Jane Eyre


Chapter 16 to Chapter 20

Chapter 16

Jane’s desire to see Mr. Rochester is even stronger the next morning, but so too is her fear of seeing him. She is afraid to see him because she realizes that her attachment to him is growing exponentially and may quite possibly put her in an outlandish and detrimental situation.

She begins the day by going to Mr. Rochester’s room, where the maids are cleaning up. Grace Poole is there, and Jane tries to examine her to see if she can come to a better understanding of the woman and determine if she is truly behind the attempted murder. Grace is very cool under questioning and even appears to cross-examine Jane. Jane does not know what to think of Grace’s demeanor, how she can be so self-possessed and yet so demonic at the same time. All that is certain is that Jane does not trust the woman.

Jane also observes that Grace carries her meals upstairs as though she had to eat them in isolation. There is a strange affair surrounding Grace, and Jane cannot get to the bottom of this mystery. She also cannot understand why Mr. Rochester, who all but admitted that Grace was responsible for the fire, should keep her on his staff and, in fact, act as though nothing had happened. Grace is not so young and attractive as to have seduced Rochester.

Jane still hopes to see Mr. Rochester, but she is told by Mrs. Fairfax that Mr. Rochester has gone to see Lees on the other side of Millcote and will likely be gone a fortnight. Jane experiences a twinge of jealousy as she learns that there is one lady at the Lees, Miss Blanche Ingram, who is very beautiful and likely to be admired by Mr. Rochester.

Jane now rebukes herself for having thought that Mr. Rochester might admire her when she is plain and of a lower class. She decides to do a self-portrait and a portrait of Blanche, as described to her by Mrs. Fairfax. These two portraits she believes will be a reminder to her of her place and the fact that there can be no reason to think that Rochester would ever love her over such a one as...

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