Charlotte Bronte's heroine "Jane Eyre" defies the stereotype of the docile Victorian woman and shines as a fully realized person who jumps off the page at a time when women were often portrayed as one-dimensional characters (etext found
The Latin verb "fligere" which means "to strike" can also be seen in the words "conflict" and "afflict"--here, Jane is a ten-year-old who doesn't know how to deal with the abuse John inflicts on her; this sets up a contrast to the conflict with St. John nine years later when he afflicts her mind and soul.
There were moments when I was bewildered by the terror he inspired, because I had no appeal whatever against either his menaces or his
inflictions; the servants did not like to offend their young master by taking my part against him, and Mrs. Reed was blind and deaf on the subject: she never saw him strike or heard him abuse me, though he did both now and then in her very presence, more frequently, however, behind her back.
"Impudence" can also be the broader "trait of being rude and impertinent" which Jane sometimes exhibits when others are rude to her. But in the eyes of John Reed, because she depends on his family's generosity to survive, she has no right to spout impudence, which in this case was a questioning of Mrs. Reed's displeasure with her: “What does Bessie say I have done?”
“That is for your
impudence in answering mama awhile since,” said he, “and for your sneaking way of getting behind curtains, and for the look you had in your eyes two minutes since, you rat!”
I felt a drop or two of blood from my head trickle down my neck, and was sensible of somewhat
pungent suffering: these sensations for the time predominated over fear, and I received him in frantic sort.
at risk of or subject to experiencing something usually unpleasant
The fact is, I was a trifle beside myself; or rather out of myself, as the French would say: I was conscious that a moment’s mutiny had already rendered me
liable to strange penalties, and, like any other rebel slave, I felt resolved, in my desperation, to go all lengths.
"Reprove" and "reproach" are synonymous verbs that can lead to the synonymous states of "opprobrium" and "ignominy"--although John deserves to experience these words for his wanton ("occurring without motivation or provocation" and "extremely cruel and brutal") behavior, Jane is the only one who gets punished, which leads to her silent cry of “Unjust!—unjust!”
My head still ached and bled with the blow and fall I had received: no one had reproved John for wantonly striking me; and because I had turned against him to avert farther irrational violence, I was loaded with general
They were not bound to regard with affection a thing that could not sympathise with one amongst them; a heterogeneous thing, opposed to them in temperament, in capacity, in propensities; a useless thing, incapable of serving their interest, or adding to their pleasure; a noxious thing, cherishing the germs of
indignation at their treatment, of contempt of their judgment.
My heart beat thick, my head grew hot; a sound filled my ears, which I deemed the rushing of wings; something seemed near me; I was oppressed, suffocated:
endurance broke down; I rushed to the door and shook the lock in desperate effort.
The Latin verb "horrere" which means "to shudder" can be seen in the verb "abhor"--Mrs. Reed uses the verb to show that she is disgusted by Jane, whom she assumes is trying to trick her into letting her out of the red-room. But Jane also connects to the verb, because she is actually horrified that Mr. Reed's ghost would appear (he had died in that room).
abhor artifice, particularly in children; it is my duty to show you that tricks will not answer: you will now stay here an hour longer, and it is only on condition of perfect submission and stillness that I shall liberate you then.
This state of things should have been to me a paradise of peace, accustomed as I was to a life of ceaseless
reprimand and thankless fagging; but, in fact, my racked nerves were now in such a state that no calm could soothe, and no pleasure excite them agreeably.
Yes, Mrs. Reed, to you I owe some fearful pangs of mental suffering, but I ought to forgive you, for you knew not what you did: while rending my heart-strings, you thought you were only uprooting my bad
unsparing and uncompromising in discipline or judgment
Mrs. Reed surveyed me at times with a
severe eye, but seldom addressed me: since my illness, she had drawn a more marked line of separation than ever between me and her own children; appointing me a small closet to sleep in by myself, condemning me to take my meals alone, and pass all my time in the nursery, while my cousins were constantly in the drawing-room.
"Execration" can mean "hate coupled with disgust (which John does feel for Jane) or "an appeal to a supernatural power to inflict evil on someone"--the second definition fits the example sentence better because John had failed in his attempt to chastise Jane. In contrast to chastising, John is "tittering" but since he is not laughing nervously about his broken nose, the choice of the verb seems to be Jane mocking him.
Eliza and Georgiana, evidently acting according to orders, spoke to me as little as possible: John thrust his tongue in his cheek whenever he saw me, and once attempted
chastisement; but as I instantly turned against him, roused by the same sentiment of deep ire and desperate revolt which had stirred my corruption before, he thought it better to desist, and ran from me tittering execrations, and vowing I had burst his nose.
Mrs. Reed was rather a stout woman; but, on hearing this strange and
audacious declaration, she ran nimbly up the stair, swept me like a whirlwind into the nursery, and crushing me down on the edge of my crib, dared me in an emphatic voice to rise from that place, or utter one syllable during the remainder of the day.
I remember her as a slim young woman, with black hair, dark eyes, very nice features, and good, clear complexion; but she had a
capricious and hasty temper, and indifferent ideas of principle or justice: still, such as she was, I preferred her to any one else at Gateshead Hall.
Well might I dread, well might I dislike Mrs. Reed; for it was her nature to wound me cruelly; never was I happy in her presence; however carefully I obeyed, however
strenuously I strove to please her, my efforts were still repulsed and repaid by such sentences as the above.
lack of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike
Willingly would I now have gone and asked Mrs. Reed’s pardon; but I knew, partly from experience and partly from instinct, that was the way to make her repulse me with double
scorn, thereby re-exciting every turbulent impulse of my nature.
What had just passed; what Mrs. Reed had said concerning me to Mr. Brocklehurst; the whole tenor of their conversation, was recent, raw, and stinging in my mind; I had felt every word as acutely as I had heard it plainly, and a passion of
resentment fomented now within me.
I was one of the last to go out, and in passing the tables, I saw one teacher take a basin of the porridge and taste it; she looked at the others; all their countenances expressed displeasure, and one of them, the stout one, whispered—“
Abominable stuff! How shameful!”