Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Chapter 8: Maybe this place isn't so bad after all

Okay, first of all? So going to see this.

Premiers in March, people! (H/t to Flavorwire and everyone who linked to the trailer on Twitter.)

Let's start with the end of the chapter: "I would not now have exchanged Lowood with all its privations for Gateshead and its daily luxuries," our girl says.

So what makes her willing to put up with borderline starvation and abuse, as opposed to the sufficient food and abuse she got at Gateshead? 'Cause when you phrase it that way...

At first, Jane takes Mr. Brocklehurst's attack on her character pretty hard. But Helen keeps telling her to look on the bright side:

“Everybody, Jane? Why, there are only eighty people who have heard you called so, and the world contains hundreds of millions.”

“But what have I to do with millions? The eighty, I know, despise me.”

“Jane, you are mistaken: probably not one in the school either despises or dislikes you: many, I am sure, pity you much.”

And Jane, after doing her drama-queen thing for a bit - and I'm sorry, but when you're offering to have your arm broken so Miss Temple will like you, there's no other way to describe it - allows herself to be comforted. But there's also a hint here that all is not well:
Helen had calmed me; but in the tranquillity she imparted there was an alloy of inexpressible sadness. I felt the impression of woe as she spoke, but I could not tell whence it came; and when, having done speaking, she breathed a little fast and coughed a short cough, I momentarily forgot my own sorrows to yield to a vague concern for her.
But the real reason Jane finds Lowood more appealing than Gateshead is Miss Temple. She goes to find Jane, asks for her side of the story - you get the sense that she's got a limited level of respect for her employer - offers to get corroboration, feeds Helen and Jane, and then has some serious conversation with Helen before the girls have to leave.

And then she actually obtains corroboration of Jane's story, and publicizes it - thus indirectly challenging Mr. Brocklehurst before the whole school. (Which Bronte doesn't address at all.)

After finding herself welcomed back into the fold, Jane decides it's time to put in some effort too:
Thus relieved of a grievous load, I from that hour set to work afresh, resolved to pioneer my way through every difficulty: I toiled hard, and my success was proportionate to my efforts; my memory, not naturally tenacious, improved with practice; exercise sharpened my wits; in a few weeks I was promoted to a higher class; in less than two months I was allowed to commence French and drawing.
So really, it's no surprise she'll stick with Lowood.

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