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Thread: Rape in Jane Eyre?

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    Rape in Jane Eyre?

    In the chapter 27 of "Jane Eyre" more specifically in this book passage:

    "Jane! will you hear reason?" (he stooped and approached his lips to my ear) "because, if you won't, I'll try violence." His voice was hoarse; his look that of a man who is just about to burst an insufferable bond and plunge headlong into wild license (p. 307).

    Is Mr Rochester insinuating that he would rape her?

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    the beloved: Gladys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Demoiselle D'ys View Post
    "Jane! will you hear reason?" (he stooped and approached his lips to my ear) "because, if you won't, I'll try violence." His voice was hoarse; his look that of a man who is just about to burst an insufferable bond and plunge headlong into wild license (p. 307).
    Having just reread the passage, I think rape an unlikely interpretation because the issue at hand is integrity, honesty and love rather than sensual or sexual attraction. Since Rochester wishes to demonstrate his enduring love for Jane, rape would hardly serve his purpose. The wild license he entertains is probably some forceful show of deep affection: physical and romantic but not sexual.
    "Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself"

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    I always saw that as an empty threat. I’m an English major, and I’ve examined that passage, but I don’t think “violence” or “reason” necessarily insinuates rape. It could insinuate any sort of physical violence. Maybe, Jane considered the possibility, but I don’t think Rochester insinuated rape or sexual violence. He’s not exactly in a healthy or rational mindset at the time, far from it, Jane has a right to be afraid and to leave, but I don’t think rape was the insinuation he was making there because he also says in the same passage that he knows he could hurt her, but it would do nothing to make her stay and only drive her further away.

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    the beloved: Gladys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AliceKettle View Post
    ...Jane has a right to be afraid and to leave...
    Doesn't Jane leave because, she learns, Rochester is married?
    "Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Demoiselle D'ys View Post
    In the chapter 27 of "Jane Eyre" more specifically in this book passage:

    "Jane! will you hear reason?" (he stooped and approached his lips to my ear) "because, if you won't, I'll try violence." His voice was hoarse; his look that of a man who is just about to burst an insufferable bond and plunge headlong into wild license (p. 307).

    Is Mr Rochester insinuating that he would rape her?
    The one thing that one can say with certainty, is that he is threatening Jane. Today this could probably be called harassment, but I don´t know about Victorian England.
    In the scene,anyway, Mr Rochester doesn´t go any further, because Jane knows how to handle the situation. One of the reasons he loves Jane so much is that he has found his psychological match. If I remember rightly, Jane is more afraid of her own feelings than of his violence.
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

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