Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Lovely Blog Party // Mr. Rochester and Jane Eyre

Hello all!  I'm participating in Cordy's Lovely Blog Party which is being held at Every Merry Little Thought for the entire month of February!  (Click here for details.)   
The goal for this month is to dedicate at least one post to a favorite fictional couple.  I've chosen Mr. Rochester and Jane because I just recently re-watched the 1983 movie version of this classic novel and I came away from it with a renewed feeling of appreciation for these two characters.  Seriously, if you want a study in character this is your story!  Charlotte Bronte certainly didn't go for one dimensional, cardboard people. 
After my recent viewing of the film I had plans to write a post specifically about Mr. Rochester, but when Cordy mentioned the idea of this blog party I rethought it and decided a post about both of them would work just as well.  (Maybe better.) 
So here we are.  And I'm going to jump right in and see where this goes.  Hopefully as I write, this post will organize itself into something cohesive because at this point I'm not really sure where it's headed.  (I'm so on top of this.)

Warning:  I'm not going to try and avoid spoilers, so if you're not familiar with this story and have plans for reading the book someday you probably don't want to read this post.  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

*sigh*  There's something so special about Jane and Mr. Rochester's love story.  There's a depth of understanding and a oneness between them that you don't often see in other fictional couples, at least not to the extent you do here.  They simply "speak each other's language."  They come from entirely different backgrounds, are about twenty years different in age, and yet for some reason they're able to connect with one another like no one else has ever connected with them.  They really, truly understand the workings of the other.  (As far as anyone can understand another human being that is, since of course there will always be some mystery.  No person can be fully known by anyone except God Himself.  Just puttin' that out there.) 

In some ways Jane and Mr. Rochester seem vastly different from each other.  Jane is quiet and proper and to all appearances submissive.  Mr. Rochester is demanding and can often be harsh and overbearing.  But in thinking about this I realized that there are some real similarities between them as well.  They both have a protective streak in them that makes them reach out and take care of those who are in need.  They don't concern themselves overly much with what other people think of them.  And they are both extremely passionate. 

Jane while seeming to be one who could be easily trod upon is anything but that.  She holds her own with a vengeance.  And Mr. Rochester, while almost cruel at times, really has a far more tender heart than most people probably give him credit for.  And Jane sees that in him.

In other words, they're a great match for each other. 

And now.  A few points about them as individuals. 


Okay, wow.  Jane is such an amazing character, I'm not even quite sure where to begin.  But I think I'm going to have to use bullet points and just rattle off some things I love about her.
  • First off, have you ever realized what a forgiving person Jane is?  She's had a lot of hardship in her life.  A lot of ill-treatment.  I'm thinking particularly of her growing up years, with her aunt and cousins.  Her aunt was cruel to her and cast her off, and yet years later when her aunt is on the point of dying Jane is there forgiving her and asking for her forgiveness, and trying to reach out to her. 

"If you could but be persuaded to think no more of it, aunt, and to regard me with kindness and forgiveness-" 

"Many a time, as a little child, I should have been glad to love you if you would have let me; and I long earnestly to be reconciled to you now;" 

"Love me, then, or hate me, as you will.  You have my full and free forgiveness: ask now for God's , and be at peace." 

Wow.  I don't think I have to add anymore to that, do I? 
  • The way she cares for Adelle.  And how she treats her even more tenderly after hearing her history and finding out that she is illegitimate.

  • I love how she's not afraid of Mr. Rochester (since he can be rather frightening at times) but how she genuinely cares about him.  Also how she's able to meet him at his own games and tease him and give him a hard time just as he does to her.
"...can't you give me a charm, or a philter, or something of that sort, to make me a handsome man?"
     "It would be past the power of magic, sir."  :)

  • Jane loves Mr. Rochester.  Despite his past.  Despite all his present faults and failings.  She loves him.  But when that twist of all twists comes and she realizes he has a wife still living (a wife who is mad, yes, but still his wife) she immediately pulls back.  She doesn't love him any less (indeed, it's breaking her heart to be separated from him as much as it's breaking his) but she will not go against her conscience.  She will do what's right no matter how hard it is.  And I find that truly inspiring.  In other cases I feel like the heroine would either 1. give in to him or 2. hate him, and yet Jane doesn't do either of those things.  She loves him, and she leaves him, knowing that it's the right thing for both of them.

~Mr. Rochester~

Mr. Complicated, right?  I can see how some people might really dislike Mr. Rochester.  I mean, he's not exactly your typical, moral hero.  However, if you like Jane I really don't see how you can hate Mr. Rochester.  Because Jane likes Mr. Rochester.  And she ought to be the best judge of character in this case, right?
Mr. Rochester is indeed a complicated character.  He's not perfect.  (Far from it!)  He makes some pretty awful decisions.  He is in many respects selfish and harsh, and unkind to people, but at the same time...
Okay, let me just tell you some things I've noticed about Mr. Rochester that are super cool.
  • First, can we just get a little understanding of what a hard life he's had, and how those hardships have played a role in shaping him into the complicated person he is?  Thinking about some of the main events in his past I realized he's been betrayed an awful lot.  First by his father and brother in arranging his marriage to Bertha Mason while purposefully withholding from him the fact of her mental condition.  Secondly by his friend, Richard Mason, who also withheld this information from him.  (And it hadn't hit me so before but Richard was his friend.  Someone he should have been able to trust.)  And thirdly, he was betrayed by Adelle's mother.  Made to believe that she loved him, he showered her with all sorts of things and gave himself up to her, only to find out there was another man in the picture as well.  Ouch.  Ouch.  And triple ouch.  (Granted, his own decisions play into these betrayals as well.  He did make bad choices.  The fact that he realizes this later in life and regrets it, says a lot for his character though.  He definitely has a desire to be a better person.)

And despite all his faults, he does have some good qualities which persist in showing themselves.
  • He takes care of Adelle.  He doesn't believe that she's his child (or won't believe it at any rate) but when she's left with no mother he takes her in and provides for her even though she has no legal claim on him.  (And this, too, after the treatment he'd received from her mother.  Like wow.)   I won't say he's extremely nice to Adelle, he does have a sort of begrudging attitude toward her much of the time, but the fact remains...he took care of her even though it may not have been what he wanted to do.
  • He cares about Richard Mason.  They were friends after all.  And when Richard gets hurt he does all he can toward helping with his recovery.
     "Take care of him," said Mr. Rochester to the latter [the doctor], "and keep him at your house till he is quite well: I shall ride over in a day or two to see how he gets on.  Richard, how is it with you?"
     "The fresh air revives me, Fairfax."
     "Leave the window open on his side, Carter; there is no wind--goodbye, Dick."
    He called him 'Dick'.  Okay, don't ask me why, but I like that.  And I think it's really significant, because you usually only call people you're close to by nicknames.  And thus it emphasizes the fact again that they're more than just casual acquaintances.  Which I think is important because we can get the idea of Mr. Rochester sometimes that he doesn't care about anyone.  And granted he is rather harsh to Richard at times because he fears what Richard might do to expose his secret.  But I think underneath all that he really does care about him.  (And other people as well.)
  • Okay, this one is a huge point.  The way Mr. Rochester cares for his wife.  First off he doesn't love her.  And honestly it's hard to love someone who've you never really known...and one who in fact hates you.  (Which she does. )  Also one whom you can never hope to have a real relationship with.  But he provides for her.  He does what he can.  And to clap the climax he risks his own life at the end to save hers.  I mean we talk about people risking their lives to save those they love.  How about a person who risks their life for someone they don't love?  Someone who has in fact attempted to kill them on more than one occasion?  Such a person either has a very strong sense of duty or a far more compassionate heart than they let on.
  • Mr. Rochester's kindness to Jane.  He treats her as an equal and for one of the first times in her life she has the comfort of feeling valued and not put down by another human being.  I love that about him.  (And sorry, but I'm just going to have to quote another part from the book because it's simply too good to pass up.)
Mr. Rochester had sometimes read my unspoken thoughts with an acumen to me incomprehensible: in the present instance he took no notice of my abrupt vocal response; but he smiled at me with a certain smile he had of his own, and which he used but on rare occasions.  He seemed to think it too good for common purposes: it was the real sunshine of feeling - he shed it over me now.
     'Pass, Janet," said he, making room for me to cross the stile: "go up home, and stay your weary little wandering feet at a friend's threshold."
     All I had now to do was to obey him in silence: no need for me to colloquies further.  I got over the stile without a word, and meant to leave him calmly.  An impulse held me fast - a force turned me round.  I said - or something in me said for me, and in spite of me - "Thank you, Mr. Rochester, for your great kindness.  I am strangely glad to get back again to you: and wherever you are is my home - my only home."
Seriously.  Aren't they so sweet?
Okay, so judging from the all that I've had to say about Mr. Rochester I guess it's pretty obvious that I'm highly sympathetic toward him.  As I said before he's not a model hero-- not by any stretch of the imagination--and he's not really a man to be emulated--at least not at the beginning.  But by the end, wow.  What a powerful picture of redemption. 
"I thank my Maker, that, in the midst of judgement, he has remembered mercy.  I humbly entreat my Redeemer to give me strength to lead henceforth a purer life than I have done hitherto!" 
Mr. Rochester
Isn't that an awesome conclusion?  And it really hits home, too, because that's us, people.  Everyone of us.  Sinners redeemed by Christ's unfailing love and mercy.  Just wow.
(Okay, did that get sort of deep or what?  Sorry I'm afraid I have a tendency to overthink things.  This was supposed to be just a simple post about a favorite fictional couple and here I ended up sermonizing.  Or something close to it anyway.  Pardon me.  I think I'll leave now before I thoroughly convince you that I'm a nut when it comes to studying fictional characters.)
This was written for Cordy's Lovely Blog Party.  Don't forget to head over to her blog and check out some more of this month's posts!
Tell me, do you get a kick out of delving into the intricacies of fictional characters?  What is your opinion of Jane and Mr. Rochester?  
Let's talk about it!


  1. Oh my goodness! What a beautiful, well-thought-out post, Miss March! You probably know that this is my favorite book, and they're my favorite fictional couple -- and I heartily applaud what you've said here. Oh, this book is just so rich and wise, isn't it?

    1. No! Seriously? They're your favorite couple??! Wow. I'm even more glad that you liked this post then :) And yes, there is so much depth to this story. It's amazing!

  2. I have to say when I first read the big Bronte two, I greatly preferred Wuthering Heights (that was over 10 years ago, and I was a moody teenager). Now, I think the writing of Jane Eyre is of higher quality, but I still don't care for the characters or the setting. I do love the hilarious, not flirting but yes flirting exchanges between Jane and Mr. Rochester . . . until I consider their situation--his AGE. I'm sorry, I cannot get over my modern (and in this case, I truly would argue more appropriate mindset) about the age difference. There is a creepiness in his attitude and situation that I cannot erase and that is unlike the JA character age differences (except Marianne and Colonel Brandon's which I always have had a hard time with).

    I COMPLETELEY love analyzing characters, but I also weary myself with it. My sisters and I often analyze together. I'm not sure all of them are as familiar with JE as I am, and I think we prefer the movies on this one (sacrilege!!!). I have a hard time with 1st person writing. The characters come across as so self-righteous or falsely humble.

    1. I've never read Wuthering Heights. From what I've heard of it I got the impression that I wouldn't like it, but I probably should read it sometime, just because. Yes, the writing of Jane Eyre is impressively good. I wish I could write that well! :) I get what you mean about the age difference. I can see how that could be disturbing to some people. Still I don't know, some people just don't feel the difference in age the way other people do. I think once you're a grown-up it's not so much the actual age in years that matters as much as how you relate to each other. And if the couple in question isn't feeling the age difference then I don't think it should be a problem. (Of course if we're talking OLD men who are like in their seventies or something getting married to girls in their twenties...well that's creepy. I guess Jane and Mr. Rochester just don't seem THAT different in age to me, for some reason.)

      Oh I hear you! I do that, too. I'm extremely analytical, so very often I work myself into a confused muddle trying to understand everything perfectly. It's kind of painful sometimes. Haha. ;)

  3. I love this story so, so much. <3 And I loved this post. It was beautiful, Miss March. Everything you said I can completely agree with. Jane and Edward are indeed well-matched, and I feel like their love story is so much stronger than most because of all the trials they had to go through before they could be together and be happy at last.

    I have seen at least two different adaptations of the book, but not the 1983 one...may have to check into that one here soon. :)

    1. Awww! Thank you, Elanor!! I'm so glad you agree! :)

      Oh do! It's such a good movie. And it follows the book really well! I will say though it's not flashy and fast-paced like modern movies so it might be sort of boring to some people, but I like it! :)

  4. Aww oh my goodness.
    I need to re-read the book again, it's been a while.
    Also. I've wondered for a while which the best movie is, and I haven't seen any. Would you then recommend the 1983 version?

    I wholeheartedly agree about Jane. I admire her so much. She was so GOOD and EVERYTHING, just yes.

    Mr. Rochester--you know, those are good points. Ones that I've kind of overlooked, so thanks for bringing them out. I am one of those people that's never really liked Rochester, because of all the wrong things he did, but I like what you said about him and perhaps I shall be more disposed to think kindly of him. :)

    Jane and Mr. Rochester ARE rather a perfect couple.

    1. I would totally recommend the 1983 version. It's SO good! (Granted I grew up watching it so I'm probably a little biased but, whatever.) It follows the book REALLY well. It's not a new movie so it doesn't have the fast-paced, flashiness of modern films, but I think it really captures the essence of the characters and that's what I care about the most so yeah...I like it! :)

      Yes! She really is an amazing character!! Glad you like her too. :)

      Aw, that's awesome. I'm glad I was able to bring out some points of his character that you hadn't thought of before. I certainly hope you are more disposed to think kindly of him...but of course I'll understand if you still don't like him very much. He's not everyone's favorite character, I know. :)

      They are indeed!! :)

  5. MISS MARCH!!!! I cannot begin to tell you how awesome this post is!! *clapping* Seriously, remember when I told you I wanted to cover Jane and Rochester but didn't feel I had the time to do them justice?! I'm so glad you took on the task because This. Is. Excellent! And I'm sure it was quite an undertaking for you but it's beautiful!! I'm so glad you did it!!!!

    Oooh, I do love this couple. Thankfully, this movie version of "Jane Eyre" was actually sitting at the library the last time I went. I have a day off tomorrow...maybe I should take the time to finally finish watching it because I need to reread Jane Eyre but I haven't the time. But watching, that might do until I can read it again..

    Congrats on such a superb post!! <3


    1. Eeeeek! THANK YOU SO MUCH, CORDY! I'm so pleased you liked it. :D :D

      Me, too! My appreciation for them rose even higher as I was writing this I think. :) Oh wow! How convenient. I hope you got a chance to finish watching it. Let me know what your final thoughts on it were, okay? :)

      THANK YOU!

      ~Miss March

  6. I read the spoiler alert and threw up my hands! That describes me alright! I've purposefully avoided Jane Eyre spoilers all my life for that one day when I read the book. So I shall have to leave this post here. ;)

    1. You've seriously NEVER read Jane Eyre!!! GABBY! Go find that book and read it!!! ;D

  7. Wow! What a great post, Miss March!

    Okay, I've gone back and forth on Jane & Rochester myself, but this post reminded me how much I do low them. :)

    Also, love the quotes you used -- I love how real, deep faith is in element in the book. :)

    Again, fantastic post, dear friend! Bravo! *applauds*

    1. Thanks, Olivia!

      Aw, I'm glad! Writing this made me appreciate them all the more too. :)

      YES! THIS is the kind of "Christian fiction" we need more of, I'd say. :)

      Awwwww. THANK YOU! *bows*

  8. Eeeeeek! First, apologies and all that for taking so long to comment. BUT THIS IS SO GOOD. Upon the last time I read Jane Eyre, I found the characters even more endearable than the first time I read it. But now your post pointed out so many things I still hadn't though of. Wow!

    I love that Jane has such very admirable moral courage--but she's not perfect, and she struggles a LOT. She's someone to relate to and emulate, I think.

    As to Mr. Rochester...I've always found his redemption really beautiful and special, but you pointed out things BEFORE his redemption that I never really thought of! Like his friendship to Richard and how he chooses to care for Adele and try to save Bertha--both people he really has no reason to love.

    This was a beautiful, very well-written and thoughtful post, Miss March. *applauds*

    1. Thank you so much!! I'm SO glad you liked it! :D

      Yes. That's what's so wonderful about these characters. They're real. Not prefect. Not stereotypical. But unique and very true to life. (In my opinion anyway.)

      I know! Some of those were new thoughts to me, too, just from watching the movie this past time. I really need to read the book again.

      Aww. THANK YOU!