How does Charlotte Bronte present the first encounter between Jane and Mr. Rochester in Chapter 12?

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Bronte has her heroine and hero meet by way of an accident. Coincidentally, Mr. Rochester first meets his governess and employee by needing her help after he and his horse slip on the ice. It is interesting to note that it is the heroine, not the hero, that assists in the saving; and, it seems to foreshadow how they will end up together. She will end up helping him throughout the rest of his life. She will be his caregiver and life support. So, it is perfectly proper and fit to have their first meeting revolve around the exact same pattern. It is the beginning of a pattern. In fact, there are other patterns seen in the first meeting that show up later in the story. One pattern is Mr. Rochester's inclination not to be forthcoming with vital information. He knew she was his employee once she informed him where she lived and what she did for a living, but he withheld his identity from her. Later, he would withhold even more information from her and lead her deceptively to falling in love with him. He also shows his true nature by speaking to her like a servant, although civil and respectful, but does not offer to give her a ride home after she posts the letter for which she was on an errand. The typical English social class structure is held firm in their encounter by these evidences. Thus, the first encounter sets the stage for the many scenes to come that mirror this same behavior between the two protagonists.

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Jane Eyre

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