Imperialism, Reform and the Making of Englishness in Jane by S. Thomas

By S. Thomas

This new learn demonstrates the precision of Brontë's ancient environment of Jane Eyre . Thomas addresses the ancient worlding of Brontë and her characters, mapping kin of style and gender around the novel's articulation of questions of imperial heritage and relatives, reform, racialization and the making of Englishness.

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3) implies that his tropically acclimatized Creoleness is carried in his body or on his skin. Meyer glosses ‘singularly sallow’ as ‘yellow-skinned yet socially white’ (‘Colonialism’ 252), and this reading opens her argument that Bertha Mason may have been passing for white. Sallow complexion, regular (symmetrical), yet too relaxed features, and large eyes are, however, purported physical attributes of white Creole women, and Richard’s character conforms to a stock white Creole type: the life expressed in the eye is ‘tame, vacant’, unsettled in focus; the want of power, firmness, thought, and command implies indolence, unexercised faculties, 38 Imperialism, Reform, and Englishness in Jane Eyre and ‘aversion to serious thought and deep reflection’.

5). In the scenes of first aid and medical attention Richard’s voice murmurs (209, 212; vol. 2, ch. 5), is ‘faint’, and ‘shuddering’ (212; vol. 2, ch. 5), or is a groan (209; vol. 2, ch. 5). He utters a blasphemy in the church, crying ‘faintly’, and, in response to Rochester’s demands that he speak (‘what have you to say’), has to be prompted to greater articulateness by his solicitor, Mr Briggs, who urges him: ‘ “Courage speak out” ’ (290–1; vol. 2, ch. 11). He whispers in the scene in which Rochester displays Bertha, ‘We had better leave her’ (293; vol.

36 Jane’s assumption of the ‘Resolve’ of the ‘revolted slave instigated some strange expedient to achieve escape from insupportable oppression – as running away, or, if, that could not be effected, never eating or drinking more, and letting myself die’ (JE ( 14–15; vol. 1, ch. 2). These expedients were two of those adopted by West Indian slaves:37 three of the 1824 Hanover conspirators in Jamaica committed suicide and another attempted to do so. Jane marks out the foreignness of such means with the word ‘strange’ and, implicitly, acknowledges the criminality of suicide in a Christian state.

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