Volume 2, Chapter 2 / 17

Synopsis of Volume 2, Chapter 2 / 17

Mr Rochester returns with a party of friends. Jane meets Blanche Ingram and realises that she is inferior to Blanche in every way – socially, in beauty and in accomplishments. Observing the party in the drawing-room, however, she thinks that Rochester is superior in looks, intellect and behaviour to his guests. At the end of the evening, Rochester seeks out Jane for a short private conversation.

Commentary on Volume 2, Chapter 2 / 17

‘a very pleasant refuge in time of trouble' See Psalms 46:1: ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble'. Jane tells Brocklehurst in Volume 1, Chapter 4 that she does not like the Psalms; when she does quote them, she tends to turn to those that speak of God's power and protection. However, by misquoting the verse, Jane secularises its meaning, attributing to the schoolroom the sense of security that the Psalm asserts is to be found only in God.

Mesrour Rochester's horse is named after the executioner at the court of Haroun-al-Raschid, Caliph of Baghdad in the eighth century CE. Stories about him can be found in the Arabian Nights.

‘Some natural tears she shed' From Milton's Paradise Lost, Book 12, l. 645.

elected as member for Millcote … take his seat Sir George has been elected to represent Millcote in Parliament. When newly elected Members of Parliament first attend the House of Commons, they are said have taken their seats. His influence and wealth are such that he is unlikely to have met with much opposition in the election

Dowager Lady Ingram A dowager is a widow with an income; the title is also used to distinguish a widow from the wife of her husband's heir, also Lady Ingram. Her ‘Roman features', a phrase which usually refers to a prominent nose and a proud posture, emphasise the fact that she is a patrician – the term used by the Romans to indicate someone of noble birth. Note that in the previous chapter Jane describes herself as an ‘indigent and insignificant plebeian', thus associating herself with a low rank in Roman society.

Photo by Shakko, available through Creative Commonsmoulded like a Diana The Roman goddess of the moon, hunting and chastity. This description suggests that, although Blanche is beautiful and athletic, she may be sexually cold.

beauty is in the eye of the gazer More usually expressed as ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder', this is a near proverbial English expression.

What tricks … merry days Blanche's comments on her governesses have a direct relevance to Jane's situation. See Themes and significant ideas: Education; Class, wealth and power.

a Corsair-song Corsairs were pirates and to express an admiration for them, along with highwaymen, bandits and other romantically viewed outsiders, was very fashionable among young women at the time the novel was written. The Corsair (1814) was one of the most popular successes of Lord Byron (1788-1824), the Romantic poet who was among Charlotte Brontë's favourite authors.

James HepburnRizzio, Mary, Hepburn David Rizzio (?1533-66) was secretary and lover to Mary Queen of Scots (1542-87) and was murdered by her husband, Lord Darnley (1545-67). Darnley was himself murdered, allegedly by James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, who then kidnapped and probably raped the Queen before marrying her. This was a rather sensational and risqué topic for mixed company in the nineteenth century.

Investigating Volume 2, Chapter 2 / 17
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