Write short explanatory and critical notes on Jane's first encounter with Rochester?
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Jane will encounter Mr. Rochester in a January wintry day. The landscape, the weather, and Jane’s solitude contribute to the ghostly imagery of the passage, as it shows in Volume I, Chapter XII:
“The ground was hard, the air was still, and my road was lonely”
The little vegetation also contributes to the feeling of isolation and aridity, as the narrator only sees few “coral treasures in hips and haws.” All rest is desolation and aridity. There are rare indices of animal life as well, except for some birds looking like brown leaves forgotten in the frosty scenery. Furthermore, the moonlight imagery heightens the feeling of frostiness and wintriness.
Thus, Mr. Rochester’s abrupt apparition in the dreary scenario compares to a ghostlike vision. In fact, the narrator relates Mr. Rochester’s dog to the mythical figure of the Gytrash, a wild dog that was said to haunt lonely roads. Moreover, the way the narrator describes Mr. Rochester opposes to any romantic scene of love at first sight - he is far from being handsome or heroic, and instead he is described as being hoarse, ill humored, and enigmatic. A character like this suits the dreary surroundings and fits the feeling of solitude and restlessness of the narrator.
Lastly, we may consider that Jane helping a stranger, who fell off a horse in an isolated spot, foreshadows her future relationship with Mr. Rochester: in fact, she will help him out of his rather blemished life, and she will guide him to take the correct path from which he was rambling.
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