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Flashcards in JE: Identity Deck (3)
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1) “Mrs Rochester”
“Say Edward”
2) “The eastern allusion bit me”
3) “Bertha” … “You are trying to make me into someone else”


1) sense of ownership he feels over her - construct of marriage.
- double standard, also a sense of him replacing her identity with his -> X self-actualisation, X Bildungsroman.
2) Orientalism - against her innately Christian, English identity -> harsh “bit” = physical pain stemming from the emotional turmoil of her self being rejected by her love. -> Sense of masculine control/ownership: “I will myself put the diamond chain round your neck”, “stamped”, “clasp”.
3) JE = out of passion, WSS = fear of him seeing him self in the other (similar garden descriptions: R = “disturbing, secret loveliness”, A/B = “dead flowers mixed with the fresh, living smell” -> DUALITY!) -> destroys her so that HE can maintain his self.

  • Her relationship with Rochester is intrinsically tied with her own personal sense of her identity: “Am I a monster?”.

“the strange little figure…had the effect of a real spirit: I thought it like one of the tiny phantoms, half fairy, half imp”

  • Women’s Gothic - trapped in a mirror/in societal judgement or expectations of appearance
  • Bertha?!? a manifestation of her repressed emotions - the id vs superego
  • Bertha as Jane’s dark double (WSS: eg. white dress vs red dress, Angel in the House vs Femme Fatele -> roles Roch casts them in to).

Rochester and Blindess:
“I would have sullied my innocent flower”

  • He is blinded by his inner turmoil to see the true Jane (exotic or angel? why am I attracted to “plain[ness]”?).
  • Irony -> when he literally goes blind, he can finally see her:
  • “innocent” = a final acceptance of her plain, Christian identity.
  • BUT! Connecting that with the beauty connoted by “flower”, Rochester forgoes the need for orientalism and accepts the attractiveness in her English identity.

Thus, he too goes on a spiritual journey of sorts, coming to terms with his actions and emotions which, as a result, allows Jane to be set free from the constraints of identity he imposed, meaning she is able to fully accept both her exterior identity of plainness, and her strong, progressive internal sense of the injustices in the world, and her willingness to ignore, subvert and break out of them.