Volume 2, Chapter 9 / 24

Synopsis of Volume 2, Chapter 9 / 24

Rochester and Jane talk about their future life together. He tells her that he pretended to woo Blanche Ingram to make Jane jealous and to love him more. Mrs Fairfax is amazed by the news and advises Jane to keep Rochester at a distance. Jane is embarrassed by Rochester's lavish spending on jewellery and clothes for her, and it is only in the evenings, when they are alone, that she will allow intimate conversation.

Commentary on Volume 2, Chapter 9 / 24

Ten years since, I flew through Europe half mad This is an example of Rochester's likeness to some of Byron's heroes as well as echoing the central character of the novel Frankenstein. See Characterisation: Rochester

Samson and Delila by Anthonis van DyckI was thinking of Hercules and Samson with their charmers In Greek myth, the hero Hercules was enslaved by his love for Omphale, Queen of Lydia. Samson, the Israelite hero against the Philistines, lost his strength because of his love for his Philistine mistress, Delilah. The story is told in the Book of Judges, chapters 13-16.

I might as well ‘gild refined gold' From Shakespeare's King John (c. 1596):

To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
To throw a perfume on the violet …
To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish
Is wasteful and ridiculous excess. (4.2.11-12, 15-16)

King Ahasuerus The rich king of Persia who marries Esther, a poor Jewish girl, who uses her new-found influence to help the Jewish people. See Esther.

Do you think I am a Jew usurer …? Jews often worked as money-lenders, a profession forbidden to Christians. Shylock, in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice (c. 1596-8), is a Jewish usurer.

a blue-piled thunderloft Quoted from Blackwood's Magazine 28 (1830), 813.

the Lesson for the day Another reference to the Book of Common Prayer which prescribes a reading from the Bible for each day of the week.

Gentlemen of his station … marry their governesses See Themes and significant ideas: Education; Class, wealth and power.

I shall gather manna for her, morning and night Manna is the food miraculously sent to the Israelites during their forty years in the wilderness. See Exodus 16; Numbers 11:6-9.

a fund of genuine French scepticism France was renowned for its sceptical philosophers, who valued reason over religious faith, and were influential in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

like a second Danae According to Greek myth, Danae was seduced by Zeus, who came to her in the form of a shower of gold.

Stamboul An old name for Istanbul in Turkey.

The truest love that ever heart This poem is by Charlotte Brontë.

295 unction to soul See Shakespeare, Hamlet (1601) 3.4. 150-1:' Mother, for love of grace/Lay not a flattering unction to your soul'. Unction is an oil used by priests for anointing believers. Hamlet is telling his mother that it is not easy for her to be forgiven for her involvement in the death of his father. Rochester is saying that his belief in Jane's love for him gives him some comfort. Again, an essentially religious idea is used in a secular context.

not see God for his creature .. idol The chapter ends with Jane's admission that her love of Rochester has obscured her love of God. By making an idol of him, she defies the first commandment: ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before me', as well as the prohibition of worshipping a graven image given in the second commandment (Exodus 20:3).

Investigating Volume 2, Chapter 9 / 24
  • How might Rochester's account of his ten years of travel modify the reader's perception of his character?
  • In what ways is the poem The truest love that ever heart relevant to the events of the novel?
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