Author Archives: swu7

The Moonstone and the Moon

Hark! What is that light?
‘Tis the moon, come out at last
Bright, shimmering white

Seeking out others
She softly enters a home,
Pauses on a girl

What is she holding?
The moon shines closely on her
Could it really be?

That what this girl holds
Can shimmer more than the Moon?
She does not like that

Closer, she gazes
Its radiance is blinding
All eyes fixed on it

At last, the house rests
The Moon sees the bright white thing
Penetrating still

The Moon shines brighter
As she fills with deep envy
It, shine more than she?

Hark! What is that sound?
‘Tis someone snooping around
The Moon looks closely

A day passes by
And the Moon rises again
Bright and curious

All is in chaos
All is upset, but the Moon?
She only smiles.

I wanted to try to get in touch with my creative side for this post and came up with a set of haikus; it was so hard to do! This poem is about the theft of the Moonstone from the Moon’s perspective.

Attempts at Control in Jane Eyre

Sally Shuttleworth’s essay explores the prevalence of phrenology in Jane Eyre and what this prevalence suggests. She poses the question of the implication of phrenology regarding gender. The parts of Shuttleworth’s essay that I want to focus on are: relationship between Jane and Rochester and the encouragement of men to subjugate their lower propensities. Both of these lens have something in common: the faculty of control.

During Jane and Rochester’s courtship, the two characters constantly bantered back and forth. There is an attempt at control (through both physical action and language) that is prevalent throughout the novel. This struggle is especially prevalent even before Jane realizes that she has feelings for Rochester. During one of Jane and Rochester’s discussions, the latter has Jane move herself to suit him: “Miss Eyre, draw your chair still a little further forward… I cannot see you without disturbing my position in this comfortable chair, which I have no mind to do” (149). Both Jane and Rochester attempt to read each other without revealing anything about themselves, as when Rochester asks Jane many questions regarding his handsomeness (or lack of), and as when Jane refuses to speak because she believes that Rochester has expected her to speak “for the mere sake of talking and showing off” (152). Shuttleworth states that Rochester’s ultimate grasp at control is attempting to marry Jane when he already has an insane wife. Rochester could never get a read on Jane until he revealed his intentions to her, and the fact that he revealed his feelings puts Jane in a position of power. However, Jane does return to Thornsfield because Rochester has control of her heart. So, who has the control – Jane or Rochester?

Shuttleworth states that during Victorian times, men were encouraged to “subjugate their lower animal propensities to the control of their higher sentiments and intellectual faculties” (129). In the first chapter of volume III, Rochester explains his deceit to Jane. As Rochester realizes that he and Jane are not seeing eye to eye, he grows increasingly irritated. He even states, “Jane! will you hear reason?…. because, if you won’t, I’ll try violence” (340). There is something very animalistic in Rochester’s nature, something that he is struggling to control, and something that Jane also tries to repress by speaking to him soothingly. However, Rochester is unable to establish control because in the end of the scene, he states, “But Jane will give me her love: yes – nobly, generously” (358). The narrator writes of how blood rushed to Rochester’s face, and “forth flashed the fire from his eyes” as he sprang at Jane (358). This passage is an example of Rochester’s failure to be in control of his animal propensities and act, instead, using his higher, intellectual faculties.

I believe this example shows that there is a possible gender confliction at play here, but it involves me relating events in the novel after chapter 35, and I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t read it yet. But don’t worry, I’ll return to my point when everyone’s finished the book!

Emma

Emma

There is a girl so handsome and well off
Her name is known throughout society
Her wit you’d never ever deign to scoff
No one possesses such a will as she

Of marriage, she would never think to do
Her independent nature is her forte
But people, Emma tends to misconstrue
Of love, a young girl’s mind she did distort

High class, is she, and much superior
Woodhouse, her name, with much authority
But prideful, she sees all inferior
She views herself as the priority

Her rival, Jane, is lovely and can sing
Is jealousy or envy here in play?
With disdain her words can’t help but ring
But sympathy, she can’t help but convey

Our girl is flawed, that much we clearly know
But she is full of opportunity
To truly learn from her mistakes and grow
Soon we’ll see just the person that she’ll be

 

Notes
L6: “forte” is a spondee (I think, because of the 2 heavy stresses), which makes the iamb a little awkward, so pretend it’s a silent “e” when reading
L7: “people” is not my way of addressing you, the reader, but a reference to the people in general that she misjudges
L10: “Woodhouse” is also a spondee, to emphasize the importance of her name and the class that it implies
L13: While we haven’t seen anyone outright call them rivals, there is certainly some sort of consciousness in Emma’s mind about the two of them as having some sort of rivalry
L15: “With dis[dain]” also spondee and not 10 syllables. I couldn’t make it work 🙁
L16:  “sympathy” is sympathy for Jane, as part of the sort of bipolar feelings that Emma holds towards her.

I tried my best to make the poem iambic pentameter. When thinking about what to write, I immediately thought of Emma’s character and the events that have happened in the novel so far based on her personality. In the beginning of the novel, I really didn’t like Emma, especially while reading her continuous attempt to bring Harriet and Mr. Elton together. I now realize that while Emma is definitely flawed, she does have some redeeming qualities, such as the fact that she actually cares for Harriet. I look forward to seeing how Emma’s character changes (or doesn’t change) in the end.