Thursday, April 28, 2011

My future husband was becoming to me my whole world

What I'm about to say is going to annoy some people. My intention isn't to provoke a reaction, but rather record my own. I of course welcome comments and love the discussion they drive, but I just want to make it clear I'm not doing this to cause some stir and thus drive up any traffic numbers. This is also going to be all kinds of full of spoilers so you should skip this if you haven't read Jane Eyre. Here goes

I'm suddenly understanding why Meyers kept talking about how awesome Jane Eyre was in the Twilight series, because the current conversations/actions between Jane and Rochester are sounding more and more like the relationship between Bella and Edward. What the hell???

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I'm at the point where Rochester has proposed to Jane and they're going to get married in a month. At this part Jane's self-esteem seems so low that she's decided "he must not actually like me all this much, so I'm going to see if I can piss him off to the point where he breaks off this engagement." Obviously this is up for interpretation, but that is how I'm reading this. For example

I assured him I was naturally hard -- very flinty, and that he would often find me so; and that, moreover, I was determined to show him divers rugged points in my character before the ensuing four weeks elapsed: he should know fully what sort of bargain he had made, while there was time to rescind it. (location 5158)
I get the idea behind what Jane's doing. Mrs. Fairfax told her to be wary, so wary she's being. Or she thinks she's being. Because really it's coming off as someone who is just being whiny and "I'm so awful, clearly this isn't real and he's going to regret his decision so I better make him regret it now while he still has time to bail". Jane seemed so much stronger before. I like her trying to show she's an equal by keeping her position as governess and keeping a salary from Rochester and she'll pay for her things with that, but even that comes off as odd. He's going to be her husband and employer? That doesn't make it sound like an equal relationship at all.

And Rochester is pissing me off too. Jane refuses to see Rochester regularly during these 4 weeks and will only see him when he calls for her during this specific time in the evening. During that time she doesn't want to talk to him, cos you certainly can't get to know someone by talking to them, so she comes up with other stuff to distract him with. On night she asks him to sing instead. She tries to play along on the piano but Rochester kicks her off of it cos she sucks so much. Granted, she says this is what she was hoping would happen, but it doesn't say that she was trying to play badly. Instead she was trying to play correctly but she was just so bad (obviously) that he couldn't stand it.
I did try [to play the accompaniment], but was presently swept off the stool and denominated "a little bungler." Being pushed unceremoniously to one side -- which was precisely what I wished -- he usurped my place, and proceeded to accompany himself (location 5126)
Maybe this is all meant to be playful. Maybe I'm reading it the wrong way. But I have to say, I may be wrong but I 'm think reading this the same way Meyers did. The only difference is where I'm going "The hell is going on??" Meyers went "This is the ultimate love story, except it needs sparkles." But here's the passage that made me put the book down and start writing this:
He continued to send for me punctually the moment the clock struck seven; though when I appeared before him now, he had no such honeyed terms as "love" and "darling" on his lips: the best words at my service were "provoking puppet," "malicious elf," "sprite," "changeling," etc. For caresses, too, I now got grimaces; for a pressure of the hand, a pinch on the arm; for a kiss on the cheek, a severe tweak of the ear. It was all right: a present I decidedly preferred these fierce favours to anything more tender. (location 5177)
Someone please tell me I've read this wrong and this isn't the beginning of an abusive relationship. Or maybe Jane's just into S&M? But seriously, I'm getting a little worried about this girl. Especially when she says "my future husband was becoming to me my whole world" (location 5180).

Before these scenes Jane was kind of dull, but not low self-esteem whiny. And after these scenes she seems fine again. So what was going on? I get that it was a different time and maybe I'm reading too much into this but can someone then explain to me what I should get getting out of this?

Title quote from location 5180

Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. Kindle edition, 2010. Originally published 1847