Posted by Susie on October 01, 1997 at 18:37:37:
In response to Come on, Mr. R's not that bad of a guy!, written by Sendra on September 30, 1997 at 19:33:48
] What do you mean by honorable? Mr. Rochester not be as 'good' as those men, but he is basically kind and caring underneath.. As much as he hated Bertha, he couldn't put her in Ferndean where she'd die, and he even tries to save
] her life. So Mr. Knightly wouldn't have mistresses, but
] then look at Mr. Rochester's family. I'm not trying to blame his actions on his childhood, but that-along with
] all he went through with Bertha- does have some part in it.
] And he does eventually turn to God. If Mr. Rochester
] seems so awful to you, I can' t imagine what you must
] think of Heathcliff.
I think one must also look at it in historical context; not a time in which the rights or feelings of a women in Jane's situation would have been considered in the slightest, and when it was tacitly accepted that men took mistresses outside marriage and that the likes of Blanche Ingram married for money and status. Looking in that light Rochester's actions suggest that he was much more alert to the hypocrisies of the system than most men, having himself been a victim to it (arranged marriage of convenience to the amd Bertha, betrayal by Adele's mother). Not surprising that there is a streak of cruelty in him; the novel is full of examples of what we would now deem cruel, coldhearted behaviour. I was quite intrigued by Jane's treatment of him after she had accepted his proposal, keeping him at arm's length; isn't there a slight hint of sadism in that too?
They are both people resisting the system; Jane in her logical moral way, Rochester in a more cynical vengeful and unscrupulous way. Perhaps this is one of the bases of their mutual attraction; they each respond to the difference from the norm that they perceive in each other. The drama arises out of their conflicting approaches to resolving their problems.
Shrewd timing on Charlotte Bronte's part; by the time Rochester emerges on the scene I feel so immersed in Jane's character and feelings that I don't have any problems with finding him attractive and lovable...
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