Describe Mrs. Fairfax's personalityJane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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As Jane Eyre rides in a carriage to Thornfield in Chapter 11 of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre where she is to be governess, she surmises by the appearance of this carriage and the servant who takes her that Mrs. Fairfax is not a "very dashing person."  So, when she is introduced to Mrs. Fairfax, a neat, elderly lady in a widow's cap, black silk gown and white muslin apron, Jane finds her exactly as she has imagined.  Mrs. Fairfax is an obedient and discreet servant of Mr. Rochester's. Politely and warmly, she greets Jane, "How do you do, my dear?"  She orders Leah, the cook, to make a warm supper for Jane who has been chilled by the cold. A distant relative of Mr. Rochester is "a placid-tempered, kind-natured woman."  However, she is also loyal to Mr. Rochester as she lies about the screams that are heard, blaming upon an eccentric seamstress, named Grace Poole.  And, although she is congenial toward Jane, she is unable to offer Jane the companionship and intellectual stimulation that Jane desires.  In contrast to Jane, who is candid and honest, Mrs. Fairfax is more the typical Victorian woman who mitigates the negative aspects of things.  For instance, as already mentioned, she disguises the identity of Mr. Rochester's wife and she glosses over Mr. Rochester's strange ways, dismissing them by saying he is an eccentric man whose family has a history of some violence.

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