Presentation of Rochester
Core Text: Jayne Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Partner Text: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Discuss and analyse the presentation of Rochester’s character in Charlotte Brontë’s ‘Jane Eyre’ with wider reference to how Rochester is presented in Jean Rhys’ ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’.
Mr Rochester is presented in many different ways throughout the novels written by Charlotte Brontë who originally created Rochester’s character and Jean Rhys’ novel that used Brontë’s ‘Rochester’ to explore the back-story of Bertha who was locked up in the attic of Thornfield Hall in Jane Eyre.
* Both Jane Eyre and the reader meet Edward Rochester for the first time when Jane sees Rochester fall off his horse. At first Rochester comes across to the reader as ignorant and arrogant, “I think he was swearing, but I am not certain; However he was pronouncing some formula which prevented him from relying to me directly. Rochester at this point has some physical reliance on Jane as he has sprained his ankle and is unable to fetch and mount his horse “’I cannot commission you to fetch help,’ he said, ‘but you may help me a little yourself, if you will be so kind’”. Rochester also has to lean on Jane in order to take the weight off his ankle. This shows unusual physical reliance between men and women in light of the time; it was men who were seen as the strong reliable sex, not the woman, as seen here. This could also be seen as a foreshadowing for later on in the novel where the traditional male and female roles switch with the two characters, “For I was his vision, as I am still his right hand”, Rochester once again; like earlier in the novel, physically relies on Jane.
The unfamiliar setting and people in ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’ leads Rochester to disempowerment. He almost takes the woman’s role in marriage. “Everything is too much, I felt as I rode wearily after her. Too much blue, too much purple, too much green. The flowers too red, the...