By S. Thomas
This new examine demonstrates the precision of Brontë's ancient environment of Jane Eyre . Thomas addresses the ancient worlding of Brontë and her characters, mapping family of style and gender around the novel's articulation of questions of imperial historical past and kin, reform, racialization and the making of Englishness.
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Extra info for Imperialism, Reform, and the Making of Englishness in Jane Eyre
Atwood notes the ‘sobriety and chastity’ of the ‘English Creole women’, ‘a clear refutation of that too generally received notion, that women in particular, in warm climates, are given to inordinate desires; and proves to a demonstration, that such passions are not owing to the climate, but rather to a too warm constitution, which, aided by luxury, too often gives itself up to satisfying its own depraved appetites, against every sense of decency, and consideration of duty’. ‘The generality of the white women’ among ‘the loose wantons of the sex in the West Indies’ are ‘actually composed of adventurers from Europe, or of such as have followed the army and navy to the islands’ (212–13).
After Bertha attacks Richard, Rochester takes command of the situation, with Jane’s assistance, ordering Richard not The Tropical Extravagance of Bertha Mason 39 to speak to Jane on ‘peril’ of his life (209; vol. 2, ch. 5). In the scenes of first aid and medical attention Richard’s voice murmurs (209, 212; vol. 2, ch. 5), is ‘faint’, and ‘shuddering’ (212; vol. 2, ch. 5), or is a groan (209; vol. 2, ch. 5). He utters a blasphemy in the church, crying ‘faintly’, and, in response to Rochester’s demands that he speak (‘what have you to say’), has to be prompted to greater articulateness by his solicitor, Mr Briggs, who urges him: ‘ “Courage speak out” ’ (290–1; vol.
40 Imperialism, Reform, and Englishness in Jane Eyre In Rochester’s narrative the bestialization of Bertha makes literal her degradation by passion, living familiarly with slaves and lovers,10 and her ineducability, which figures the uselessness in her case of the civilizing or, to use Spivak’s term, ‘soul making’ mission of colonialism (Spivak, ‘Three Women’s Texts’ 244) which Rochester tries to assume in the privatized domain of marriage. Rochester is more confident about the educability of the child Adèle, daughter of his French mistress Céline Varens; in his account he ‘transplanted’ Adèle to England, ‘to grow up clean in the wholesome soil of an English country garden’, and to be trained through an English education (JE ( 144; vol.
Imperialism, Reform, and the Making of Englishness in Jane Eyre by S. Thomas