Chapter 14 includes the first conversation of any real consequence between Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester. Jane Eyre is requested to sit with Mr. Rochester and talk together. The trouble is that they hardly know each other and have nothing in common. They have come together because of Adele needing a governess, but they know nothing about each other.
So this line of conversation is awkward and difficult for them both.
Some commentators say that Edward Rochester has already fallen in love with Jane Eyre by this time. I do not agree this is the case although he does find her interesting and wants to spend time with her. There is more on this discussion in “The Memoirs Of Edward Rochester” regarding the thoughts of Mr. Rochester.
This line of thought from Jane Eyre reveals the difference between external appearance and internal character. Neither Jane Eyre herself, or Edward Rochester are good looking people in the eyes of other people. But they are full of quality and good character inwardly. This is what Jane recognises and gives vent to here.
This is really the first thoughts that are recorded that give us Jane’s view of Mr. Rochester. There is also the implication that this same dichotomy is true of Jane Eyre herself. She is plain and simple in appearance. Despite this Mr. Rochester comes to see Jane as beautiful as he becomes aware of her inner nature.
So, even though Edward Rochester is to all outward appearances uncouth and badly presented this does not matter. His inward character, despite being badly damaged by events in his past, is good and attractive to Jane.
Jane Eyre Quotes
“”You examine me, Miss Eyre,” said he: “Do you think me handsome?”
I should, if I had deliberated, have replied to this question by something conventionally vague and polite; but the answer somehow slipped from my tongue before I was aware.
“I am sure most people would have thought him an ugly man; yet there was so much unconscious pride in his port; so much case in his demeanour; such a look of complete indifference to his own external appearance; so haughty a reliance on the power of other qualities, intrinsic or adventitious, to atone for the lack of mere personal attractiveness, that in looking at him, one inevitably shared the indifference; and even in a blind, imperfect sense, put faith in the confidence.”
- Edward Rochester
- Jane Eyre Quotes – 4 – I am your plain, Quakerish governess.
- Jane Eyre Quotes – 2 – I Knew You Would Do Me Good