The Brontës In Bronze – Three Portraits, Three Sisters? - If there’s one thing I love just as much as writing my Anne Brontë blog, and almost as much as reading Brontë books, it’s collecting Brontë memorabilia. I’...
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Adele, Grace & Celine.Adele, Grace & Celine. The Other Women of Jane Eyre(1) explores these three women tangential to the story of Jane and Rochester. Three female characters which Charlotte Brontë uses as little more than archetypes and hardly develops. Adèle is probably the only one that evolves from the stereotype of the young French girl eager for glamour and obsessed with her toilette but affectionate and easily pliable to a docile, good-tempered, and well-principled English young lady. Charlotte Brontë, nevertheless, hides from us this evolution and attributes it to a sound English education correcting her French deffects. Grace Poole is presented as a character with virtually no past and no future who is only there to provide the adequate dose of Gothic epitomising mystery and the hiding of a terrible secret(2). Finally, Céline Varens is only used as the background to Rochester's immoral past when he was entangled with, of all women, a French opera-girl. An immoral, unprincipled, foreign woman, just one step above from prostitution.
The Other Women of Jane Eyre.
by Claire Moïse
(...)but I always think it best to err on the safe side; a door is soon fastened, and it is as well to have a drawn bolt between one and any mischief that may be about. A deal of people, Miss, are for trusting all to Providence; but I say Providence will not dispense with the means, though He often blesses them when they are used discreetly. (Chapter XVI)(3) Fortunately this is not a novel along the line of Emma Tennant's Adèle. Jane Eyre's Hidden Story where the characters rather than subverted were perverted.
I'll give Mrs. Poole two hundred a year to live here with my wife, as you term that fearful hag: Grace will do much for money, and she shall have her son, the keeper at Grimsby Retreat, to bear her company and be at hand to give her aid in the paroxysms. (Chapter XXVII)Céline Varens, according to Rochester's narrative in Jane Eyre, left Paris for Italy following a musician or singer, leaving Adèle behind. Nevertheless, in the present novel the event is told differently. Céline writes to Grace that she made Rochester believe that she had died so that he agreed to take care of Adèle. We wonder if Ms Moïse was not thinking of the musical adaptation of Jane Eyre by Gordon & Caird.