So this is the chapter where I get annoyed with Mr. Rochester. I mean, I know what he's up to, but dude... cruel. It's really mean to purposely try to make someone jealous, no matter what your motives are.
Meanwhile, Jane's still very suspicious of Grace Poole. I was surprised to read that she's not yet 40. I always think of her as being much older than me, but... I was like 16 when I first read this, so I guess that just lodged in my brain. Now I'm 36. Soon, I'll be older than Grace Poole :-o
Oh, don't know if your edition mentions this, but Mr. Rochester's horse Mesrour is named after an executioner in The Arabian Nights. Intriguing choice, both by Mr. Rochester as a character and Charlotte Bronte as an author.
Once again, Jane hides with a book in a window-seat. She hid that way from a tormentor, John Reed, when we first met her. Now she's hiding from another tormentor, Mr. Rochester, though she doesn't realize yet that he's purposely distressing her. I think this is a definite Clue from Bronte to first-time readers that Mr. Rochester is messing with Jane. (Um, spoiler alert: Mr. Rochester is messing with Jane.)
Jane thought she had succeeded in getting over Mr. Rochester with her little exercise in self-subjugation. Yeah, that didn't work, huh? Goes along with the theme throughout the book of just how much or how little our minds can control our hearts, and vice versa. Jane says, "Every good, true, vigorous feeling I have, gathers impulsively round him" (p. 208). Her love for him is a feeling and an impulse, in other words, not a choice. Conscious choice is not involved here. Mr. Rochester "is not of their kind, I believe he is of mine; I am sure he is -- I feel akin to him" (p. 208), and thus she is drawn to him even though reason and logic would say that there's no way a rich gentleman could ever love or want to marry his ward's poor governess.
However, I personally want to slap Mr. Rochester in this chapter when he eggs his guests into saying horrible things about their own former governesses. Provoking man! Grrrr. I love him as a fictional character, but I would probably not want anything to do with him in real life. I hate being teased.
Except, of course, for that final page between him and Jane. He's been noticing her after all -- in fact, he's observed her closely. He's still toying with her a bit, pretending he doesn't know what's going on with her, but he slips at the end and almost calls her by a term of endearment, and somehow that one line feels less calculated, more like him betraying his true sentiments. So... yeah, I still have to love him.
"He is not of your order; keep to your caste; and be too self respecting to lavish the love of the whole heart, soul, and strength, where such a gift is not wanted and would be despised" (p. 193).
He made me love him without looking at me (p. 207).
Possible Discussion Questions:
The servants are conspiring to keep Jane from finding out what goes on up on the third floor. When did this start, do you think? When Mr. Rochester told Mrs. Fairfax to hire a governess, did he say, "Make sure she never finds out what Grace Poole is up to," or did Mrs. Fairfax deem it best that an outsider not be admitted into the house's mysteries? Or was it just sort of an accidental omission until Mr. Rochester met Jane and started to fall in love with her? I have no idea, I'm just curious and wondering what other people think. Please discuss!