Today Paratalk or torque? is brought to you by Jenny Jones, a writer I’ve known for many years.
I was experiencing an ordeal: a hand of fiery iron grasped my vitals. Terrible moment: full of struggle, blackness, burning! Not a human being that ever lived could wish to be loved better than I was loved; and him who thus loved me I absolutely worshipped: and I must renounce love and idol. One drear word comprised my intolerable duty – ‘Depart!’
And so the mad woman in the attic has been discovered, and Jane Eyre’s wedding day is in ruins. Mr Rochester pleads with her to go away with him to the south of France.
Me? I’d be saying, where’s my suitcase? When does the boat leave? Come on, what are we waiting for? But not Jane. Jane is a Christian woman, and to paraphrase her thoughts – what is the point of holding all your life to Christian principles, only to abandon them the second they become inconvenient? It’s easy to be good when there’s no temptation to be otherwise.
Whatever I might think of Jane’s decision, hers is an example of tremendous strength and courage, and I admire her for that. This is such a powerful piece of writing, and Mr Rochester’s anguish breaks my heart every time I read it. In a novel I have just finished writing, my lead character has his “Jane Eyre” moment. I wrote a whole chapter in which he behaved in a particular way, and then I realised – no, this is not the man I have created, this is not authentic, and so I re-wrote it, and I feel the story is stronger for it.
And I often wonder – do I have a “Jane Eyre” moment – a line I would never cross? Do you?