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Define the word coincidence. Discuss four coincidences that occur throughout the book

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casmo90210 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 23, 2008 at 10:30 AM via web

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Define the word coincidence. Discuss four coincidences that occur throughout the book

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reidalot | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted July 23, 2008 at 10:35 PM (Answer #1)

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A coincidence simply defined is a chain of events that seem to appear by accident yet are somehow connected.There are quite a few of these events in Jane's life that add to the Gothic element in this work and serve to illustrate the idea of fate between Jane and Rochester. First of all, Jane meets Rochester, coincidentally, while she is out on a walk. His horse "slipped on the sheet of ice" (Chap. 12), and neither one of them knows that Jane is his new governess nor Rochester is her new boss. She helps Rochester to recover from the fall from his horse. Coincidentally, Jane cannot sleep on the night that she believes Grace Poole is attempting to harm Rochester. She rushes into his room to find "the very sheets [of his bed] kindling" (Chap. 15). Once more she rescues him; this time from burning alive while he slept. Next, coincidentally, on their wedding day, Mason, Rochester's first wife's brother, appears to "declare an impediment" (Chap. 26) to their marriage. Jane discovers Rochester is married to a madwoman.The biggest coincidence in their relationship occurs , however, when Jane hears  a cry, "Jane! Jane! Jane" (Chap.35). It is Rochester's voice from far away when Jane was nearly going to make the decision to accompany St. John. So, the purpose of these coincidences is to illustrate that Jane and Rochester are fated or meant to be together.

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mjush | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted July 29, 2008 at 4:53 AM (Answer #2)

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Dictionary.com defines coincidence as: a striking occurrence of two or more events at one time apparently by mere chance: Our meeting in Venice was pure coincidence.Coincidence can be just that in that it is mere chance but when it occurs too frequently or is too unlikely, we may feel the book is too contrived. Some examples of these are: When Jane first meets Rochester she just happens to help him from an injury after falling from his horse.  She is the only one around. Another example is when she meets St. John and his sisters. Jane wanders off with no apparent destination or plan and of all the towns she could stop in and all the houses she could choose, she ends up at a distant relative’s house. People she has never met. Another coincidence is when Rochester’s brother in law shows up at the church on their wedding day and ends up stopping the wedding. Of all the times he could have appeared, he shows up on their wedding day and ultimately this act forces her to move on instead of marrying Rochester. Then, the final coincidence is even noted by Jane herself as she hears a calling to Rochester and leaves St. John to go to him: The most amazing part was what he heard, “a voice it was, replied, ‘I am coming: Wait for me’; and a moment after, went whispering on the wind the words, ‘Where are you?’”Jane feels she cannot speak about her experience, but comments to the Reader, “The coincidence struck me as too awful and inexplicable to be communicated.”

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