Friday, April 1, 2011

Chapter 31: Scene-setting ahoy!

What happens in this chapter?

Jane acknowledges her class snobbery:
I had twenty scholars. But three of the number can read: none write or cipher. Several knit, and a few sew a little. They speak with the broadest accent of the district. At present, they and I have a difficulty in understanding each other’s language. Some of them are unmannered, rough, intractable, as well as ignorant; but others are docile, have a wish to learn, and evince a disposition that pleases me. I must not forget that these coarsely-clad little peasants are of flesh and blood as good as the scions of gentlest genealogy; and that the germs of native excellence, refinement, intelligence, kind feeling, are as likely to exist in their hearts as in those of the best-born.
Jane decides she made the right choice:
Meantime, let me ask myself one question—Which is better?—To have surrendered to temptation; listened to passion; made no painful effort—no struggle;—but to have sunk down in the silken snare; fallen asleep on the flowers covering it; wakened in a southern clime, amongst the luxuries of a pleasure villa: to have been now living in France, Mr. Rochester’s mistress; delirious with his love half my time—for he would—oh, yes, he would have loved me well for a while.... Whether is it better, I ask, to be a slave in a fool’s paradise at Marseilles—fevered with delusive bliss one hour—suffocating with the bitterest tears of remorse and shame the next—or to be a village-schoolmistress, free and honest, in a breezy mountain nook in the healthy heart of England?
St. John proves he has no future in marketing:
  • "But perhaps your accommodations—your cottage—your furniture—have disappointed your expectations?"
  • "But you feel solitude an oppression? The little house there behind you is dark and empty."
  • "It is too soon yet to yield to the vacillating fears of Lot’s wife.
  • "A last conflict with human weakness, in which I know I shall overcome, because I have vowed that I will overcome."
We meet Miss Oliver:
What happy combination of the planets presided over her birth, I wonder?

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