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Analyse and evaluate Bronte’s presentation of Rochester and St John Rivers

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Bronte portrays Rochester in a very different way to St John Rivers; you could say they are complete opposites. Rochester has very dark features, such as dark hair and dark eyes with a heavy brow yet he isn’t handsome. The impression we get of Rochester is that he is a very powerful man, he’s first introduced on a horse in a dark alley alone and he scares Jane. This represents him as a stallion and a strong man. This is also a mysterious setting and keeps us in suspense not knowing who he is and Jane doesn’t realise she works for him.

Rochester’s manner is very bossy and also makes him seem powerful, his first line is “what the deuce is to do now? ” this is almost swearing and it’s a rhetorical question and is rude. When Jane tries to help him he says to her “you must stand to one side” this is bossy and commanding and gives us the impression of him being powerful. Later on we realise that it is because Rochester is so used to giving orders and being bossy but as this is the first scene we do not realise, it makes us think of him as rude and bossy.

The description Jane first gives us of Rochester is that he isn’t handsome and she isn’t intimidated by him but as he seems powerful to us we would have expected her to be intimidated by him, this softens our opinion of him. Rochester treats Jane as an equal, even though he is so used to giving orders which he sometimes does to Jane but he always apologizes. St John is introduced very differently. He is very unlike Rochester, the impression we get off St John is that he is very handsome but he is cold hearted, detached and very private.

We immediately get the impression of a handsome man by the way jade describes him “twenty eight to thirty, tall, slender, his face riveted the eye”. Though we get the impression he’s handsome we also get the feeling that’s he’s a cold person showing no feelings. Throughout the book we are constantly being reminded about this by him being referred to as ice and marble, for example “a marble immobility” and “no longer in flesh, but marble”, “know me to be what I am, a cold hard man”.

When Jane first sees St John when she is in a fit state he continues reading and chooses to ignore Jane and not acknowledge her, this gives us the impression that he’s rude and feels as though he is better then Jane and doesn’t need to talk to her. “he did not direct me one word” The first instance when St John is introduced though he is kind to Jane as he is the one that insists in taking in a poor homeless woman and he is kind but he is without feeling and Bronte uses this to strongly think less of him.

He is a very strict Christian so he feels that he is always doing the moral thing which in a way he is but he doesn’t love or show strong feelings except for his job. We see St John as an arrogant man by the way he addresses Jane. “Ill or well she will always be plain”. This immediately puts the reader off him. The big difference between St John and Rochester is that Rochester is a passionate man who always shows his feeling and often acts on them where as St John hides his feelings and has strong control over them. Keeping his eyes fixed on the page he perused, and his lips mutely sealed”.

There’s something repressed about St John as well “St Johns eyes difficult to fathom” Rochester is dark and St John is blonde, we associate dark features with and warmth where as blonde and fair is seen to be cooler, with this comparison we see that Rochester is a passionate man with strong feelings that he shows where as St John is handsome yet he seems to be emotionless and cold. When Jane first arrives at Thornfield she is excited about her new job and she’s healthy and well.

It’s her new job and she’s spent most of her life at Lowood so this is a new change and she is hoping to find great happiness. When she arrives at Thornfield it’s a big impressive building with fires and warmth and seems to be cozy and lived in even though it’s a huge place with not many people living there for the size of it, but Jane likes it. When she first meets Rochester she is feeling settled and happy at Thornfield but she doesn’t realise that Rochester is the man she works for when she first meets him.

When Rochester comes riding along a dark lonely alleyway and they are both alone and Jane describes him with a sense of melchanoly. Jane had received a middle class education and so had a middle class status in the Victorian statue, she was happy with her life but she felt it was boring and dull before she met Rochester. When she first meets Rochester she is in a happy state and has just settled in to her new job, she feels comfortable and at home and isn’t intimidated by Rochester.

The first encounter when Jane meets St John Rivers Jane is in an unstable condition, she hasn’t eaten for days and is unwell. Just before she reaches St Johns house she says she’s ready to give life up on life and she is really desperate for someone to help her when she comes to St Johns house. As Jane seems like a poor homeless woman and St John offers to take her in we see him as a kind considerate man who helps Jane out. At first we favor this man and take to him nicely but further on he becomes a cold hard unemotional man who seems as though he doesn’t respect Jane.

Throughout the book we get references of cold for example “‘no’ he said coolly”, which represents St John which contradicts the first opinion we had of him as being a warm welcoming man. When Jane meets St John she is presented as a weak woman with a low class who is very vulnerable and she relies on St John. Jane’s journey from Thornfield symbolically shows her losing everything. When Jane meets St John Rivers she is in a very different physical and emotional state to when she met Rochester this could effect how she feels about them as she relied on St John but Rochester bought her passion and love.

The way Jane is presented when she meets each suitor is very different. When Jane arrives at Thornfield the first impression she gets of it is that it’s like a castle, Thornfield is a solitary building which Bronte uses to represent Rochester as he is an independent solitary man who we often get the impression is lonely. A lot of the rooms in Thornfield are unoccupied and the emptiness of Thornfield could also be seen as representing Rochester because before Jane Rochester was lonely and empty inside, he had been used for money which he later tells Jane about and this left him empty.

Although Thornfield seems empty and secretive Jane also feels reassured and she describes it as being warm and comfortable. This helps us to relate to Rochester because he adds to the feeling of comfort as she feels happy and relaxed around him, she isn’t intimidated by Rochester and she isn’t intimidated by the grandness of Thornfield either. Although Thornfield is described sometimes as being eerie and mysterious such as the wooden staircase it’s also described as being cozy and there are many references to light and fire.

This is very similar to how Bronte describes Rochester, he’s seen as a man that is rude and is of a higher status then Jane yet we are continually reminded of his passion and warmth. Although it’s a big grand house it isn’t as big as a stately home “gentleman’s manor house to a nobleman’s stead”. Thornfield is in big grounds and is isolated from the community, this is relates to Rochester as he is isolated from the community around his house and often goes away form Thornfield for long periods of time.

Bronte also uses St John Rivers house to strongly represent and describe St John. The impression we get of his house is that it is plain, under furnished without any luxuries, this reflects St Johns personality as he feels he doesn’t need luxury. The house is decorated very plainly and doesn’t have an individual style to it and is just contains necessities the house doesn’t reveal anything just how St John doesn’t reveal his feelings to anyone. St John is a very emotionless man and this house seems to lack anything which may be considered a luxury or something used to show emotion.

At the rivers house after Jane has recovered and she talks to St john for the first time when she’s in a better physical state St john chooses to ignore Jane which shows us that he feels he is superior to Jane Throughout the book we see St john using language full of biblical references which reflects him as a strong Christian and showing us that he thinks he is speaking through god. St John uses language which is cold and shows no emotion “not feeling is my guide”.

St John also speaks with automation when he talks to Miss Oliver and again shows no feelings when he actually feels strongly about Miss Oliver and he has learnt to suppress his emotions. Rochester often spoke to Jane with commanding language such as; “you must just stand to one side” he often apologizes about this but as it comes automatically to him to boss someone around this shows us he’s used to and must be of high class to boss people around but as he apologizes to Jane for it he must feel strongly and fondly about Jane.

Rochester’s language is also often impolite swell as being rudely commanding, its often abrupt this helps to put Jane at ease though and lets Jane feel that she doesn’t need to put on an act around him even though he is of higher class than her. Considering this though we also see that he is very passionate and can be very detailed for example when he was describing Celine to Jane he spoke of great passion and detail. This shows us Rochester is a passionate man. Rochester is portrayed as an honest man but he puts love before social values and think that love is more important then the law.

We see this when he wants to marry Jane even though he knows it’s against the law but he wants to go through with it because he loves Jane. This is a important value of Rochester and Bronte reveals it to agree with Jane’s values because Jane thinks that love is the most important thing, above anything else where as St John Rivers feels very differently about this and thinks god is more important and serving him is more important than love, we know this by when decides to on a missionary and has to conceal his feelings for Miss Oliver so he can serve for god.

Rochester is a very proud man and when he first meets Jane he tells her to stand back and tells her he doesn’t need her but by the end of the book he does need her. Rochester is also a committed man and puts other people before him. When the fire broke out at Thornfield he went back to save his wife because he’s considerate and would rather of saved her then of saved himself. This also shows us that Rochester is caring and unselfish. St John is a very strong Christian and throughout the book we no that he has very high morals and that he tries to do everything right and everything that god would want.

For example St John can be very blunt and gets straight to the point for example “formed for labour not for love”. In a way this is a good thing and could be seen as honesty but with St john we see it as a bad thing as he is rude to Jane and he’s talking about things like love, which Jane considers as very important and so we disagree with what he is saying making us disagree with St john and having an automatic slight dislike to him. St John is a determined character and is very ambitious yet he has no romantic passion and is very fundamentalist in terms of his strong believe in Christianity.

This changes his values from being persuaded by his heart to sticking to correct morals and Christianity, this is different to Rochester as Rochester puts love before his morals. We see he’s determined when he says “inexorable to death” by which he means nothing stops him. Bronte manages to get the reader to favor Rochester rather then St John Rivers but St John seems to be the man with all the correct morals and Rochester has done wrong against Jane yet we still prefer Rochester. Charlotte Bronte manages to do this by using the way they both propose to St John.

When Rochester proposes to Jane we see that he really loves her and that he has respect for her, even though he sometimes uses commanding language towards her, he always apologizes and realizes he is wrong for talking to her like that. This makes us like Rochester as it seems as though he treats Jane nicely. he’s very warm towards Jane and we approve of him because he’s a loving passionate man especially towards Jane, this is the complete opposite to St john as he is emotionless and doesn’t respect Jane very much and he always acts a though he’s better then Jane , unlike Rochester who thinks Jane is his equal.

Bronte uses this to make us favor Rochester over St John. Rochester proposes to Jane purely for love and the chemistry between Jane and Rochester we see as very strong and when Rochester proposes to Jane it seems perfect, there outside in a beautiful setting and is very romantic, this gets the readers approval of Jane and Rochester because we feel that they are extremely in love and that its romantic and passionate.

We disapprove of St John and Jane’s relationship because although we now that St John have very high morals, he doesn’t seem to respect Jane and the marriage is purely for his convenience not for love. St John tries to bully Jane into marrying him and his proposal is completely un romantic and unemotional. The setting is outside and is beautiful moorland which would be romantic but the way St john proposes, without emotion, cold blunt and commanding it makes it seem cold and dull and not a beautiful setting, because of all this we disapprove of St johns proposal as it isn’t about love its for him as a missionary.

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