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|Re-reading Jane Eyre:Hypocritical Rochester? (spoilers) (longish)
Written by Karon
(8/18/2013 9:34 p.m.)
I'm reading this time because I've been following the autobiography of Jane Eyre vlog (BTW I recommend that Jane Eyre fans give this a look, it's quite good). The vlog seems to be developing the Adele aspect of the story more, and it made me look at book Adele a bit more closely. The story notes that Rochester wasn't very affectionate with Adele partly because he doesn't care for children and partly because he thinks she is the illegitimate child of his faithless lover and not his offspring.
The way Rochester treated Adele often bothered me. He says rather harsh things about her in her presence. After a time, I began to think that it probably would not affect Adele much because she is a child and is not a native English speaker, so perhaps she wouldn't understand what he said. So the way he speaks to her might not be nice but, it might not be as bad as I originally expected. However there are times Adele probably could not mistake Rochester's feelings. He sharply orders her out of his sight once and often pushes her away when he is talking to Jane.
Because of the kind of person Rochester is, I can understand his behaviour toward Adele though I don't care for it, but I thought him rather inconsistent when it came to someone else. I've reached the part of the book where Blanche Ingram comes on the scene. Almost immediately Blanche develops a dislike to Adele. She speaks mockingly about her in her presence and is often sharp with her. Sound familiar? Jane observes her behaviour and notes it as one of Blanche's faults. She explains that Rochester notices this behaviour as well and wonders why he is not turned off by Blanche. Later we see that Rochester is indeed not happy with Blanche and never cared for her.
What now is the difference between Rochester's and Blanche's attitudes towards this little girl? Why is Blanche more of a villain in this respect than Rochester? Is he exempt because he has taken Adele in and sees to her needs? Is the story taking a sexist turn here? Is it worse for a oman to be unkind to a child than a man? Any thoughts?
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