By Robert Miles (auth.)
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Additional resources for Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Recalling Rochester's impassioned looks and words of the night before, she trembles and blushes, which Adele comments upon (the gist of the passage in French). So when she says that she 'hastened to drive' her hateful suspicion of Grace Poole from her mind, it is unclear whether she means the suspicion of attempted murder, or of Rochester's former passion for Grace Poole (which may now stand 24 for his present passion for Jane). She then compares herself mentally with Grace Poole, reviewing Bessie's complimentary remarks on her attractiveness.
Even so, Rochester places Jane in an impossible position. He first tells her that he admires her precisely because she adheres so firmly to her conscience, and then encourages her to declare against custom, thus offending her conscience. Jane somewhat evasively replies that sinners should consult with God in their moment of crisis. Rochester presses her again, this time owning himself as the sinner, leaving his sentence open in the hope that she will complete it for him, thus confessing her love.
Commentary In many respects the interview with Mrs Fairfax strikes the keynotes of this chapter. Her dark hint that gentlemen are 'not accustomed to marry their governesses' reminds Jane of the social breach between them, and the precariousness of her situation. Mrs Fairfax also hints that Rochester's proposal is a seductive ruse. Accordingly the chapter ends with Jane adopting a teasing role that keeps Rochester on edge, and at a distance. More pertinently, Mrs Fairfax notes that Jane is a 'sort of pet of his', and much of the chapter is concerned with Rochester's domineering attitude, and Jane's rebellious response.