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Thread: comment's please?

  1. #1
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    comment's please?

    i've managed to string together my coursework. (a text transformation- taking Helen Burns' character, and writing a monologue from her point of view, as she witnesses Jane's life from heaven).

    I am seriously lacking in creative skills, and find writing fiction incredibly difficult. If anyone would mind just reading over this, tell me where i'm going drastically wrong, i would be so appreciative.
    I have really struggled witht this coursework, and can see this piece is currently not too great, but would really value some comments as to what i can do.
    I know it's cutting short so many of Jane's important milestones, and missing some out altogether, but i have a ridiculous word limit.
    Thanks in advance.

    She is a different girl than the one I left, different to the child who cradled me as I died.
    “Love your enemies; bless them that curse you; do good to them that hate you and despitefully use you.” I sincerely hoped Jane would remember this always. Jane. My dear Jane. So young, so wild, so fiery. Yet willing to listen, to understand. She would miss me, of that I was sure, just as I would miss her companionship. I am here, ____, and yet I fear for Jane’s loneliness. Oh! I know that our Father will care for her and keep her from harm! Yet I worry she despises her solitude.
    It was my turn, that was how He wished it, and how it had to be. I was happy to be here, in the arms of my Father, my Saviour, and yet, somehow I yearned for Jane’s company. It deeply saddened me that it would be many years until we could converse again, but the joy I felt when she would succeed, and mature, was unparalleled.
    The month of May brought with it the disease. Oh I was not the only one, and I am accompanied here by many of my schoolmates. (?) I see Jane grieve, less now than then, and it saddens me. I am at peace now; I am free finally of the frightful coughing. I no longer feel inanis. I died comfortably, slumbered in her arms.
    I watch as she proceeds with her days, retaining her composure, growing more by day. I see the kindness in her heart, and am confident in her character.
    The day she left Lowood to begin the journey to Thornfield, was the day it begun. I had known Jane was safe at Lowood, and drifted away, but on that day, I felt her call out to me, and knew I must protect her, and be her companion.
    I witnessed as she bade farewell to Bessie, a new fire of hope alight in her heart. I must confess, i could not understand her need to go to Thornfield, but i knew God was placing her there for a reason.
    On Jane’s arrival at Thornfield, I was greatly pleased to see that no kinder temperament than that of Mrs. Fairfax would be easily found, and in such a respectable hall! I was greatly pleased, but as time bore on, a feeling of dread would settle itself in my stomach, irremovable, though I could see no pending disaster. Despite, Grace Poole, Thornfield was a comfortable place, and Jane was content with her chamber. Jane was soon comfortable at Thornfield, and settled herself into a steady routine. But I perceived Jane wished for more, for fire, for excitement.
    Her excitement began on a cold morn in January. After a pleasant walk to –shire, i saw Jane quite startled by the clattering tumble of a man and his horse ___ to the ground. Her compassion shone through to this injured stranger, who quizzed her on her place of residence. Little did my dear Jane understand that this was indeed Mr Rochester himself! And she was to have many further acquaintances with the gentlemen during her stay at Thornfield.
    Mr Rochester frequently requested Jane’s company, and found himself unable to prevent himself bearing his secrets to her. Soon they became great friends, and i watched them both as they would anticipate their meetings. No longer did each find the other plain, but cheering. It took little time, 8 weeks to be precise, for love to bloom, though, of course, hidden by both parties. I had never understood the need for human love and compassion, and had always found that God provided me with all I needed, but witnessing these feelings mature, I did understand.
    The night it occurred to me what was unsettling me, was the night Mr Rochester’s life was saved, by Jane herself. That same demonic laugh that often echoed Thornfeilds halls, was __. Expecting to see Grace Poole, I was surprised, as the OWNER? of the fiendish laugh, was not Grace Poole, but a dark wild haired woman. Horror struck me as I witnessed this madwoman take a candle to mr Rochesters room, and alight it. I urged Jane, who was AWAKE, to help the poor man, but my efforts were futile. She was not aware of my pleads, but still her curiosity TOOK CONTROL, and as soon as she left her chamber, was aware of the strong stench of burning. Discarding all her thoughts she hastily attempted to rouse Mr Rochester, as his chamber blazed around him.
    After this event, Mr Rochester had a new respect for Jane, it was true, and he found it difficult to depart from Jane. Calm Jane, who would never allow her manner to become unchecked, but inside, was burning with a million questions.
    Even Jane could not comprehend her emotions, could not realise she was falling in love, for she hid, nay, denied her feelings their freedom, but she did note the disappointment she felt when it was revealed he would be away for some days, in the company of a lady named Blanche Ingram, rumoured to be beyond beauty. Jane strongly scolded herself for her disappointment, and I yearned for her to know that Rochester could not see Miss Ingram’s beauty, for it was Jane he wanted. Rumours reached her of his intent to travel to Europe for over a year, and her levels of dismay were difficult for even Jane to hide. However soon after, Mr Rochester did indeed return to Thornfield, bringing with him many elegant guests, who, whilst beautiful in person, were less attractive in character. Cruel words were spoken towards Jane, and though she would not express her hurt, I could see the words struck her. This hurt was furthered when she learnt of plans for Mr Rochester and Miss Ingram to be wedded. I longed to console her, as I knew these plans bore little truth. There had been talk, it was true, but Rochester knew of his love for Jane, and could not bring himself to enter a marriage, solely for social standing.
    Rochester was presently called away on business, and the arrival of a Mr Mason during his absence unsettled Jane indeed. On his return, Rochester seemed to mimic Jane’s discomfort when he learnt of Mason’s arrival.
    Soon, my dear Jane received a letter bearing ___ news. Mrs Reed, the aunt who had scorned her so many years ago, lay on her deathbed. Of course, Jane had to return to see her, and I feared that the anger and the hate she had expressed to me, all those years ago, may still exist, and reveal themselves. But I was wrong. Jane composed herself, and found forgiveness in her heart. Her efforts to reconcile with Mrs Reed were futile, as Mrs Reed still expressed certain hostility towards Jane. However Jane was presented with a letter, dated 3 years back, from a Mr John Eyre, an uncle, who intended to bestow his fortune to Jane.
    Jane was away from Thornfield for a month, and it grieved Mr. Rochester to be away from her. Upon her return he quizzed her as to her taking a month leave, when he allowed her only one, but could not remain upset at her for long. It pleased Jane that plans for mr Rochester’s wedding seemed dormant, and allowed herself to hope the match had been called off. Of course, Rochester had quelled any plans, he could not lie to himself any more. He requested Jane’s presence more frequently, his demeanour significantly improved.
    It was a warm evening, when Jane and Mr Rochester conversed in the gardens. Oh! He is a kind gentleman indeed, but oh so wicked also! For he convinced Jane that he was indeed marrying Miss Ingram, only to evoke the response he required. For she wept when she learned she was to be parted from him. Her love she confessed and he confessed it back. Rochester offered her his hand, his wealth. I felt uneasy witnessing this scene, as though, it was too intimate for any other’s eyes. I revelled in joy for my Jane, but once again, I felt the unexplained dread in my pit of my stomach.
    The month of planning soon passed, and Jane’s wedding day drew nearer. On one frightful night, I heard the demonic laughter once more. The mad woman again, she entered my Jane’s chamber, and I feared, I feared that she would attempt the same as she had with Mr Rochester, those months back. The wild girl retrieved Miss Jane’s veil from her ___ and tore it

    Just a note, the random ____ is where i cannot think of the correct word to use at the moment, but am working on it.
    Pain is only temporary, quitting lasts forever.

  2. #2
    answers rhetorical ?'s
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    Having never read the book, there are only a few small things I see, the main one being an overuse of commas. It chops the piece up and gives it kind of a rough, uncollected feeling. I would recommend going back through and eliminating a few of them. Also, instead of saying 'Jane' every single time you want to refer to her, use other words. That's a crappy way of putting it, so here's an example:

    "Jane went to Thornfield and Jane settled into a routine life. Jane helped a man who fell off a horse."
    It's a poor example, but it gets the point across. I for the life of me can't remember my terms, but try not to use her name so often. That's all the advice I have. My suggestions might not fit with the form of the text, but it's at least a place to start.
    Not a bad start!

  3. #3
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    Dec 2009
    Thanks very much! i'll bear that in mind
    Pain is only temporary, quitting lasts forever.

  4. #4
    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    Like Skib, I would agree that the amount of 'Janes' has to be smaller. No need to say it in every sentence. Go over the text again and see where it is too much. Reading aloud is a good trick for that.

    Then I have a few more detailed remarks:

    "It deeply saddened me that it would be many years until we could converse again"

    Don't forget that Helen is in heaven where time is of no consequence. A year is the amount of time it takes for the earth to turn round its axe (in theory at least). Heaven is not part of this planet, so the notion 'year' has no significance for Helen anymore. She lives eternally, always in the same place. I would substitute that 'many years' with 'long' or so. That also has a connotation of time, but not as blatant as 'many years'. Although you could argue that she has just died and that she still has that reference of time in her, which she will lose afterwards as she goes on living in heaven without time, she is still telling the story about 11 years after everything in Thornfield happened. So in the meantime, she must have lost all notions of time as such.

    'I am accompanied here by many of my schoolmates'

    I would opt for a less modern word like 'fellow students' or something. Maybe a thesaurus can offer sollace.

    "[...] a cold morn. After a pleasant walk to –shire"

    Jane did not meet Rochester in the morning, but in the evening. Probably at about 5 or 6 or so. She walks to the post office for Mrs Fairfax on a misty day and the moon is rising. As she is going on the causeway to Hay, she meets this man who falls from his horse in quite a spectacular manner and he tells her to hurry up and get home again. Maybe she even met him earlier like 4 o'clock or so. It depends when little post offices like the one in Hay (a little hamlet) closed for the night. At any rate it cannot have been after six as Mr Rochester preferred to keep dinner and sleep early. To be really sure you'd have to look up the rising and setting of the sun in January in the 1830s in Yorkshire (on the US Maritime Service f.e.).

    Walking 'to' (York)shire would be coming from another county, which Jane is not. You could say 'a pleasant walk in -shire' or better 'a pleasant walk to Hay' as Hay is the hamlet she is going to. It is down the hill from Thornfield and can only have taken a half-hour walk. It cannot have been Millcote, because that was too far as John came to get her with the carriage in the beginning.

    "bearing ___ news"

    This could be 'ill' news.

    "to bestow his fortune to Jane"

    It is 'to bestow on'.

    I have to confess, in certain instances, there are too many commas, but normally there should be a comma everywhere where a new clause starts that is not essential to the main clause. So, there are a few too many, but your text should still be readable.

    Compare this:

    The student who sat on the stairs...
    The student, who sat on the stairs,...

    There is a difference in meaning. Think about it and then take commas away in function of this. Do not take all away, because then the meaning of the sentence is ambiguous.

    "in my pit of my stomach"

    I would opt for 'in the pit of my stomach', but is this not a little strange? Helen essentially is a soul, not a human being (as the Last Judgment has not passed yet she is not reunited with her body that was burried), so she cannot have a stomach.

    An additional remark from me:

    It seems that Helen is aware of the growing feelings of both Jane and Rochester. Naturally, as she can witness all, being in heaven and overlooking all. However, how come she does not know anything about Bertha? She feels her presence (which induces her to fear unexplainably), but she does not know why. How come that she is 'all-knowing' when it comes to the feelings of Rochester (even seeing through his plan of courting Ingram to make Jane jealous), but not being all-knowing when it comes to Rochester being married already? After all, she can have possible contact with Mason's father and mother who have probably died by now and are with Helen in heaven. Surely if they are concerned with their daughter and son, Helen can have met them when Jane is at Thornfield. Only, of course, if we believe that the spirits of our loved ones keep watch over us (and that is what you imply).

    Would it not be better to display the darker side of Rochester from the beginning and to imply that Helen put a certain fear, or hint of fear, into Jane's heart? That is the only thing Helen can do to warn Jane. Not that it prevents the latter from agreeing to a marriage. The darker side of Rochester is not necessarily lying and cheating. We, certainly modern readers, can understand that the man looks for love and finds it. Sadly, he is burdened with a wife whom he has nothing of. We can understand that he wants heirs; we can understand that he wants companionship; we can understand that he wants affection from another on whom he can bestow it also. What he does with his mad wife is another matter. But it is quite normal that he, as a human being, wants love. However, how would Helen see it if she knew that Jane was falling for him and that he was actually luring her into a bigamous marriage (something he would go to prison for)? How does Jane feel when she finds out that her trust has been betrayed?

    What about having her wonder about Bertha and finding out (from Bertha's dead relatives) when Mason turns up at Thornfield, that Bertha is in fact Rochester's dead wife? It would explain the faint unsettling feeling Jane has as the month of courtship draws on.

    It is only an idea though...

    But overall you did very well. I had t do this once and I was absolute crap at it.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

  5. #5
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    thank you SO much.
    that must have taken a fair amount of time to do, and i really REALLY appreciate it.

    i plan to do another draft over christmas, and i'll try pay particular close attention to what you said.

    thank you again!
    Pain is only temporary, quitting lasts forever.

  6. #6
    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    Saarburg, Germany
    I found your writing style good. That voice of Helen really came through, so it is better than anything I could have attempted!

    If you were looking for the place where Bertha got the veil, it was the dressing table. If you write it with a hyphen, it'll look as one word .
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

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