Themes in Jane Rye Passion, Dreams, and the Supernatural In Jane Rye Introspection, half-belief In the supernatural, conflicting emotions, gushing description appear throughout Jane Rye. Rochester’s mention of prescience ? both foreshadowing and premonition ? come up again and again throughout the work. “l knew… You would do me good in some way … I saw it in your eyes when I first beheld you,” Rochester tells Jane. Both he and she believe implicitly the things they read in eyes, in nature, in dreams. Jane has dreams which she considers unlucky, and sure enough, ill fortune befalls her or her kin.
When she is in a garden which seems “Eden-like” and laden with “honey-dew”, the love of her life proposes to her. However, that very night the old horse-chestnut tree at the bottom of the garden Is struck by lightning and split in half, hinting at the difficulties that lie in store for the couple. The turbulent exploration of Cane’s emotions so characteristic of the text reveals some of Bronze’s most prevalent Ideas ? that Judgment must always “warn passion,” and that the sweet “hills of Bellay” are found within oneself.
Don’t waste your time!
Order your assignment!
As Jane grows throughout the book, one of the most important things she learns is to rule her earth with her mind. At the pivotal point in the plot when Jane decides to leave Rochester, she puts her love for him second to the knowledge that she cannot ethically remain with him – the “counteracting breeze” once again preventing her from reaching paradise. Only when Rochester has become worthy of her, and judgment and passion move toward the same end, can she marry him and achieve complete happiness. ‘ Charlotte Bronze, like her heroine, traveled to wondrous lands within the confines of her own head.
While Jane, engrossed In Beck’s History of British Birds, was mentally traversing “solitary rocks and promontories”, her creator eight have been calling to mind memories of her own sojourns In imagined lands. By the time she was a teacher at the Roe Head school, Charlotte and her brother Brawled had been writing stories and poems about an African kingdom called Anglia for many years. While she was away at the school, the fate of the inhabitants of the country lay in Brawler’s hands, which made her very nervous, as he was given to intrigue and violence.
She was unhappy with her situation, loathing the available company and describing herself as “chained to this chair prisoner within these four are walls,” and so her happiest hours were spent in the wild landscapes of her mind. “What I imagined grew morbidly vivid,” she says, and indeed her visions of Anglia are almost more real to her than what is actually happening around her. “All this day I have been In a dream, half miserable and half ecstatic: miserable because I could not follow It out uninterruptedly; ecstatic because It showed almost In the vivid light of reality the ongoing of the Infernal world. She sometimes referred to Anglia as”elemental” or below. “) When pupils or fellow teachers Interrupt her reveries she Is Uris’s, saying once, “But just then a dolt came up with a lesson. I thought I should while that burning clime where we have sojourned too long … The mind would cease from excitement and turn now to a cooler region, where the dawn breaks grey and sober and the coming day, for a time at least, is subdued in clouds ” (all materials from the Norton critical edition of Jane Rye).
Though she did at last consent to leave her imaginary world behind, it played such a large part in her child and early adulthood that there is no doubt her recollections of time spent there affected Cane’s experience. Passion versus Judgment in Jane Rye Bronze describes Cane’s thoughts in terms of nature imagery the night Rochester’s bed was set on fire. After he thanks Jane for saving his life and she is about to leave, she notes a “strange energy in his voice” and a “strange fire in his look” (133) and still holds her hand.
Mr.. Rochester finally relaxes his fingers, lets her go, and leaves not only Jane but the reader thinking that perhaps he has fallen in love with her. The diction and picturesque images in this passage paints a picture of Cane’s inner struggle between passion and Judgment. Bronze uses “billows”, “unquiet”, and “counteracting” to emphasize the struggle within Jane. On the other hand, words like ‘surges”, “wild”, and “freshening” create a feeling of freedom and Joy which seems to be repressed by this other “counteracting” force.
Cane’s “freshening gale” created by delirium and passion blows in the opposite direction of the “counteracting breeze” of judgment and sense. Thus, these images along with the diction, paint a picture of an inner battle between Judgment and passion. Spiritual Revelation in Jane Rye Jane Rye ends with a spiritual revelation. The change in Rochester echoes the change in Tennyson. “You think me, I daresay, an irreligious dog” he confesses to Jane, “but my heart swells with gratitude to the beneficent God of this earth Just now” (p. 93). God appears at last to Rochester in the form of the fire ? an instrument of “divine Justice” ? which destroys Threefold (p. 393). Rochester’s newly found faith and his ensuing change of character make possible his marriage with Jane. The discovery of God, then, ties together all the loose ends of the novel, fulfills true love, and closes the book with an overall affirming message that two impassioned souls can unite in marriage after all, if the Lord wills it. A couple of contrasts with Tennyson, though, seem obvious.
For one, Charlotte Bronze reveals God to her readers through symbolism, whereas Tennyson finally uncovers a divine plan in the various meanings of the word “type. ” Secondly, Bronze has God play an interactive role in the external, material reality, whereas Tennyson must search internally for God’s revelation. For him, God exists as a “far-off divine event. ” If Tennyson had lived in the world of Jane Rye, he probably would have not spent so long struggling with Hallo’s death. Typology, however, is not altogether absent from Bronze’s novel.
This “elaborate system of foreshadowing (or anticipations) of Christ” Helen Burns acts as a typological figure Just as Hall does. Like Hall, this precocious girl who espouses Christian doctrine and seems closer to God than any of her evangelical teachers trots the earth “ere her time was right. ” She is too good for the world. We can view her death as a sacrifice because it teaches Jane a powerful lesson in faith. Her tombstone reads, “Resurges,” or “l shall rise again,” confirming her status as a Christ figure, as well as foreshadowing Chrism’s second coming (p. 72).
That two works as different as In Memoriam and Jane Rye contain the elements of typology should not surprise the reader. Typology, after all, had an “enormous influence on medieval Europe, seventeenth-century England, and Victorian Britain” (“An Introduction to In Memoriam” ). At the time of Tennyson and Bronze, it proved a fundamental principle for the Evangelical Protestants, a minority party of the Church of England but a dominant force in English life between 1789 to 1850. The Evangelicals used this system to relate Old Testament fugues and events to the New Testament.
Eventually typology crossed into the art and literature of the era as well, providing these forms with an “imaginatively rich iconography and particular inceptions of reality and time” (“Introduction”). The Mind-Body Connection in Jane Rye In “Victorians and Their Attitudes Towards Health” Lauren Douglas ’91 argues that health obsessed the Victorians even more than religion, politics, and Darwinism. During the nineteenth century, the belief in an interdependent mind-body connection gained strength, and many people saw physical and mental health as being interrelated rather than separate entities.
The Victorians believed that the fit body represented superior physical and mental health. These attitudes explain why Jane Rye presents both Berth’s insanity and the way she borders Rochester in physical terms. In fact, he must struggle to overpower his wife physically. The three gentlemen retreated simultaneously. Mr.. Rochester flung me behind him: the lunatic sprang and grappled his throat viciously, and laid her teeth to his cheek: they struggled. She was a big woman, in stature almost equaling her husband, and corpulent besides: she showed virile force in the contest–more than once she almost throttled him, athletic as he was.
He could have settled her with a well-planted blow; but he would not strike: he would only wrestle. At last he metered her arms; Grace Poole gave him a cord, and he pinioned them behind her: with more rope, which was at hand, he bound her to a chair. The operation was performed amidst the fiercest yells and the most convulsive plunges. Mr.. Rochester then turned to the spectators: he looked at them with a smile both acrid and desolate. ‘”That is my wife,’ said he. ‘Such is the sole conjugal embrace I am ever to know–such are the endearments which are to solace my leisure hours!
And this is what I wished to have’ (laying his hand on my shoulder): ‘this young girl, who stands so grave and quiet at the much of ell, looking collectedly at the gambols of a demon. I wanted her Just as a change after that fierce ragout. Wood and Briggs, look at the difference! Compare these clear eyes with the red balls yonderВ«this face with that mask ? this form with that bulk; then Judge me, priest of the gospel and man of the law, and remember, with what prize. ‘” (Chapter 26, up. 258-9, Norton Critical Edition) Since Victorians believed that the mind and body intertwine, Berth’s insanity accompanies uncovers physical features.
Rochester describes her as having “red balls” for eyes, a “mask” instead of a face, and “bulk” instead of an attractive form like Jane. This language alone makes Bertha seem a grotesque monster. Rochester emphasized this point even more, in that contrasting the physical features of the “fierce ragout” with those of Jane. Jane has “clear eyes,” a “face,” and a “form. ” The reader already knows what intelligence and integrity Jane possesses, so her healthy physical features match her mental well- being.
In contrast, Berth’s grotesque features, oversized physique, and unnatural animal-like strength show that her poor mental condition corresponds with physical abnormality. Furthermore, Rochester’s agonizing burden of having Bertha is evicted in this scene as a literal, physical struggle, and the other people in the room are called ‘spectators,” thus rounding out the imagery of this scene as a difficult sporting match. His fight to sedate Bertha is described point-by-point in the manner of one who reports on a boxing or wrestling match.
Bronze herself refers to the struggle as a “contest,” and, when Rochester prevails, his words are, “l must shut up my prize. ” A prize should be a trophy at the end of a contest, but Rochester uses the word with sad irony. The prize he should have won after displaying athletic prowess urns out to be the mental burden of being tied to Bertha. Law, Insanity and Self-Respect in Jane Rye choice: break civil and religious laws by living in a technically adulterous relationship, or destroy both your own chance for happiness and the hope and heart of the person you love most.
Jane Rye faces this choice when she discovers on her wedding day that her fiance© and employer, Mr.. Rochester, is already married. His wife, Bertha Mason, is a madwoman who has been locked in the attic for ten years. Mr.. Rochester considers his first marriage nullified and wishes to marry Jane, whom he loves, but is remarriage is illegal and considered highly immoral. The night after the planned marriage, Mr.. Rochester attempts to persuade Jane that they should leave the country and marry elsewhere; Jane is determined to part from Mr..
Rochester despite her intense devotion to him. They argue, Jane quiet and resolute, Mr.. Rochester passionate and disturbed. The argument serves as a stage for Charlotte Bronze to play with ideas of reason and insanity, moral and civil laws, and individualism. At one point Jane tells Mr.. Rochester that he will forget her before she forgets him and he abuts her: “You make me a liar by such language: you sully my honor. I declared I could not change: you tell me to my face I shall change soon.
And what a distortion in your Judgment, what a perversity in your idea, is proved by your conduct! Is it better to drive a fellow-creature to despair than to transgress a mere human law ? no man being injured by the breach? For you have neither relatives no acquaintances whom you need fear to offend by living with me. ” This was true: and while he spoke my very conscience and reason turned traitors against me, and charged me with a crime in resisting him. They spoke almost as loud as Feeling: and that clamored wildly. “Oh, comply! It said. “Thing of his misery; think of his danger ? look at his state on despair ? soothe him; save him; love him; tell him you love him and will be his. Who in the world cares for you? Or who will be injured by what you do? ” Still indomitable was the reply ? “l care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unstained I am, the more I will respect myself. I will keep the law given by God; sanctioned by man. I will hold to the principles received by me when I was sane, and not mad ? as I am now.
Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigor; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be. If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth? They have a worth ? so I have always believed; and if I cannot believe it now, it is because I am quite insane ? quite insane: with my veins running fire, and my heart beating faster than I can count its throbs. Preconceived opinions, foregone determinations, are all I have this hour to stand by: there I plant my foot. ” [270-71]
The Tension between Reason and Passion in Jane Rye In Jane Rye, Charlotte Bronze uses various characters to embody aspects of reason and passion, thereby establishing a tension between the two. In fact, it could be argued that these various characters are really aspects of her central character, Jane, and in turn, that Jane is a factionalism version of Bronze herself. From this it could be argued that the tension between these two aspects really takes place only within her own head. Bronze is able to enact this tension through her characters and thus show dramatically the Journey of a woman striving for balance within her nature.
A novel creates its own internal world through the language that it uses, and this fictional world may be quite independent from the real physical world in which we live. Writing in the style of an autobiography, Bronze distinguishes Jane Rye, who quite clearly from the purely fictional worlds of Anglia and Glasswort, locates her work within the world of Victorian England. But although Bronze’s world is undoubtedly based on nineteenth-century society, it should be remembered that the world conjured in Jane Rye is not reality: it is but a world constructed by Bronze in which to ell a story.
A novel based only on the mores and customs of Victorian society would surely hold limited appeal today, except as a historical document, yet Jane Rye retains power and force even in a post-modern world, as shown by its continued popularity and the many TV and film versions it has inspired. Perhaps Jane Rye retains such power and relevance because Charlotte fabricated the book from the cloth of her own psyche, her own passionate nature, and so, although our culture has changed drastically since the book was written, the insights into human nature which Bronze gave us remain.
Taking this view makes the characters in Jane Rye seem denizens of Charlotte own psyche. Some of them, such as the passionate Bertha and the cold SST John, personify aspects of her character, her emotional and logical natures. Others, such as Brochures and John Reed, which seem more two dimensional, could be viewed more as scenery, foils against which the main characters define themselves. Jane herself is Charlotte most highly resolved character. Over the course of the book readers come to know every aspect of her through her reflections, as she embodies aspects of the other characters.
Charlotte seems to know Jane intimately, so intimately that it seems likely that Jane is Charlotte avatar within her fictional world. If Bronze is Jane, it follows that the other characters which came from Bronze might also be aspects of Jane. Through these aspects we see a development of tension within Jane between emotional and logical natures, and this tension is played out in the events of the book. Taking this argument further, if the book is seen as a reflection of Bronze’s own psyche, the source of the various supernatural events described within the book must be Bronze herself.
Thus she not only plays the main character in her story but also the supporting cast and the spiritual force which intervenes on Cane’s behalf at crucial moments throughout. In this light Cane’s meeting with her cousins, which many critics have seen as intolerably far-fetched suddenly makes sense. There are no coincidences in this book. Jane is kept from harm by the ever-present pen of her creator, Just as Charlotte herself presumably felt protected and guided by her own protestant faith. Jane meets her cousins because Charlotte felt it was time for her to do so. No other explanation is required.
Passion and reason, their opposition and eventual reconciliation, serve as constant themes throughout the book. From Cane’s first explosion of emotion when she rebels against John Reed, Jane is powerfully passionate. Just as Berth’s passion destroys Threefold, Cane’s passion, which destroys her ties to Sheathed, leaves the way clear for her progression to the next chapter of her life at Elwood. However, as Berth’s passion eventually proves fatal, it becomes clear that Jane must gain control over her passion or be destroyed. We see the dangers of nature and passion undeterred by reason in the scene in which
Charlotte almost marries Rochester. Jane cannot ‘see God for his creature’ of whom she has ‘made an idol. ‘ If the God of the novel is Charlotte, and Jane is Charlotte creature, we can see that in losing sight of God through overwhelming passion for Mr. Rochester, Jane runs the risk of loosing herself, of losing sight of Charlotte who she embodies. In this case, passion nearly gains a victory over reason. Jane nearly looses her own personality in her overwhelming love. Only Bronze’s intercession through the medium of the supernatural preserves her character from passionate dissolution in he arms of Rochester.
The opposite is true when Jane is tempted to marry SST John. Jane longs ‘to rush down the torrent of his [SST John’s] will into the gulf of his existence, and there to loose my own’ Again Jane almost looses herself, however, this time reason is nearly the victor. Cane’s passionate nature is nearly entrapped by SST John’s icy reason and self control. Once again Charlotte intercedes on her characters behalf, this time with a disembodied voice which directs her to return to Rochester, and saves her passionate nature from destruction. SST John’s death in India could be aid to show the danger that Charlotte saw in icy reason without emotion.
Conversely, Berth’s death in a conflagration of her own making shows the danger of the unthinking passion which Jane feels for Rochester. Thus, these two deaths could be said to represent the more subtle death of individuality, in which Jane risks loosing herself and her separate identity. It is interesting to note that Bertha is portrayed as being ugly, ‘a vampire’, a ‘clothed hyena’ whilst SST John is uncommonly handsome. This fits with Bronze’s use of fire and ice imagery to symbolism reason and passion. Stays frozen. Fire on the other hand can be hard to control.
It cannot be molded into exact shapes, it is constantly changing, and if unchecked will consume the ground on which it burns, leaving black cinders and ash, Just as Bertha is blackened and swollen. This use of imagery gives us an interesting paradox, since much of the book seems to concern Cane’s attempt to reconcile her passionate and reasonable natures. When ice and fire are combined the result is warm slush, hardly a suitable metaphor for a desirable state of being. One or the other, perhaps both must be destroyed. For how then can there be a reconciliation between the two?
Throughout the book Charlotte provides Jane with a number of mentors, each of whom provides her with a piece of the puzzle. The first is Brochures. His Calvinist philosophy teaches the mortification of the flesh as the way to obtain balance. By crushing Cane’s physical body, he hopes to burn excess passion out of her, leaving a balance in which reason may be the ultimate victor. However, this method, like all other false or incomplete doctrines presented in Jane Rye ultimately ends in death. Typhoid comes to Elwood and Bronze punishes Brochures with shame and scandal. Interestingly,
Broncobuster’s philosophy is re-enacted for Rochester when his pride and unreasoning passion is burnt out of him in the fire at Threefold. Rochester flesh is mortified as he looses an eye and a hand. Through this somewhat drastic method, Rochester, who becomes a more suitable match for Jane, perhaps somehow attains a balance of his own. Helen Burns seems to offer Jane another method by which tension may be resolved. She shows Jane that she can release her negative emotions, and make them less destructive through forgiveness, and that, by loving her enemies her hatred and anger may fade.
We see this philosophy in action when Jane visits her wing aunt and is able to forgive her. She receives a Just reward for this kindly act, the knowledge of an uncle living in the East Indies. However, Helene selfless acceptance of all the crimes perpetrated against her does nothing to change those crimes, or to deter their repetition. Had Helen been at Sheathed rather than Jane she would never have escaped. Hellene beliefs prove to be only an incomplete part of a whole, and so, she too dies. At the end of many trials Charlotte permits Jane to return at last to her lover.
It is a wiser Jane, and also perhaps a wiser Charlotte who welcomes this happy event. At this point it seems that the tension between reason and passion should have been resolved. However, this is not the case. There is no sense of any realistic resolution of tension between Cane’s reasoning and passionate natures. Perhaps Jane could have attained logical emotion, or emotional logic, or to extend the Bronze’s fire and ice metaphor, some sort of interplay between the two like sunlight glinting on the sea or torches focused through a crystal lens.
Instead, Jane and Rochester live in ‘perfect concord’, their happiness is complete. They feel no passion or intrigue, only a warm sentimentality that seems wholly out of place in a kook which has traversed such a vast ranges of emotion. Instead of fire and ice, Charlotte gives us warm slush. Perhaps she never resolved the tension between reason and passion for herself, and so was unable to write convincingly about it. Maybe, because of this she simply tacked on the happiest ending she could contrive, or maybe she wrote what she hoped to gain for herself, without understanding how she could get it.
As an account of one woman’s Journey of spiritual growth, whether Perhaps this is because at the time she wrote the book, Charlotte herself hadn’t found happiness with a partner. Whatever the reason, the ending remains profoundly unsatisfying, and the weakest element of the book. Jane Rye may be seen in a postmodernist light as an expression of Charlotte Bronze’s own character. The players she peoples her world with seem to be aspects of herself, and Jane seems to represent her totality. Throughout the book a tension is established between the forces of reason, championed by SST John, and those of passion, headed by Bertha.
This tension exists within Cane’s head, and also presumably within Charlotte, but Bronze uses the medium of the novel to play out this conflict among all her harassers, and so brings it out into the light. Eventually the champions, Bertha and SST John are killed off, symbolizing the danger Bronze saw in taking either of these paths to the exclusion of the other, and also symbolizing the less obvious death that Jane risks, that of loss of self, either by surrendering to Rochester, or to SST John.
The purveyors of incomplete solutions to this conflict are also killed. Brochures, dies symbolically when he is removed from his position as headmaster of Elwood, Helen Burns dies of consumption. At the end of the story, the tension which Bronze has lilt up between reason and passion is not satisfactorily resolved, which weakens the ending somewhat, however Jane Rye succeeds because it is taken directly from a young woman’s psyche.
It speaks to us today because it takes its inspirations from an internal reality that has remained constant. Teaching Jane Rye Though biographical approaches are not fashionable these days, a good way to begin discussion of Jane Rye is to provide students with some facts about the author, to show that the sources of the narrator’s experiences and strong personality lie in Charlotte Bronze’s personal history.
Points worth emphasizing in relation to Jane Rye include the early death of Charlotte mother, leaving the family in the care of a somewhat remote father and a crotchety aunt (all Charlotte novels have apparentness heroines); her experiences at the Clergy Daughters’ school at Cowan Bridge [Yorkshire], thinly veiled in the novel as Elwood Institution; her attempts to make a living as a governess in wealthy families; and her suppressed (and possibly unconscious) passion for Constantine Hager, her tempestuous and irascible teacher in Brussels.
Students would also be interested to learn about the imaginary worlds reared by the Front©s as children; Charlotte, Brawled, Emily, and Anne collaborated for many years on the production of chronicles of romance and adventure for their own amusement. Charlotte favorite character in the stories was Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Samoan, a romantic hero compounded of her reading in Gothic novels and the poetry of Byron.
Samoan is a clear forerunner of Edward Fairfax Rochester. For teaching purposes, Jane Rye conveniently breaks down into five sections: Sheathed, Elwood, Threefold, Moor House, and Ferdinand, each section representing a new phase in Cane’s experience and development.
It’s worth spending some time on the first two sections: a) they establish the protagonist’s character very clearly (intense, imaginative, passionate, rebellious, independently yearning for warmth and prepare us for the struggles that Jane will undergo later, the conflicts between spirit and flesh, duty and desire, denial and fulfillment; c) they also establish the theme of the outsider, the free spirit struggling for recognition and self- respect in the face of rejection by a class-ridden and money-oriented society.
The Sheathed chapters can be used to introduce the concept of narrative point-of-view. Of special interest is the author’s ability to re-create the child’s vision of the world; ask students to pick out passages they think successfully convey the child’s perception, and have them explain their choices. The Elwood section can be dealt with in part as a realistic, if somewhat heightened, account of life in many charitable or religious schools in the first part of the 19th century (CB. Dickens’ description of Deathbeds Hall in Nicholas Neckline). Students would probably enjoy Mrs..
Galley’s scathing account of Load’s real-life original, the Clergy Daughters’ school run by a fiercely evangelical clergyman animal in some respects to Mr.. Brochures. This section is important also for its introduction of the theme of Christian love and forgiveness; the contrast between Mr.. Broncobuster’s hypocritical zeal and Helen Burns’ spiritual strength and humility is an important lesson for Jane, bearing fruit in her subsequent forgiveness of Mrs.. Reed. The Threefold episode, with its elements of suspense, sexual conflict, and occasional violence, has obvious appeal for most adolescent readers.
It is dominated by Rochester; students might be asked to define those features of his character and induct that make him the Romantic Hero par excellence. Million’s Satan and Boron’s Lira are probably his most illustrious antecedents, and offer useful parallels. The section is important also in developing the theme of spiritual equality regardless of social rank; not a new theme (CB. Saucer’s treatment of “gentiles” in “The Wife of Bath’s Tale”), but asserted with unusual force here, leading some readers to see Jane (and her creator) in feminist terms.
Cane’s aggressively independent nature certainly seemed unwomanly (and unchristian) to some of her contemporaries, if one goes by early reviews. This part of the novel also brings to a climax the theme of moral conflict: Cane’s struggle between passion and principle, the flesh and the spirit. Some attention should be paid to poor Bertha, who embodies the irrational abandonment of self to appetite, and whose fiery passions eventually find literal expression. (For a more sympathetic view of Bertha, see Jean Rays’ novel Wide Cargos Sea, which relates the story of her meeting with Rochester in the West Indies. The Threefold chapters are useful, too, for discussions of setting as dramatic accompaniment to, reflection of, or comment upon the action; e. G. Threefold Hall as an expression of its master’s personality; or the violent storm that erupts at the time of Rochester’s proposal to Jane, seemingly as a reflection of divine disapproval. The sexual temptations offered by Rochester are contrasted in the Moor House section by the cold spirituality of SST. John Rivers (a helpful assignment here is a comparison-contrast essay).
In the interests of serving God, he represses his own human feelings (note the Roseland Oliver business), and wants Jane to do the same. He represents the extremes of denial, self-sacrifice, dedication to the spirit; in rejecting him, Jane hoses the path of lifeline life in which passion and principle are reconciled, through her happy marriage with Rochester. The final scenes at Ferdinand show the achievement of this reconciliation; Rochester, now maimed (divine retribution? See service to a master who now depends on her.
Despite its episodic nature, Jane Rye does have thematic and structural unity, created in various ways: through the continuous development of Cane’s character and the revelation of her inner struggles; through recurring themes, some of which have been outlined above; through repeated motifs, symbols, and images (the workings of the supernatural, portentous reams, patterns of light and dark, oppositions of warmth and cold, etc. ); through parallels and contrasts in character (e. G. , the Reeds at Sheathed/the Rivers family at Moor House; Rochester/SST.
John Rivers; Helen Burns/SST. John Rivers; Balance Ingram/ Jane herself); and through patterns in plot structure (e. G. , the workings of Providence at several crucial stages in Cane’s life; the parallel temptations facing Jane at Threefold and Moor House; Cane’s search for happiness as a kind of spiritual Journey in which she must overcome a series of trials and obstacles like Christian in The Pilgrim’s Progress). Students might also be encouraged to look at fairy-tale analogues of the novel’s plot: e. G. , the stories of Cinderella, Blueberry, or the Ugly Duckling.
There are several film versions of Jane Rye [and a several more have been made since the writing of this article in 1985]. My own favorite is the 1943 production with Arson Wells as Rochester, Joan Fontanne as Jane, and Elizabeth Taylor as an improbably healthy and pretty Helen Burns. Sadly, the screenplay (co-authored by Aloud Huxley) cuts out the whole of the Moor House section, but it preserves the Gothic mood of the novel better than other [pre-1985] versions. A comparison of film and novel would certainly provoke some lively discussion. [De.
Note: Though not readily accessible, John Brougham’s Bibb adaptation of the novel, printed as Number 400 in the Dicks’ Standard Plays series, would be interesting as the subject of a readers’ theatre. ] Bibliographical note: The earliest account of the Bronze family, and in many ways still the best, despite its errors and omissions, is Elizabeth Galley’s The Life Charlotte Bronze, commissioned by Charlotte father soon after her death; the Penguin edition edited by Alan Shelton has an excellent introduction. A useful supplement to the Life is Margarita’s Lane’s The Bronze Story.