Jane Eyre


Charlotte Brontë

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Jane Eyre: Chapter 13 Summary & Analysis

The next evening, Jane and Adèle join Rochester for tea. Rochester seems distant and moody, and speaks in commands, sometimes impolitely. They talk of Adèle's progress and Jane's personal history.
Rochester's language and manner identify him as a man accustomed to having power.
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When he learns that Jane can draw, Rochester is intrigued and asks to see her work. Jane's pictures show sublime and desolate scenes, including a drowning on a bleak ocean, storm clouds behind a young woman's luminous face, and a cloaked grim reaper near arctic icebergs. The viewing wraps up the evening.
The pictures are all characteristic of a Romantic interest in the visionary and the sublime. They also suggest the isolation and turmoil of Jane's mind. The coming storm image forecasts the emotional turmoil ahead.
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Jane mentions to Mrs. Fairfax that she finds Rochester unpleasantly abrupt. Mrs. Fairfax explains that Rochester has a difficult personality because of his troubled past. He inherited Thornfield from his older brother nine years earlier. Before that, their father had given his entire estate to Rochester's older brother, but had wanted to set up Rochester (who's fist name is Edward) to be wealthy too, and arranged some scheme that didn't work out and continues to be problematic and painful. Mrs. Fairfax is evasive about the scheme and the matter remains a mystery.
Rochester is a product of class rules. When Jane Eyre was written, the first-born son of wealthy families usually inherited everything, while other children were set up to be rich through specific careers or lucrative marriages. Later in the novel, Jane goes against this tradition by sharing her inheritance equally with her cousins.
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