Jane Eyre, Or: The Bride of Edward ‘Crazypants’ Rochester
I was hoping to finish this Tuesday, but I didn’t manage it, I’m sorry! In the spirit of Christmas, I hope you can all forgive me, and celebrate a belated Gothic Tuesday with me.
For it’s time to rock Jane Eyre, Gothic Tuesday style.
JANE EYRE: I am but a poor orphan, being brought up by relatives in a Gothic manor. You know what that means.
AUDIENCE: Not really, no. Not so much.
JANE EYRE: My relatives are evil. No poor orphans are ever brought up by nice people. Specially not in Gothic manors. What do you take this novel for?
EVIL RELATIVES: Jane, Jane, where are you? We want to persecute you!
EVIL RELATIVES: We were thinking first we’d physically abuse you, and then we’d lock you in the Red Room.
JANE EYRE: BUT IT’S HAUNTED!!!
EVIL RELATIVES: Uh, yeah. This is a Gothic manor, hello.
JANE EYRE: Why are you persecuting me?
EVIL RELATIVES: We’re your evil relatives? Really, Jane, try to keep up.
JANE EYRE: …
EVIL RELATIVES: Also you’re not the least bit hot. We hate ugmos. We’re just really, really shallow. And evil. Also that.
JANE EYRE: … I shall have a fit. I mean this literally. Madness, red glare, black bars, death!
AUDIENCE: Things could look better for our heroine.
EVIL RELATIVES: Wake up, lazybones, you can’t lie around in a terror and blood-loss-induced coma all day! We’re sending you away.
JANE EYRE: Away… from the Gothic manor? That’s not usually how it goes.
EVIL RELATIVES: You’re going to a school. It’s another large house… in a dark valley… in a dark wood.
JANE EYRE: Sounds like a Gothic manor to me.
EVIL RELATIVES: Enjoy the change of venue in your persecution!
EVIL SCHOOL: Hi Jane. Psychological and physical torture?
JANE EYRE: God damn.
HELEN BURNS: Would you like to be friends? I love you, Jane, and I also love Jesus.
JANE EYRE: I’m getting a bad feeling about who’s going to be enjoying your company like, next week. I see Jesus’s name written all over your dance card.
HELEN BURNS: Nonsense. *coughs up blood* It’s just a touch of TB, I’ll be right as rain in no time!
JANE EYRE: You know what happens to people with hearts of gold. Hearts of gold really don’t transplant well. Besides, I’m a Gothic heroine, I’ve got to be lonely and persecuted for ages yet.
HELEN BURNS: Suck.
JANE EYRE: But hey. I’m like, twelve? We’ve got to wait until I’m grown up so I can meet my man, if you know what I mean.
HELEN BURNS: I don’t know what you mean, Jane. Unless you mean Jesus.
JANE EYRE: … Never mind. The point is, you could last years yet.
THE PLOT: Suddenly, typhus!
JANE EYRE: … Ah, spit.
HELEN BURNS: HERE LIES HELEN BURNS, DEAD OF NARRATIVE INEVITABILITY.
THE PLOT: Suddenly, time skip!
JANE EYRE: So evil school, now I’m a grown-up, I’m going to leave!
EVIL SCHOOL: Where will you go?
JANE EYRE: Literally anywhere else. Like, anywhere in the world. I mean, what are the chances my governess job will be at a third Gothic manor?
JANE EYRE: … Ah, spit.
THE PLOT: You know how people really like love triangles?
JANE EYRE: With HOUSES?
THORNFIELD HALL: Hiiii. I’m bachelor number three, tall, dark and brooding!
HOUSEKEEPER: Hello Miss Eyre, welcome to Gothic Manor No. 3! Let me introduce you to the kid you’re going to governess. Don’t worry, you won’t come to love her and protect her with your life. She’s not possessed or anything interesting. She’s just stupid and probably going to be immoral when she grows up.
JANE EYRE: Yo… Adele is eight.
HOUSEKEEPER: Yes, but you see, she’s French.
JANE EYRE: I can speak French.
HOUSEKEEPER: Awesome. Translate her heathen gibberings! All she does is babble nonsense morning noon and night! I really don’t think she’s very bright.
ADELE: Je suis francais!
JANE EYRE: She says she’s French.
HOUSEKEEPER: Well that’s nothing to boast about.
ADELE: My mom was a hooker.
JANE EYRE: …
HOUSEKEEPER: What’s she saying now?
JANE EYRE: … Basically heathen gibberings. Nothing to see here! Come Adele, let’s go learn the English for ‘X-nay on alking-tay about ookers-hay.’
HOUSEKEEPER: My, Miss Eyre, your French is marvellous!
JANE EYRE: I had a bad dream full of like, mad women screaming and laughing.
HOUSEKEEPER: That’ll be the eel pie we had last night. It gave me gas.
JANE EYRE: I don’t think that was it.
HOUSEKEEPER: Or the pipes.
JANE EYRE: Are you kidding me?
HOUSEKEEPER: Or the servants. Oh, that Grace! Drunk again!
GRACE POOLE: Whoopee! One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor!
JANE EYRE: … Okay, that seems plausible.
JANE EYRE: Just chillin’, having a nice walk in the dark woods, across the lonely moors, at dusk. I’m sure nothing’s going to happen, everything’s just atmospheric for no reason!
MR ROCHESTER: You made me fall off my horse! I THINK YOU’RE AN EVIL FAIRY.
JANE EYRE: Um, do you need a hand? Any bones broken?
MR ROCHESTER: Step aside, evil fairy! It’s just a sprai-aaaaaaaaaaurrrrggggggh. I’m totally fine.
JANE EYRE: You seem surly, and also sort of crazed.
JANE EYRE: And this is your lucky day, because that’s what gets me hot beneath the petticoat.
MR ROCHESTER: So, evil fairy, what’s your sign?
JANE EYRE: I’m not sure I understand.
MR ROCHESTER: Where y’at?
JANE EYRE: I reside in Thornfield Hall, sir.
MR ROCHESTER: Do you? Well, well, well. Everything’s coming up Edward Crazypants Fairfax Rochester today!
JANE EYRE: I’m going to go now.
MR ROCHESTER: See you soon, hot stuff. Er–have you been hearing any mad laughter from my, I mean the, attic? It’s probably dry rot. You know, dry rot mocking you.
HOUSEKEEPER: Let me introduce the master of the Gothic mansion, that cranky lunatic you met earlier!
JANE EYRE: Dammit, narrative inevitability, why you got to do me this way?
MR ROCHESTER: Hey foxy new employee. Hey.
JANE EYRE: Uh, so let’s talk about the child I’m teaching…
MR ROCHESTER: Jane, Jane, come now, the child isn’t important to the story! You’ve been teaching her for months: surely you’ve noticed that she’s French!
JANE EYRE: …
MR ROCHESTER: Come over here and show me your etchings, girl.
JANE EYRE: Uh, okay. Let me go get them.
MR ROCHESTER: Yeah, that’s right. You know what I like. Slip into something a little more comfort-oh.
JANE EYRE: This is a picture of a horsie! This is a picture of a hill!
MR ROCHESTER: Yeah. Yeah, awesome.
MR ROCHESTER: … Actually they are pretty good.
JANE EYRE: Does Mr Rochester, like, come here often?
HOUSEKEEPER: Actually he shuns it like he has a horrible, dark secret locked away in the attic or something. Weird, right?
MR ROCHESTER: Jane, Jane, Jane. Come sit by me. Let’s you and me converse. Guess what, Jane? I hate children. I hate old people. I hate housekeepers. And I hate the French.
HOUSEKEEPER AND ADELE: Dude! We’re right here.
MR ROCHESTER: Yes, that’s what I’m complaining about!
MR ROCHESTER: Do you think I’m sexy, Jane?
JANE EYRE: Whaaaaaaat?
MR ROCHESTER: Would you tap this ass?
JANE EYRE: Uh, we’ve only just met.
MR ROCHESTER: You warm for this form, baby?
JANE EYRE: Look, dude, you’re just not that hot!
MR ROCHESTER: That’s ridiculous–are you aware that in the latest movie version, I’m played by Michael Fassbender?
JANE EYRE: I’m going to go upstairs now.
MR ROCHESTER: Let me tell you about my tour of Hookerlandia!
JANE EYRE: Do you mean France? You mean France, don’t you.
MR ROCHESTER: That’s what I said. Hookerlandia. That’s where something happened to me. Do you know what it was, Jane?
JANE EYRE: Er… the syph?
MR ROCHESTER! No! Like almost definitely not. No, a longing came upon me for pure, gentle, beautiful, true, English love. With a girl who was like… English. That’s how I like them, Jane. Rule Britannia, babe.
ADELE: Hi I was thinking perhaps my governess and my father might want to spend a little time with m-
MR ROCHESTER: Well you thought wrong Adele! Get you gone so I can get me some!
JANE EYRE: …
MR ROCHESTER: Sorry, baby, where were we? The French are so pushy.
JANE EYRE: Holy crap Mr Rochester’s bed is on fire! Don’t worry my cranky little damsel in distress! I will save you!
MR ROCHESTER: Jane, I am saved! Hold me!
JANE EYRE: We’d better find out who the arsonist is.
MR ROCHESTER: Jane, Jane, Jane. Why does it always have to be about ‘who the arsonist is’ and ‘who’s laughing up in the attic’? Can’t we just LIVE, Jane? Can’t we just smile as our beds burn around us?
JANE EYRE: This is not responsible home ownership.
MR ROCHESTER: Okay, look. Probably… the pipes set fire to…
JANE EYRE: Maybe it was that drunk servant?
MR ROCHESTER: Yeah, no, that’s better. Let’s go with that.
JANE EYRE: We should fire her, dude.
MR ROCHESTER: Fire a servant for a little thing like being constantly drunk and setting fire to people’s beds? That’s not how we do things at Thornfield Hall.
JANE EYRE: Damn, son, I have got to get me into Grace Poole’s union.
MR ROCHESTER: Oh Jaaaane where are you going, when I am so scared and cold and lonely and cold, and my damp nightgown is clinging to me so fetchingly?
JANE EYRE: Sleep tight, buddy!
MR ROCHESTER: Jane, come back! WE CAN JUST CUDDLE!
MR ROCHESTER: Wooing my employee is for some reason not going totally smoothly! I wonder why that could be.
MR ROCHESTER: Let’s see, she’s obviously shy and has low self-esteem and has been physically and psychologically abused a bunch… the house is filled with mad laughter and screams because I’m keeping my crazy wife locked up in the attic, all the beds are on fire and I talk about hookers around the clock…
MR ROCHESTER: I’ve got it! This situation is not complicated enough.
MR ROCHESTER: What if I hatched an elaborate plot to make Jane JEALOUS? But that requires another lady. Okay, already got a crazy wife, now I have to get me a fake girlfriend…
MR ROCHESTER: I know, I’ll have a house party and invite a bunch of people to come hang out with me at Casa Death and Flames!
MR ROCHESTER: Edward Fairfax Crazypants Rochester, you are a GENIUS.
HOUSE PARTY: Whoo party in the Gothic manor! Let’s all play ‘Psychologically Torment the Governess!’
BLANCHE INGRAM: Boy, I love that game.
JANE EYRE: Boy, I hate that game.
MR ROCHESTER: Jane seems super upset! This is going super well: the people who advise silly things like ‘bring her candy and flowers, treat her right’ are so wrong! But I gotta step up my game. What do the chicks like? Oh right. Cross-dressing.
FOOTMAN: Uh… hi… house party. There’s a gipsy… lady, yep, totally a lady… in the other room who wants to tell people’s fortunes?
BLANCHE INGRAM: Oh great. The dude I’m trying to marry likes wearing bonnets and crinolines. I cannot believe this is happening to me again.
MR ROCHESTER: Hee hee! I am totally a gipsy lady! I can tell the future! That Edward Fairfax Crazypants Rochester, what a jerk, am I right? Whee! Hold my hand, Jane. Look into my eyyyyyes. Would you describe your employer as a hottie or a nottie?
JANE EYRE: This is the weirdest thing you have ever, ever done.
MR ROCHESTER: Baby, I’m just gettin’ started. *finger guns*
JANE EYRE: By the way, you have a new guest called Mr Mason waiting for you.
MR ROCHESTER: Ahhhhh all my crimes will be discovered and I didn’t even get to commit bigamy yet!
JANE EYRE: What?
MR ROCHESTER: Uh, nothing! Say, let me go see this Mason dude.
JANE EYRE: Maybe take off your bonnet first…? Just a suggestion.
HOUSE PARTY: We all hear eldritch screams in the night, what on earth is going on?
JANE EYRE: Y’all just have no idea how we roll at Thornfield Hall, do you?
MR ROCHESTER: Everyone go back to bed! That eldritch scream was… um, the pipes again… Maybe rats? Screaming rats, who finds that believable? Raise your hand, don’t be shy.
JANE EYRE: I’m going back to bed.
MR ROCHESTER: I could maybe use your help with Mr Mason. He’s a little bit… bitten…
JANE EYRE: Oh dude, this guy really was bitten!
MR MASON: Help me, lady. I don’t want to be a werewolf!
JANE EYRE: Did Grace Poole try to eat you?
MR MASON: A mysterious lady kept in the attic… Mr Rochester’s secret crazy wife…
MR ROCHESTER: Don’t listen to him! He’s obviously delirious.
JANE EYRE: We should fire Grace Poole.
MR ROCHESTER: Nonsense! We don’t fire people for little things like cannibalism here at Thornfield Hall!
JANE EYRE: ‘Dear Miss Manners, when is the appropriate time to dispense with a maid’s services, before or after she graduates from gin to human flesh? Yours sincerely, Jane Eyre.’
GRACE POOLE: Tastes like chicken! Anybody using that vodka? Hey, it’s five o’clock somewhere, kids. Bottoms up!
MR ROCHESTER: You have a job for life, Miss Poole.
JANE EYRE: I gotta go visit my dying aunt in a Gothic manor full of suicide and despair.
MR ROCHESTER: Wait a second. Wait a second. Are you saying that you’re seeing another manor?
MRS EVIL RELATIVE: So you have a rich uncle who wanted to adopt you, but I told him you were dead.
JANE EYRE: Uh, why would you do that?
MRS EVIL RELATIVE: I’m evil. And I don’t want good things to happen to ugly people! Plus you were so uppity as a child.
JANE EYRE: Jeez, the way these people carry on, you’d think I was French or something.
MR ROCHESTER: So, I’m marrying someone else, and I’m shipping you off to Ireland!
JANE EYRE: Oh my God! Not Ireland! How can you be so cruel?
MR ROCHESTER: And of course by ‘I’m marrying someone else, and I’m shipping you off to Ireland’ I mean I love you!
JANE EYRE: … I did not get that.
MR ROCHESTER: How could you not know that I loved you, when I paraded around a hot chick in front of you and told you I was going to marry her?
JANE EYRE: Um, frankly the housekeeper gave me a book called ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’ and that is textbook!
MR ROCHESTER: How about when I dressed up like a lady and told everybody’s fortunes?
JANE EYRE: … Well, I didn’t really know what to make of that one either way. It was weird.
MR ROCHESTER: So will you marry me?
JANE EYRE: Sure! Just please, please stop courting me. My heart can’t take it.
MR ROCHESTER: Thank goodness you have nobody to love you, and are all alone in the world and helpless in my hands!
JANE EYRE: Huh?
MR ROCHESTER: I plan to commit bigamy against all laws of God and man! Whatever, I spit in God’s eye, I am going to have this sweet honey all for my own!
JANE EYRE: … Uh, what are you talking about?
MR ROCHESTER: Normal romantic stuff, babe. Normal romantic stuff.
MR ROCHESTER: Adele, Jane and I are getting married! And we’re sending you to school because we don’t love you! Because you’re French. Also Jane is a fairy and we’re going to live on the moon.
ADELE: I seriously advise against marrying this dude. Il est massively fou-pants.
MR ROCHESTER: Little bit less French lip from you, missy.
ADELE: Soon as I turn eighteen, je suis outtie.
JANE EYRE: Last night a strange woman who looked like Morticia Addams came into my room, did a crazy dance, and tore up my wedding veil.
MR ROCHESTER: Just a dream, poppet!
JANE EYRE: Uh, but seriously, my wedding veil is all torn up.
MR ROCHESTER: That was probably the pipes.
JANE EYRE: The pipes tore up my wedding veil?
MR ROCHESTER: Um. Uh. Oh that Grace Poole, drunk again!
JANE EYRE: We’re not going to fire her for wanton property destruction, are we?
MR ROCHESTER: Lord no.
JANE EYRE: I ain’t even surprised at this point. But really, Ed, I thought it was a completely different lady. Are you absolutely certain that there isn’t a murderous madwoman on the loose in this house, at any point able to viciously kill the woman you supposedly love or an innocent child?
MR ROCHESTER: Cross my heart and hope to get bigamously married in the morning!
VICAR: If there is any reason why Edward Fairfax Crazypants Rochester and Jane Come On Baby Be My Bad Boyfriend Eyre should not be wed, speak now…
MR MASON: Uh, speaking? There’s the small problem of a crazy wife.
VICAR: She looks fine to me. The groom’s a little wild about the eyeballs, mind you.
MR MASON: He has a different crazy wife locked up in his attic.
VICAR: I don’t know, that seems a bit far fetch-
MR ROCHESTER: CURSES, ALL IS DISCOVERED!
VICAR: All righty then. Wedding adjourned.
MR ROCHESTER: Anyone want to come up to the house and meet my crazy wife I have locked up in the attic?
MR MASON: Oooh, will there be tea and cake?
BERTHA ROCHESTER: I’m going to rip your throat out with my teeth. Let me out of this goddamn attic!
MR ROCHESTER: See? She’s totally crazy. There’s no other reason for a woman to try and kill her husband who’s locked her up and kept her in isolation in her own home! I mean, I’m good to her. I couldn’t send her to a madhouse, or to a house in a bad location where she might die! Bertha really likes it here in the attic. And I give her all the knives and matches to play with that she wants!
EVERYONE: Can we send you to the madhouse?
MR ROCHESTER: What silly talk, I am a man and I have a big pile of money! Nobody can lock me up anywhere.
BERTHA ROCHESTER: You’re going to reap the WHIRLWIND, mofo.
JANE EYRE: Actually, this explains a lot.
MR ROCHESTER: Yeah, so it wasn’t the pipes.
JANE EYRE: No, I got that. And Grace Poole isn’t really a drunk.
MR ROCHESTER: Oh no, actually that bit is true. Grace is an alcoholic.
GRACE POOLE: Wheeeeeee candy is dandy but liquor is quicker!
JANE EYRE: So all of our lives depend on Grace not getting drunk and passing out?
MR ROCHESTER: Sweetie, you worry too much.
JANE EYRE: It’s already happened like five times!
MR ROCHESTER: You’re going to get frown lines.
JANE EYRE: SOMETIMES SHE EATS PEOPLE!
MR ROCHESTER: There, there. All this silly fussing over nothing will make your pretty little head hurt, you know.
MR ROCHESTER: I get what this is about. You’re mad because of the whole bigamy thing. But honey, I can explain.
JANE EYRE: Okay. You didn’t really lock your wife up in an attic, hide her from everyone at risk of their lives, invite guests around to be murdered, make one of the guests your fake girlfriend, and trick me into bigamously marrying you this morning?
MR ROCHESTER: Oh, I did all that. Like, all of it. And you’ve forgotten the time I dressed up like a lady and told your fortune.
JANE EYRE: I haven’t forgotten. I TRY TO FORGET, BUT IT NEVER HAPPENS. I need a drink.
MR ROCHESTER: Great idea! This will all make much more sense once you’re drunk.
MR ROCHESTER: Mistakes. I’ve made a few. But then again… too few to mention.
JANE EYRE: I have a list right here.
MR ROCHESTER: Maybe I should have sent Adele to school instead of to live in the house with a crazed killer. Maybe I should have been honest with the woman I love instead of committing all the crimes. Hindsight’s 20/20.
JANE EYRE: I think the wine and I should go back to my room.
MR ROCHESTER: Wait wait wait! You see, my wife was a ho.
JANE EYRE: …
MR ROCHESTER: She was a ho fo’ sho’!
JANE EYRE: Am I talking to the man who refers to France as ‘Hookerlandia’?
MR ROCHESTER: Baby how often do I have to tell you, it’s different because I am a man! Women are property! Now please come away with me to a foreign land and be totally at my mercy.
JANE EYRE: Tempting, but…
MR ROCHESTER: My wife isn’t even English, you know. She’s from the West Indies! You can’t tell me that counts.
JANE EYRE: Look, I had this friend called Helen Burns, and Jesus was kind of her boyfriend, so believe me when I say, the Lord is uncool with adultery.
MR ROCHESTER: Are you absolutely positive about that?
JANE EYRE: Way uncool.
MR ROCHESTER: Your lips say ‘No, please respect my decision, also you are a mad criminal’ but your eyes say yes!
JANE EYRE: There’s only one way to solve this, as a Gothic heroine. No recourse to the law for me. To the moors!
JANE EYRE: Man it’s awfully hard to find your way on the moors. Everywhere you look it’s just moor moor moor. More moor.
JANE EYRE: Starting to feel awful dizzy. Catherine Earnshaw died of moor, you know.
JANE EYRE: Oh, Edward! Edward! … Heathcliff!
ST JOHN RIVERS: Hey lady dying on my doorstep. Hey.
JANE EYRE: Rescued by a kind clergyman and his two nice sisters who feed me, dress me and find me a job! This is so lucky! I wonder if I’ve reached the part of the book where wildly improbable good stuff starts happening?
ST JOHN RIVERS: Your rich uncle has left you a big pile of money, and we are your long-lost relatives.
JANE EYRE: Aw yeah.
JANE EYRE: What am I going to do with all my new cashola?
ST JOHN RIVERS: You could marry me.
JANE EYRE: Huh. Unexpected. Is this a love triangle?
ST JOHN RIVERS: Nah, I don’t fancy you. I just think you’d be a good missionary’s wife.
JANE EYRE: Look, if I’m going to marry a jerk, I might as well marry a jerk who gets me hot beneath the petticoat. Jane out!
JANE EYRE: Just thought I’d wander over and check out Thornfield Hall and any foxy but crazy-eyed inhabitants of… HOLY CRAP.
THORNFIELD HALL: I got burned up.
RANDOM DUDE: Yeah, apparently a crazy lady lived there who liked to set fires.
JANE EYRE: Yeah, I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later.
RANDOM DUDE: I heard the lady who was meant to guard her was drunk.
JANE EYRE: There’s a shocker.
RANDOM DUDE: And Mr Rochester ran into the fire. Maybe to save his wife? Maybe because he just likes doing crazy stuff?
JANE EYRE: That second one. That sounds like him.
RANDOM DUDE: Anyway, now he’s blind and missing a hand, so…
JANE EYRE: Aw yeah. That’ll slow him down. It’s going to be way harder for him to pick bonnets that suit him now. Everything’s coming up Jane Come On Baby Be My Bad Boyfriend Eyre!
MR ROCHESTER: Hello? Hello? What’s up? Housekeeper?
JANE EYRE: Hey baby. Hey baby, you so blind.
MR ROCHESTER: Uh, housekeeper, I never knew you felt this way about me…
JANE EYRE: Kiss me, you mad fool.
MR ROCHESTER: Never has that saying been more appropriate!
Jane Eyre made me have a lot of thoughts about Gothic boyfriends. Gothic boyfriends have secrets. But it is Rochester who is the king, the champion secret-keeper uncontested since 1847. Edward Fairfax Crazypants Rochester was keeping the quadruple (I love you) (my girlfriend is fake) (I have a crazy wife in the attic trying to kill us all) (PS this marriage ceremony is also fake) secret, while being pretty open about the crossdressing and all the hookers. (What a man!)
Guys, let’s get this straight: I love Jane Eyre and indeed Rochester. I think he and Jane have great chemistry in the book. I love seeing people fall for each other through conversations. I think he’s a compelling character and he brings out the best in her, she sparkles around him.
It’s just a big problem that HE’S AN INSANE PERSON. One day Mrs Jane Rochester is going to come home from the modiste’s with a charming new hat and he’ll be all ‘Hey baby. Hey, you might be wondering where the kids are. Funny story: I sold them to pirates.’
I am not the only one who has had this thought. There is a whole book of essays entitled Can Jane Eyre Be Happy?. And there’s also a long line of Gothic heroes, acting all sinister like, keeping secrets.
I thought that it would be fun in Unspoken to reverse that: to have two people who are actually unable to keep secrets from each other, and see all the problems that causes.
The long tradition of people running around being totally crazy in Gothic novels is, of course, sacred to me.