Volume 2, Chapter 1 / 16

Synopsis of Volume 2, Chapter 1 / 16

Rochester has concealed from the other servants Jane's part in the events of the previous evening and claims that he accidentally caused the fire himself. Jane is surprised to find Grace Poole is still working at Thornfield, but when she looks for Rochester to question him about his servant, she is dismayed to find that he has left to join a house-party elsewhere.

Mrs Fairfax tells her about the beautiful Blanche Ingram, one of the daughters of the people Rochester has gone to visit, and Jane immediately assumes that Rochester intends to marry Blanche. She draws a self-portrait and an imaginary picture of Blanche, and cannot believe that Rochester could have any interest in her in comparison with Blanche.

Commentary on Volume 2, Chapter 1 / 16

Providence God's benevolent intentions towards believers; something that happens as a result of God's intervention in human events.

the first county families In English society at the time the novel is set, these would have been the families with large inherited houses and estates.

estates were chiefly entailed Property and other inheritances could be settled upon a named series of successors, so that current owners would have no power to dispose of the estate as they wished. Thus, entailed estates might pass not from father to son, but to a cousin or nephew. Such arrangements often drive the plots of nineteenth-century novels, where characters suddenly find themselves without home or income

Copyright to Derek Harper, available through Creative Commonsignis-fatuus-like Literally, this Latin phrase means ‘foolish light'. Also known as a ‘will-o'-the-wisp', the light is caused by the naturally occurring combustion of gases on marshes. Metaphorically, it means something delusive that might lead a person into danger.

this indigent and insignificant plebeian In ancient Rome, a plebeian was one of the common people. Here, Jane uses it to distinguish herself from the high-born and aristocratic visitors to Thornfield, especially Blanche Ingram.

the wholesome discipline … a decent calm By drawing the two portraits and comparing them, Jane acts very deliberately and stoically to remind herself of the realties of the situation. She does not want to entertain any false or deluded ideas about her relationship with Rochester.

Investigating Volume 2, Chapter 1 / 16
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