade in the original text, I am embarrassed.


Summer Sonia wrote: ""He treated her badly". I have heard said that Rochester was unkind, unworthy and many other descriptions. But as I saw it even as a teen, he was tortured by his own desires needing to keep her at ..."

Yes, I guess the idea of a 'tortured' hero and the bad guy just appeals to our female fantasies, but still Rochester is nice and considerate and faithful to Jane, even if his methods causes harm as well. I wouldn't like him myself, but still 'yay';)


Julie S. I have to agree. I never saw any reference to the slave trade in Jane Eyre. Perhaps The Wide Sargasso Sea says it, but I have never read it.


Linda I think what happened to Rochester was a kind of punishment and opportunity for repentment. Thus, his sins shall be forgiven? I don't know, but clearly he became closer to Jane, and a little dependent. In the end, she had become independent, which was what she had been striving for all along. Rochester was indeed cruel and brooding, but Jane's strong personality might compensate and I think they suited each other in the end. I can't really be angry with him.


message 36: by Yaya (new) - rated it 4 stars

Yaya Definitely Nay. Strange is not sexy. Jane seems adequately turned on by it though.


Rebecca Grubb And there, dear Yaya, we part ways.


Sandra Yay - for Rochester. I've been in love with him since I was 15 (a long time ago). Don't know why, but who can explain love? I think his treatment of Jane at first stemmed from his need to hold her at arm's length because of his secret. Then his feeling for her became too strong to ignore and he was willing to act dishonorably so that he could be with her.


Emilie I loved the character of Mr. Rochester .I do agree that he was so hestiant to be close to Jane because of the secret he held about Bertha .He was afraid (as any man would be) that Jane would run if she found out about the mental lady in the attic .Jane represented everything that was pure and good to him ,& he did not want that to be ruined by things he had done in the past ,he loved her ,but he was afraid of ruining her .I think he really regretted having to treat Bertha the way he did ,but he did not see himself as having any other choice .Rochester was a very realistic person ,as I think he reacted in the way that a lot of men ,trying to save the purity of the women they love ,would have .


message 40: by Natalie (new) - added it

Natalie Rochester yayyayayayayayayayayyayyayyayayayayayay


Sandra Diane, with all due respect, I have to disagree. I think his surly behavior was due to his impatience with the superficial way everyday life was conducted at that time. He was like a caged animal. I love this discussion. The fact that so many can give the book the highest rating and have such different views on a main character is a testament to Bronte's brilliance in crafting that character.


message 42: by Lynn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lynn I guess she was glad to have him rich and crippled and that was the real essence of the story.


Rebecca Grubb Sandy, I agree with you. Bronte, like many authors of her time, interwove a somewhat subtle social critique in with her storyline. Has anyone read "The French Lieutenant's Woman"? Granted it was published in English 1969, but its original French version "Ourika" was published in 1823 and has a somewhat similar feel in terms of the characters acting outside of the social norms of the time. It is a great book. I don't want to give it away, but the ending is very surprising and interesting. Read it! I command you!


message 44: by Lynn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lynn Rebecca wrote: "Sandy, I agree with you. Bronte, like many authors of her time, interwove a somewhat subtle social critique in with her storyline. Has anyone read "The French Lieutenant's Woman"? Granted it was pu..."

It's been a very long time since I read the book. It was about the time the movie came out. For me it was only Ok and not so interesting. One of those books/movies we are supposed to be impressed by rather than one that is truly impressive.


Rebecca Grubb I enjoyed the idea the she let everyone believe that she was a scarlet woman so that she would be rejected by, and therefore freed from, a society that she felt hemmed her in. She manipulated an entire society.

I also thought the discussion of the introduction of Darwinism and the inevitable implications that that concept had on society and morality was also well played.


message 46: by Dee (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dee so sandy can't express a disagreement with what another reader wrote? she was respectful in saying that she disagreed and outlined her reasons why...its not like she said, diane your a poo-poo head for not liking him...

Anna C. wrote: "Sandy, just because Diane hates Mr. Rochester gives you no right to be this way. I personally hate him too so there."


message 47: by Dee (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dee huh? you think she went back to him because of that - she didn't know about what had happened until she showed up and she could have left him again, but she didn't, because she knew she loved him...and in the end, when everything works out, you see how much...she had been abused so much by her cousins and then at the school, before things changed, that if she felt she was being abused, I would think she would have left him - she had the means. She wasn't poor after inheriting the money

Lynn wrote: "I guess she was glad to have him rich and crippled and that was the real essence of the story."


Rebecca Grubb I believe everyone has the right to interpret a book however they choose; however, did not interpret Jane to be a manipulative gold-digger. If anything she seems to represent the epitome of sincerity and integrity. This is what makes her struggle with her love for Rochester (in spite of all of the reasons she "shouldn't" love him) so intriguing.


message 49: by Lynn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lynn That Jane is a gold digger is not a legitimate conclusion. There is no way that a man in Rochester's position would consider marrying a governess and Jane knew it for the most part. She is not able to consider it until Rochester approaches her and of course there is a reason he wants her. She has no family and no status in society so can be easily persuaded and used. If he were to marry a gentle woman under false pretenses, the consequences would have been very grave. Who would care if he sexually misused a governess? Probably happened all the time though most men wouldn't pretend to marry them and have a crazy wife locked in the attic.


Rebecca Grubb So you don't think he loved her? Interesting. I had not considered that reading.

I just found his emotion quite believable. He seems to express true joy when she returns to him at the end. He cries out for her when she is gone.


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