Jane Eyre I

Prestige Guests

One scene in Jane Eyre that distinctly stands out to me is when Mr. Rochester dresses as a fortune teller and creates quite a buzz.  How would this scene be different if the perplexed guests were not aristocratic, but rather common folk?

The spoiled-rich, such as Ms. Ingram, often convey a sense of flawlessness and high-self-esteem (i.e. through their clothing, hairstyles, ways of speech), whereas poor people, such as Jane, often struggle to feel perfect and confident, given they are viewed by society as lower-class.  Thus, if the guests had not been wealthy, they may not have been as in shock and bitterness at being “picked apart” and insulted, like Ms. Ingram, for their pride would not be so fragile as hers, which was clearly based on her inheritance–not character.

Why is this significant?  Charlotte Bronte needed these conditions to mold her story, which has the message that love transcends even strict societal boundaries.  She had Mr. Rochester falling for the snooty Lady Ingram before showing his true target of love, the lower-class Jane: “just Jane.”  Though she is not simply “just Jane,” but “Jane the just,” for by her strength of discernment, she baffles the “gypsy” and foretelling that it is Rochester himself, her soon-to-be fortune!

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