302–Oh No He Di’n’t!

Heather

Mother, knitter, spinner, writer, wife, weaver, host...not necessarily in that order...

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6 Responses

  1. psukeksc says:

    One thing I felt the need to point out (despite listening to this well after the book was done), was…I’m not sure how to say this without making St John seem like a bad guy, and I don’t want to do that. *I* don’t care for him, and I (from a modern standpoint I think his “mission” was despicable), but I think that Charlotte admired, no…respected him. I think she thought him a worthy character, even if a bad match (a disastrous match!) for Jane.

    But, like a proper Gothic hero, he has his tragic flaw–to whit, the need to control. And a decided arrogance, which (I think) Charlotte, if not Jane, recognized, while still granting a nobility of purpose. He wants Jane for his *wife*, not because it would be “improper” otherwise – he is probably just as aware of unmarried women missionaries as anyone, but because he could not *control* her otherwise. Which I think Jane recognizes in some fashion, although it’s never put in quite those terms. I mean, I hope I’m not overreaching, but it’s always seemed to me that there was something *wrong*, in the sense of bad, about St. John’s proposal. Just as wrong in it’s way as Rochester’s proposal for Jane to be his mistress. And, in it’s way, just as tempting because it masks itself as righteous duty. And the wrongness is that St. John wants to *own her*, body and soul.

    Again, I may be overreaching, but I don’t think so. I think the episode with the Hindustan lessons is quite telling on his end. And I think that saying “yes” to St John would have been as catastrophic for her faith as saying “yes” to Rochester’s improper proposal would have been.

    • Heather says:

      I don’t think you’re overreaching at all!
      And I think there’s some evidence–at least in the biography I read–to support all of what you say.
      And I, personally, absolutely agree with you about what makes what he’s doing “wrong”–and that it’s not just creepy to modern readers, but affected readers back then, too.

      It also makes him the tragic figure, too, b/c he never learned anything, as Rochester did. And for all of Rochester’s flaws, he never tried to squish the “Jane-ness” out of Jane the way that St John did.

      Of course, all of this just makes The Eyre Affair that much more fun.
      < >

      • Psuke says:

        Ah, Thursday Next, such fabulous literary humor.

        I think it’s one of the things that speaks to the redeemability of Rochester that, far from wanting to squash it, it is the Jane-ness of Jane that particularly *likes*.

  2. I want to stick knitting needles in St. John’s eyes.

  3. scienceknitster says:

    Listening to the interview with Franklin right now — LOVE! His description of his shyness when not “on stage” teaching sounds just like my husband, who is very shy socially but “blooms” when he’s teaching biology to college freshmen. Also TOTALLY agree about the wonderfulness of the knitting/crocheting community!