The Accents of Persuasion. Charlotte Brontës Novels

"Equal we are" - Jane Eyre Versus the Victorian Woman
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But Percy evidently can. His manners double those of St. John who speaks frostily and formally to his cousin in Jane Eyre while possibly secreting deeper feelings for her. Finally, when Percy deems the opportunity right to make his move on Elizabeth, he takes his dog Carlo Rivers also has a dog named Carlo and seeks her out where he knows she takes her regular walk. Affecting to meet her by chance in the field where she is strolling, Percy nonchalantly accompanies her under the risible pretense of guarding her safety:. One wonders if the memory of the exquisite Rosamond Oliver lies dead in a similar way at the feet of St.

John Rivers when he escorts Jane down the Marsh Glen road in the third volume of Jane Eyre and expresses his inclination to become her husband.

In his rendezvous with Elizabeth, Percy declares himself to her in such a way that may actually reveal what St. John Rivers really feels for Jane Eyre. Percy confides,. It never was my habit to impart my thoughts much, especially those that gave me the most pleasure, so I wanted no companion. I used to wish for some existence with finer feelings and a warmer heart than what I saw round me.

I had a kind of idea that I could be a very impassioned lover — if I met with a woman who was young and elegant and had a mind above the grade of an animal. Here, Percy admits that chilly as his airs have no doubt appeared to her to be, Elizabeth may just the type of woman to thaw his icy reserve. Though tempted to become his mistress with such a heartfelt admission of his passion, Elizabeth disciplines her own mutinous ardency for Percy and wrenches herself away from this married man, just as Jane Eyre will later do to Rochester. Indeed, while plenty of characters in the novel pursue marriage to better their social position or other pragmatic reasons, St.

John Rivers is, I would submit, not one of them.

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He is, however, much better and more interested in than other characters at cloaking his real motives, reframing his missionary ambitions as a humble wish to serve Christ and transmuting his desire for a companionate marriage with Jane into pedestrian offers of employment. John does not burn with love for the elegant Rosamond Oliver despite her unfitness to accompany him as a missionary to India so much as he loves Jane precisely because of her ability to do so, as well as the other interests she shares with him. During his otherwise repellent marriage proposal, St.

The barrier to the St. John Rivers-Jane Eyre courtship is not his lack of love for her but, rather, her want of feelings for him. While convenient for St.

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First published in , Robert Bernard Martin's The Accents of Persuasion is a consummate critical study of Charlotte Bront 's four novels: The Professor, Jane . The Accents of Persuasion; Charlotte Bronte's Novels [Robert Bernard MARTIN] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.

And while she may scorn his idea of love, St. John has made his own mark on the history of the romance genre as well — as ancestor of that dubious army of false heroes who form at least part of the external barrier between heroine and true hero in many current works of popular romantic fiction. In this way, St. Alexander, Christine. Barlow, Linda, and Jayne Ann Krentz.

Beer, Frances, editor. Penguin, Jane Eyre. Edited by Deborah Lutz. Norton Critical Editions, 4 th ed. Clair, Daphne. Cohn, Jan. Duke UP, Corbett, Mary Jean. Cornell UP, Dupras, Joseph A.

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Eliot, Simon. John Rivers? Franklin, J. Frith, Gill. Gettelman, Debra. Gilbert, Sandra M, and Susan Gubar. Hoeveler, Diane Long. Imlay, Elizabeth. Harvester, Johnson, Patricia E. Martin, Robert Bernard.

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Ramsdell, Kristin. Romance Fiction: A Guide to the Genre. Smith, Margaret, editor. InteLex, Journal of Popular Romance Studies. About the Journal Issues Issue 1. Marble Under a Strange Spell: St.

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Henry Nussey: The Inspiration for St. John Rivers The Rev. In a message to Ellen dated 12 March , Charlotte confesses candidly, Moreover I was aware that Henry knew so little of me he could hardly be conscious to whom he was writing — why it would startle him to see me in my natural home-character he would think I was a wild, romantic enthusiast indeed — I could not sit all day long making a grave face before my husband — I would laugh and satirize and say whatever came into my head first. Although Charlotte tells him in a letter dated 11 January that she would enjoy receiving some of his lines, he should not expect her to reciprocate the favor: I shall be glad to receive the poetry which you offer to send me — you ask me to return the gift in kind — How do you know that I have it in my power to comply with that request?

Diana confesses, That brother of mine cherishes peculiar views of some sort respecting you, I am sure: he has long distinguished you by a notice and interest he never showed to any one else — to what end? John professes a contempt for sentiment, giving the reader a good indication of the kind of wall he has built around his heart where fragile emotions are concerned: Reason, and not Feeling, is my guide: my ambition is unlimited; my desire to rise higher, to do more than others, insatiable.

John spiritually and in every other way: It is strange. A close reading of his response to her request that he become her figurative brother conveys an oddly frustrated understatement of his feelings for her: I think I can. John has gone back on his word: He had not kept his promise of treating me like his sisters; he continually made little chilling differences between us, which did not at all tend to the development of cordiality: in short, now that I was acknowledged his kinswoman, and lived under the same roof with him, I felt the distance between us to be far greater than when he had known me only as the village schoolmistress.

John repeats his sophistical claim that doing so would be an insult to propriety: [End Page 14] I before proved to you the absurdity of a single woman of your age proposing to accompany abroad a single man of mine.

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John Up until this point in this project, I have analyzed St. Percy confides, It never was my habit to impart my thoughts much, especially those that gave me the most pleasure, so I wanted no companion. Austen, Jane. Barker, Juliet. Blom, Margaret. Twayne, Bock, Carol. U of Iowa P, David, Deirdre. Fraser, Rebecca.

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Gordon, Lyndall. Norton, Halperin, John. Egoism and Self-Discovery in the Victorian Novel. Burt Franklin, Maynard, John. Cambridge UP, Moglen, Helene. U of Wisconsin P, Nussey, Henry. MS Egerton A. Boston Spa: British Library, Raymond, Ernest. Rich and Cowan, Regis, Pamela. A Natural History of the Romance Novel.