Remind yourself of the passage in Chapter 14 from ‘I know it well; therefore I proceed almost as freely… ‘ to the end of the chapter. Discuss the significance of this passage in your reading of the novel. In the course of your answer: * Look closely at the effects of the writing in the passage(s) you have chosen: * Comment on ways in which your chosen passage(s) to the novel’s methods and concerns. In this particular chapter, Rochester chooses to confined in Jane- ‘I know it well; therefore I proceed almost as freely as if I were writing my own thoughts in a diary… without ‘giving himself away’ he proceeds to hint at this ‘past existence’ to Jane without either one really understanding why. Rochester states that he finds it ‘impossible to be conventional’ with Jane, and thus ‘talks like Sphynx’ to subliminally tell Jane that he believes to be in love with her.
‘When fate wronged me, I had not the wisdom to remain cool… ‘ is significant in the further reading of the novel when you read of Rochester’s dissipation around Europe and his Mistresses-particularly Celine Varens-he suggests being remorseful at his past actions and tells Jane to ‘dread remorse when you are tempted… remorse is the poison of life,’ which foreshadows Jane’s latter decision to leave Rochester and Thornfield as she too would become remorseful as Rochester has she stayed and become his Mistress (had she stayed she too would have met the same fate as Rochester latter). He importantly implies that he is ‘not a villain’ but rather acted unwisely in his circumstances.
However, Rochester states that ‘since happiness is irrevocably denied me, I have a right to get pleasure out of life and I will get it, cost what it may,’ suggests his determination (which seems slightly gothic and predatory which comes latter when Rochester is continuingly described as a lion) to get what he wants; to get Jane and ignores Victorian societies’ sanctions of being expected to reform and repent for his sins and decides that he would rather ‘further degenerate’ and get what has been denied to him.
He explicitly states that ‘why should I (reform), if I can get sweet, fresh pleasure? ‘ to Jane, allowing the conversation to become increasingly odd between governess and master and goes against the norm of Victorian convention and Jane clearly does not understand Rochester’s intentions- ‘to speak the truth, sir, I don’t understand you at all: I cannot keep up the conversation, because it has got out of my depth… ‘ Rochester adores Jane for her ‘untainted’ ‘stainless’ youth, which compared to himself is a complete contrast.
While Jane remains innocent and young, Rochester remains experienced and sinful-unless he repents and gives up Jane. When he addresses ‘a vision’ and ‘folding his arms, which half extended, on his chest, he seemed to enclose in their embrace the invisible being,’ this further suggests his want for Jane, as previously and throughout the novel Jane is referred to as a ‘fairy’ or ‘elf’, Rochester’s actions deliberately suggest that he wants Jane to realise his affection of her and refers to her silently as a gothic or supernatural being that he wants to have and embrace.
Witnessing this, it still seems very odd to Jane and states what she understands of the conversation and offers ‘that if you tried hard, you would in time find it possible to become what yourself would approve… with resolution to correct your thoughts and actions,’ suggests Rochester’s fate and repentance at the end of the novel for acting dangerously.
At this moment I am paving hell with energy,’ implies that he’s very aware of himself acting dangerously but is also aware of where he is going with his intentions and suggests to shape the world around him-‘I don’t doubt myself, what my aim is, what my motives are; and this moment I pass a law, unalterable as that of the Medes and Persians… ‘ Rochester intensifies his supernatural character of the Gytrash (seen previously) and hints that he has the power to alter the world that of which he sees fit.
However, Jane states that ‘You are human and fallible,’ and begins to humanise Rochester to her level ‘… the divine and perfect alone can be safely entrusted (with power),’ she brings down Rochester and makes him imperfect again and suggests that he is capable of being hurt like everybody else. Bronte also humanises Rochester by making him concerned of where Jane is going and asking, he also implies that he has been watching her ‘I see you laugh rarely; but you can laugh very merrily,’ Bronte akes Rochester something capable of affection and judges Jane’s character.
‘I see at intervals the glance of a curious sort of bird through close-set bars of a cage: a vivid, restless, resolute captive is there; were it but free it would soar cloud high,’ Rochester suggests that Jane’s passionate nature is repressed by religion and ‘Lowood constraint’ and from this experience at Lowood she fears to ‘smile too gaily, speak too freely or move too quickly’ in the presence of a man, Rochester wants Jane to show her passionate nature and knows that she wants to too.