Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Chapter 10: Jane Gets a Job

"But this is not to be a regular autobiography," Jane informs us at the opening of Chapter 10 - in other words, "the next eight years are kind of boring, so let's skip to the part where I acquire an unattractive and brooding yet enticing employer."

So in a couple of sentences (things get better at Lowood; Jane becomes a teacher there; Miss Temple gets married and Jane decides it's time to move on) Jane goes from child to adult, which means it's time for her to make her way in the world. (Which I believe is the phrase the Three Little Pigs' mother used to send them in pursuit of unfortunate architecture...)

Side note: After indulging in some parentheticals myself in the preceding paragraph, let me take this opportunity to point out that this chapter includes one of my favorites from Charlotte Bronte:
“A new servitude! There is something in that,” I soliloquised (mentally, be it understood; I did not talk aloud)
Okay, as someone currently engaged in a job search, I have to admit that I get just a teensy bit jealous of Jane here: her resume and cover letter are no more than a hundred words, she throws a classified ad out into the wild, and a week later she's got an offer for a job at twice her current salary.

Let's try that, shall we?
"A young lady accustomed to the book business" (had I not been a blogger three years, in addition to a BTW writer/editor, and a bookseller even longer?) "is desirous of meeting with a situation in which she can work from the Boston area (I thought that as I had just moved to the city, it would not do to undertake employment elsewhere - though of course young ladies are always open to telecommuting). She is qualified to sell books, write news and feature articles, work with HTML and various CMS platforms, manage corporate social media efforts, coordinate logistics for large events, and copyedit like a charm" (in these days, reader, this rather varied catalogue of accomplishments, was somewhat less unusual than it might once have been). "Address, S.M.R., GMail, srettger@---."
If this works out as well for me as it did for Jane, I'll eat my hat*.

What? We're supposed to be talking about Jane, not me? Very well.

Jane's reply is from a Mrs. Fairfax, who Jane assumes is a mild, unoffensive old woman, "a model of elderly English respectability." (For the record, Cary Fukanaga has ruined me for all others; Judi Dench is now Mrs. Fairfax.) She goes through all the proper channels, getting references from her current employer and permission (well, a brush-off, but with the same effect) from her legal guardian.

Just before Jane is due to leave Lowood behind, she gets a visitor: Bessie, the Gateshead maid. Thanks to Bessie, we get a quick update on the state of the Reed family: Eliza has thwarted Georgiana's plans to run off with a young lordling, and John is "such a dissipated young man, they will never make much of him."

Oh, and one of Jane's paternal relatives dropped by the house. I do have a feeling we're going to hear more about him.

*By "hat," of course, I mean this kind.

(Post pic: not Thornfield, but a boys' school in Bath, according to the label I gave it nearly a decade ago.)

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