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What comments and explanations can be made about this passage? "There was nothing to...

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hozaien | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted May 31, 2013 at 8:32 PM via web

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What comments and explanations can be made about this passage?

"There was nothing to cool or banish love in these circumstances, though much to create despair. Much too, you will think, reader, to engender jealousy: if a woman, in my position, could presume to be jealous of a woman in Miss Ingram's. But I was not jealous: or very rarely;--the nature of the pain I suffered could not be explained by that word. Miss Ingram was a mark beneath jealousy: she was too inferior to excite the feeling. Pardon the seeming paradox; I mean what I say. She was very showy, but she was not genuine: she had a fine person, many brilliant attainments; but her mind was poor, her heart barren by nature: nothing bloomed spontaneously on that soil; no unforced natural fruit delighted by its freshness. She was not good; she was not original"

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 1, 2013 at 9:22 PM (Answer #1)

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In Chapter 18 of Jane Eyre, Jane has observed the party of aristocrats who are staying at Thornfield, and assessed their personalities, especially that of Blanche Ingram, daughter of the Dowager Ingram.  As she observes the gatherings of the party, Jane notices that the haughty Miss Ingram has set her attentions on Mr. Rochester. But, upon closer inspection Miss Ingram, Jane determines that the woman is petulant and petty, and not deserving of Mr. Rochester.  For instance, her remarks about children and herself indicate her selfishness:

"Whenever I marry...I am resolved my husband shall not be a rival, but a foil to me.  I will suffer no competitor neara athe throne; I shall exact undividual homage; his devotion shall not be shared between me and the shape he sees in his mirror...."

Unlike the self-centered Miss Ingram, Jane loves Mr. Rochester unselfishly. She is not jealous of the aristocratic young woman; instead, she feels Miss Ingram is not worthy of the man that she finds noble in nature. For, despite any of his shortcomings, Mr. Rochester is "original" and "good"; he is genuine, he is solicitous of Adele and provides her with a governess and loving care. Jane feels that if she herself cannot attain Mr. Rochester, he still deserves a woman worthy of him. 

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