Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Thoughts: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte / Was Mr. Rochester handsome?
I finished rereading Jane Eyre weeks ago, but I still haven’t written my thoughts down properly. Of course, I still love the book, but I want my post to bring something new to the table. Then, I became bored, and read the back summary of copy of Jane Eyre. My big Eureka came next. This is the book back blurb of my 1962 Scholastic edition of Jane Eyre:
A dark deception stands between the shy, plain governess and her handsome, moody employer. Even Jane’s passionate love cannot erase her fear: What is the strange, crazed laughter she hears in the night? What forbidden secret is Mr. Rochester concealing from her—and the world?
The summary, as a whole, is okay, but there’s one description that irks the hell out of me. Handsome. I don’t know why they put that there, but Mr. Rochester is definitely NOT handsome. Jane actually describes him as quite ugly, and, correct me with I’m wrong, not that tall.
Mr. Darcy is wonderful, but I don’t think every romantic hero in history has to be breathtakingly handsome. Jane isn’t initially attracted to Mr. Rochester, because, let’s face it, he’s not that attractive. Things changed, though, once she got to know him. Even if he’s slightly neurotic, Mr. Rochester was passionate and truly cared about Jane, and maybe that’s why she fell for him. Take a look at this quote:
And was Mr. Rochester now ugly in my eyes? No, reader: gratitude, and many associations, all pleasurable and genial, made his face the object I best liked to see; his presence in a room was more cheering than the brightest fire.
See? Not ugly anymore, but definitely not handsome. I don’t know. I guess I was just bothered by the utter misrepresentation of Mr. Rochester. His deficiencies in the look department is what makes him unique as a romantic hero, the same way Heathcliff is known for his almost obsessive love for Cathy.
What do you think, though? Was Mr. Rochester ugly, handsome, or just unappealing?