Tessa: So, what about Jane?
Cari: I think she’s great. I don’t have any bad feelings about Jane, she’s had a hard life. She’s young. She’s also a little addicted to poor treatment, and that’s what she never grows out of. The only thing that’s apparently quote “wrong with her” is that she’s homely.
Tessa: She’s passionate, and there’s all this stuff under the surface. She’s really hard to get to know, but she’s also the kind of friend you want to have, because she will always stick with you.
Cari: To the point of being a doormat. Though she did have a good relationship with the girl that died—one could even say a healthy relationship.
Tessa: Jane’s strong, she advertised to get out of Lowood and she totally mouthed off to Mr. Brocklehurst.
Cari: She did. She was a feminist in her time.
Tessa: She stands up to Rochester, too. She doesn’t take his crap. Those whole conversations after dinner? She holds her own, one ups him most the time, and runs rings around him—which he totally knows. That’s why he likes her.
Cari: One of the scenes I flipped to was when they start talking with Ms. Fairfax, and Jane admits to being not well educated, not having a family, etc. To me, Rochester’s questions and reactions were for picking out a victim. She’s fallen into his lair, and has no resources to fall back on besides him, and no one to fall back on besides herself. So the run rings around him scenes, that just angers him and (later) makes him shake her.Then, when she’s left and he’s burned down his house and is blind and killed everyone, it’s a little convenient that his sight eventually comes back. He’s controlling her through her kindness. Oh look, I neeed you. Again, doormat.
Tessa: First he does not get his sight back, only in bits and pieces—Cari: Convenient.Tessa: —and he did not make her come back to him.
Cari: I thought you said she called out to him on the wind. Bella Bella!
Tessa: An emotional connection is not forcing her to come back to him! And he thought he was a total idiot when he was calling for her anyway.
Cari: If he did. Oh yeah honey, I was “calling” for you.
Tessa: Wait, I thought he brought it up first? Calling to her?
Cari: Damn. Ok, yes, basically he brought it up.
Tessa: So there! The magic of romance!
Cari: It’s not romance – it’s crazy.
Tessa: So crazy people can’t have love too?
Cari: They can until Rochester locks them in the attic.
Tessa: Yeah, but the attic treatment was probably a thousand times better than the institutions they had back then. And he provides for Adele. But on the romantic side, the love story is such a slow build. Every simple conversation, every exchanged glance, multiplies in passion and expression until while I don’t *want* Jane to marry an already married Rochester, I do think that if he’d succeeded—married Jane without her finding out—she’d have been happy. He’d have done everything in his power, moved heaven and earth, to make her happy. Beyond the sheer gothic-ness, it’s a story of the pull between passion and duty, love and standards of self. She can’t marry him if she knows, because she loses herself—and the price paid is misery. That’s why the ending is so romantic—to regain love and still keep one’s honor.
Cari: What I see is a girl who came from nowhere – a victim because she has no resources.The guy has so scared his employees that they don’t even try to protect this young girl, presumably for fear of repercussions from Rochester. Later, his stuff is destroyed and she’s gotten her fortune so finally “deserves” him, so she comes to take care of blind and burned Rochester. She could have anyone whenever she wanted – she has money now and even a proposal from St. John. But just because she turns him down doesn’t mean she can’t have anyone else. A la Bella, who could have any one of five guys but chooses the one who wants to kill her, Jane goes back to the guy who lied and manipulated and shook her. A vicitim and her manipulator. Just because Rochester experienced misery doesn’t mean the misery he’s caused is excused – or that it’s romance.