Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Quick Note on Jane Eyre: The Platypus Reads Part CLXXXI
My wife and I noticed while watching a BBC production of Jane Eyre from the 1970s that Rochester consistantly calls Miss Ingram "Dona Biancha." Now, this makes sense since her name is Blanche and the French "blanche" in English is "white." So transposed into Italian we get "Dona Biancha" or "Lady White." However, in English folklore a "white lady:" is a common ghost in old castles or mansions. Thornfield does in fact boast a "white lady," though Mrs. Fairfax tells Jane that she's never heard of the house being haunted. That "white lady" is the very tangible Bertha Mason. This point highlights a close resemblance between Blanche and Bertha. Both are haughty, imperious, locally renowned for their beauty, olive-skinned, and drawn to Rochester. We might say that in choosing Blanche to make Jane jealous, Rochester is also acting out for her a rejection of his first wife as she was in her prime. It seems to be his twisted way of saying (to himself? to her a year after their wedding?) that even were his wife sane and still a beauty, he would infinitly prefer Jane to her.