Fire fire fire!

In chapter 15, Rodchetser fulfills his promise to Jane and finally tells her about Adele’s mother. He goes on to reveal to Jane that Adele’s mother, a french singer and dancer, and himself had an affair several years previously. When he discovered that she was having relations with another man besides himself, he broke off the relationship he had with her. Several years later, when she abandoned her daughter Adele, claiming that it was his child, he took Adele in and raised her as his own. This new insight shocks Jane, and that night she lays awake considering all the information she has gained about Rodchester. As she lies in bed, she hears an eerie laugh coming from the hallway and the sound of fingers being dragged along the wall. After going out into the hall to investigate, she sees smoke coming from under Rodchester’s door. She races into his bedroom to find his curtains on fire. She douses the fire, ultimately saving Rodchester’s life. This is yet another example of how the relationship between Rodchester and Jane is more than that of a servant and a master, but that of two people who care about each other. Rodchester, oddly enough, is not upset about the encounter, rather states that he must take a trip to the third floor to take care of some business. When he returns, Jane asks if the mysterious Grace Poole is responsible for the fire and Rodchester confirms her suspicions.

When Jane awakes the next morning, she is shocked to learn that the near-disaster of last night comes to no surprise to the servants. They simply think that Mr. Rodchester had fallen asleep with a candle lit next to his curtains. Jane is infuriated, wondering why a woman who almost murdered the master of the house is allowed to continue to work in Thornfield. It is at this moment that Jane realizes that she has feelings for Rodchester. Unfortunately, he will be away for several days, for he is going to attend a party. Jane is even more upset to hear that he will be in the presence of the lovely Blanche Ingram. Jane then draws a portrait of Blanche, portraying her as a beautiful woman and comparing herself to Blanche’s loveliness, stating that she is much too plain to capture Rodchester’s eye. This is a continuation of the mindset that Jane was raised in: that she is inferior in every way to those of a higher class. It is clear that, although she has spent years away from the negative presence of her aunt, that the values and lessons that her aunt taught still reign over Jane in a negative way.


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