Jane Eyre

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Jane Eyre Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Jane arrives at Thornfield Hall at night, and therefore can't make out much more than the house's exterior splendor in the dark. She meets the kind old Mrs. Fairfax, who leads her through the cavernous house to a cozy and snug bedroom. To Jane's surprise, Mrs. Fairfax is not the owner of Thornfield but the head housekeeper. She learns from Mrs. Fairfax that Mr. Rochester owns the place but only shows up intermittently. Mrs. Fairfax describes Rochester as peculiar, well-traveled, and a good master.
With its dark splendor, mysterious and absent master, and suggestive name, Thornfield Hall has a Gothic feel to it. Jane, like Mrs. Fairfax, is a servant and dependent to the "master" of the house. These servants and dependents, it seems, will be her new "family."
Themes
Social Class and Social Rules Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
The Spiritual and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Jane meets her new pupil, the hyperactive French girl Adèle Varens, whose mother was a French singer and dancer and who is Rochester's ward. Later, Mrs. Fairfax leads Jane on a tour of the luxuriously furnished house. The third floor is packed with old furniture, odds and ends of the past. Jane considers it strange enough for a ghost to live in.
How and why Rochester has a ward deepens the mystery surrounding him. Did he have an affair, breaking social and religious ethics? The strange third floor adds Gothic flavor to Thornfield Hall.
Themes
Social Class and Social Rules Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
The Spiritual and the Supernatural Theme Icon
After they leave the third floor, strange laughter echoes above them, spooking Jane. Mrs. Fairfax blames the noise on Grace Poole, a servant and seamstress whom Mrs. Fairfax scolds and reminds to "remember directions."
Thornfield's supernatural qualities grow even more pronounced.
Themes
The Spiritual and the Supernatural Theme Icon