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
Whether is it better, I ask, to be a slave in a fool’s paradise at Marseilles—fevered with delusive
bliss one hour—suffocating with the bitterest tears of remorse and shame the next—or to be a village-schoolmistress, free and honest, in a breezy mountain nook in the healthy heart of England?
the state or quality of being widely honored and acclaimed
I burnt for the more active life of the world—for the more exciting toils of a literary career—for the destiny of an artist, author, orator; anything rather than that of a priest: yes, the heart of a politician, of a soldier, of a votary of glory, a lover of
renown, a luster after power, beat under my curate’s surplice.
My father, indeed, imposed the determination, but since his death, I have not a legitimate obstacle to contend with; some affairs settled, a successor for Morton provided, an entanglement or two of the feelings broken through or cut
asunder—a last conflict with human weakness, in which I know I shall overcome, because I have vowed that I will overcome—and I leave Europe for the East.
There was an enjoyment in accepting their simple kindness, and in repaying it by a consideration—a scrupulous regard to their feelings—to which they were not, perhaps, at all times accustomed, and which both charmed and benefited them; because, while it elevated them in their own eyes, it made them
emulous to merit the deferential treatment they received.
Compare to this example sentence: "He could not—he would not—renounce his wild field of mission warfare for the parlours and the peace of Vale Hall." ("relinquish" and "renounce" are synonyms).
St. John, no doubt, would have given the world to follow, recall, retain her, when she thus left him; but he would not give one chance of heaven, nor
relinquish, for the elysium of her love, one hope of the true, eternal Paradise.
When you are at Madagascar, or at the Cape, or in India, would it be a consolation to have that memento in your possession? or would the sight of it bring recollections calculated to
enervate and distress?
the rising of a body of water and its overflowing onto normally dry land
Fancy me yielding and melting, as I am doing: human love rising like a freshly opened fountain in my mind and overflowing with sweet
inundation all the field I have so carefully and with such labour prepared—so assiduously sown with the seeds of good intentions, of self-denying plans.
"Scrupulous" also means "having ethical or moral principles"--this is suggested in St. John's nature as a clergyman, and it would contrast the nature of Mr. Rochester's marriage to Jane, if it had happened the way it had initially been planned. But Jane is using the word to describe St. John's attitude towards sex as a duty to be carefully fulfilled for God, rather than as an expression of love for his wife.
Can I receive from him the bridal ring, endure all the forms of love (which I doubt not he would
scrupulously observe) and know that the spirit was quite absent?
a purposeful or industrious undertaking (especially one that requires effort or boldness)
Once wrench your heart from man, and fix it on your Maker, the advancement of that Maker’s spiritual kingdom on earth will be your chief delight and endeavour; you will be ready to do at once whatever furthers that end.
You will see what
impetus would be given to your efforts and mine by our physical and mental union in marriage: the only union that gives a character of permanent conformity to the destinies and designs of human beings; and, passing over all minor caprices—all trivial difficulties and delicacies of feeling—all scruple about the degree, kind, strength or tenderness of mere personal inclination—you will hasten to enter into that union at once.
I felt how—if I were his wife, this good man, pure as the deep sunless source, could soon kill me, without drawing from my veins a single drop of blood, or receiving on his own crystal conscience the faintest stain of crime. Especially I felt this when I made any attempt to
"Conceive" also means "become pregnant"--while this does not fit the example sentence, it is suggested by the likelihood of marriage leading to the conceiving of children, which could lead Jane to conceive love for her husband (although, she would prefer conceiving love before children). A double meaning can also be seen in St. John's threat of "barren" obscurity if Jane refuses to be his wife ("barren" means both "completely wanting or lacking" and "not bearing offspring").
“And then,” I continued, “though I have only sisterly affection for him now, yet, if forced to be his wife, I can imagine the possibility of
conceiving an inevitable, strange, torturing kind of love for him, because he is so talented; and there is often a certain heroic grandeur in his look, manner, and conversation.
Where is the use of doing me good in any way,
beneficent spirit, when, at some fatal moment, you will again desert me—passing like a shadow, whither and how to me unknown, and for me remaining afterwards undiscoverable?
I softened considerably what related to the three days of wandering and starvation, because to have told him all would have been to inflict unnecessary pain: the little I did say
lacerated his faithful heart deeper than I wished.
tending to promote physical well-being; beneficial to health
"Salutary" and "salubrious" are synonymous adjectives that share the Latin root "salus" which means "health"--here, jealousy is seen as a salutary emotion to shake Mr. Rochester out of his sadness; in the earlier example sentence, Mr. Rochester was describing his eighteen-year-old memory as salubrious, because he had not yet become what he now regrets: "a trite commonplace sinner, hackneyed in all the poor petty dissipations with which the rich and worthless try to put on life."
Jealousy had got hold of him: she stung him; but the sting was
salutary: it gave him respite from the gnawing fang of melancholy.
“Sacrifice! What do I sacrifice? Famine for food, expectation for content. To be privileged to put my arms round what I value—to press my lips to what I love—to
repose on what I trust: is that to make a sacrifice? If so, then certainly I delight in sacrifice.”
The use of the word "ministry" is an allusion to the clergyman Jane had rejected: it emphasizes that Jane's choice of Mr. Rochester over St. John is not a turning away from God towards a selfish desire; rather, it is an undertaking of a different kind of mission, where she could attend to the needs of a confessed sinner who's disabled yet seeking to reform, while also obeying the biblical command to become one flesh in ways that include love, honor, and fruitfulness.
I preferred utter loneliness to the constant attendance of servants; but Jane’s soft
ministry will be a perpetual joy.