304–An Act of Faith


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

14 Responses

  1. Sarah Blake says:

    Since this is the end of the book, I shall put this hilarity here:


  2. Gemma says:

    I seem to recall reading (in Elizabeth Wurtzel’s writing) that Samson has to be blinded in order to grow as a person. There are parallels with Rochester here. He wasn’t ready to be a husband to Jane before, but now they share values and can truly depend on one another. It’s not just about Rochester’s faith (although that’s a clear part of it) but that Jane has now seen more of the world and can approach Rochester on more equal terms. It’s not Rochester’s physical dependence on Jane that makes them equal. Dealing with it (and the recovery of his faith is involved in that) gives him the perspective that makes him ready to be the right husband for Jane.

  3. Liz says:

    As you prep for The Age of Innocence you may be interested in a BBC Radio 4 podcast of their programme, Great Lives. An individual with a public profile of some sort nominates someone and they then spend half an hour discussing them with an expert, usually a biographer or academic. In Sept 2012 Naomi Woolf nominated Edith Wharton and it is a really interesting discussion. Sorry I don’t know how to put a link on.

    Looking forward so much to the novel starting- have never read it so it will be such a treat! Also Bleak House, really enjoyed the sneak peek!

  4. SAChoirgirl says:

    I loved listening to this book on the podcast so much. I’ve never been able to read the whole thing. I started it many times, but got caught up again and again in what felt like too much unbearable tragedy inflicted on one poor women. It makes me happy to finally hear the happy ending, and I love that it is so happy. I must admit, though, that I’m still a little sorry that Jane’s happy ending didn’t involve some wonderful teaching career. Wouldn’t it have been awesome if she could have found the equivalent of St. John’s calling in the education of young women who, like her, are alone in the world? The ease with which that possibility is brushed off when she becomes wealthy is really sad to me.
    I also wanted to comment on the question of Jane’s marriage as the happy ending being unsatisfying to many people, because you raised that right at the end, Heather. I too am very happily married, and am beyond grateful to be married, because I am a lesbian, and we’re still fighting for this. But from a feminist perspective, the idea of a marriage that creates a nuclear family is so problematic, even when it results in a very egalitarian and joyful union, because it reinforces the idea that a very modern social structure which is really problematically implicated in transnational free-market capitalism, is the only way to “get it right”. If every happy ending results in a marriage, then every woman who creates an alternative family (like an extended family to support child-rearing, or a different collective social structure that isn’t about prioritizing procreation) is seen as “making do”, and basically as a social failure. The book that is currently helping me think through this is Angela McRobbie’s The Aftermath of Feminism. Judith Butler’s Undoing Gender
    and Michael Warner’s The Trouble with Normal
    make similar points

    • Heather says:

      I think the first point you touch on is pretty easily answered by the fact that Charlotte herself was SO miserable as a governess. I have a hard time imagining her coming up with any happy ending that included teaching. I’m too much of a busy bee. I would have needed to keep at something or (convalescent or no) I would have driven Rochester nuts.

      The second point— yowsa, you really nailed it. And after the Hangout last week, it’s pretty clear from books that Josie shared that our modern “new normaL” isn’t new at all. Women (and men) for a veeeeery long time have ben “creating” families by joining together with folks who share their values for the purposes of raising children and/or simply having a good and fulfilling life. I loved learning that and I look forward to the day when folks are happy just to let everyone be happy. It’s not like we have too much love in the world, after all. It makes me proud of the odd little collective of really awesome people we have who gather around these books.

      Thank you for the book links!
      Off to check them out!

  5. Melanie says:

    I really enjoyed this book and that surprised me. It was required reading when I was a sophomore in high school. Since I didn’t enjoy it then I considered skipping it and picking up with the next book. However I decided to give it a try and am glad I did.

  6. Anne says:

    This is the first book I have listened to here. I loved it and looked forward to the posting each week. I am also going to have to check out Hunter’s book – I believe Gigi at the KnitMore Girls has also been raving it up. I guess it’s time for me to checkout the subscription options – I have been listening through the Downcast app. I am wondering if it will still work the same.
    Thank you so much!
    ps- Did I understand correctly that Jane was sitting on his lap in the last chapter?!

    • Heather says:

      Yes!!! Jane is wee and was sitting on his lap!!!

      And I don’t know that the Downcast app can do the subscriber Stream. I’ll check.

  7. Tammy B. (ravelry screen name wearingpurple) says:

    (heaving big sighs)

    Thinking about one small point– Rochester grief over Bertha — I’ve sorta felt like he had mourned her BEFORE Jane enterred his world. When someone is terminal, it is a really prolonged suffering they endure, and those watching them begin real greiving even before they are actually gone. Bertha madness made her not the woman she was in her youth, the mad woman Rochester tried to save was not the woman he married. Her mental capacity was so far gone… You get the idea. Rochester in these last chapters had other things to mourn, which are returned to him.

    Loved listening in, thank you. Looking forward to what’s next…