Thursday, June 14, 2012

Proposals Gone Right: The One That Nearly Backfired

Whether you saw or read Jane Eyre for the first time, chances are you didn't realize Rochester was on the cusp of proposing when the scene began. He's cryptically talking about the end of their friendship, his mysterious face offering no hint as to what's going on underneath the surface. Poor Jane is on the verge of tears at the thought of being separated from him and after fully revealing the heart on her sleeve, she is blindsided by his profession and, thus, completely unbelieving. To me, this is one of the greatest scenes ever created on the page. I love the language, the imagery of the chord snapping between them, and the simple fact that after seeing the innermost workings of this quiet girl's heart, affirmed in the belief that she cares for him as he cares for her, Rochester takes what might have been an awful moment and transforms it into the best kind possible. There are dozens of Jane Eyre renditions, but today we're going to look at my two favorites from 2006 and 2011.


Rochester: We've been good friends, haven't we Jane? It's difficult to part from the friend and know you will never meet them again. 
Oh Rochy, so deceitful!
Rochester: And you and I, it's like we're a pair of Eshton's twins- bound together in some unworldly way- sharing a spirit, we're so alike. When we are parted, when you leave me, I believe that bond will snap and I will bleed inwardly. You'll forget me after a while.
Jane: I would never forget you. How can you imagine that? 
Hear, hear!
Jane: What do you think I am? I wish I'd never been born! I wish I'd never come here! 
Whoa there...
Jane: I wish I'd never grown to love Thornfield. I love Thornfield. I love it because I have lived a full life. I- I have not been trampled on. I have been treated as an equal. You have treated me as an equal. You are the best person I know and I cannot bear the thought of having to leave you.
His face when she calls him the best person she knows!

Rochester: Must you leave me, Jane?
Jane: Of course I must, because you have a wife!
*gasp*  Getting warmer...
Rochester: What do you mean?
Jane: Blanche Ingram, of course. You're as good as married to her. You've promised her.
Getting colder...
Rochester: I have not promised Blanche anything.
Jane: To someone who is inferior to you, someone you have no sympathy with. Of course I must go! Do you think that I'm a machine? That I can bear it? Do you think because I'm poor, obscure, plain, and little that I have no heart? I have as much heart as you and as much soul. 
Girlfriend took the words out of my mouth.
Jane: And if God had given me some beauty and wealth, I would make it as hard for you to leave me as it is now for me to leave you!
You tell him, Jane!
Rochester: You will not leave me, Jane.
Ow ow!!!!
Jane: No, let me go!
Rochester: Jane, Jane, you struggle so.
Shut up and kiss her!
Jane: I'm a free person! I will come and go as I please.
Settle down!
Rochester: Yes, yes you will. You will decide your own destiny. 
*rubs hands together*
Rochester: Jane, I offer you my hand, my heart, and all of my possessions.
Jane: You laugh at me!
Oh just say yes already!
Rochester: No, no! Jane, I want you to live with me- to pass through life as my second self- my best earthly companion. Jane, have you no faith in me?
How I ended up in a world with online dating is really beyond me...
Jane: None whatsoever.
Time out!
Rochester: You doubt me?
No! Even if you were lying, who cares?!
Jane: Absolutely.
*brass knuckles*
Rochester: Jane, you know I don't love Blanche. I love you; like my own flesh. Say that you will marry me. Say it quickly! 
Rochester: Jane, do you accept me?
Jane: Are you in earnest? I can hardly believe you.
Why are you still talking?!
Rochester: I swear.
He swears!
Jane: Then sir-
Rochester: Call me by name. Call me Edward.
Let her talk!
Jane: Then Edward, I will marry you.

I watched this version before I ever read the book (yes, I know), so I always look on it fondly. I love his expressions as she pours her heart out, the way she delivers the line, "I have as much heart as you and as much soul," and the way his voice gets all low and scratchy when he proposes at the end. That being said, my personal opinion is that Jane would not have gotten quite that emotional. I am unabashedly biased towards the 2011 version in terms of casting and the overall representation of this scene. It is simply perfection!


Jane: I have lived a full life here. I have not been trampled on, I have not been petrified. I have not been excluded from every glimpse of what is bright.
Did any other actress ever make you feel more sympathetic towards Jane in this moment? Her restraint and heartbreak here is so beautiful.
Jane: I have known you, Mr. Rochester, and it strikes me with anguish to be torn from you.
Oh honey, we hear you!
Rochester: Then why must you leave?
Jane: Because of your wife!
Take her sloppy seconds!
Rochester: I have no wife.
So convincing! He doesn't even blink.
Jane: But you are to be married.
My heaaaaaaaarrrrt!
Rochester: Jane, you must stay.
Whatever you say!
Jane: And become nothing to you?
Her incredulity here is flawless.
Jane: Am I machine without feelings? Do you think that because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little that I am soulless and heartless?
Jane: I have as much soul as you and full as much heart. And if God had blessed me with beauty and wealth I could make it as hard for you to leave me as it is for I to leave you.
The words she says are so fierce yet while they are spoken with conviction, there is something so meek about the delivery. Such glorious contrast!
Jane: I'm not speaking to you through mortal flesh; it is my spirit that addresses your spirit as if we'd passed through the grave and stood at God's feet equal- as we are.
Rochester: As we are!
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The way he grabs her! The intense look in his eyes! I AM HYPERVENTILATING!!!!!!!!!!
Jane: I am a free human being with an independent will, which I now exert to leave you.
Once again- the contrast!
Rochester: Then let your will decide your destiny. I offer you my hand, my heart.
Good lord, I think my heart just stopped.
Rochester: Jane, I ask you to pass through life at my side. You are my equal and my likeness.
Rochester: Will you marry me?
Jane: Are you mocking me?
She's just as confused by him as we are!
Rochester: Do you doubt me?
Maybe, but you're so beautiful, Fassy! You're so beautiful! Gah!
Jane: Entirely.
Okay, unfortunately this is where the clip ends, but I will write out the rest of the scene, which *fingers crossed* you are already familiar with...
Jane: Your bride is Miss. Ingram.
Her insecurity is so believable here! I'm sorry, I know I keep saying it, but she really is the perfect Jane for me.
Rochester: Miss. Ingram? She is the machine without feelings.
Rochester: It's you, you rare unearthly thing!
SMELLING SALTS +9,999,999,999,999!!!!
Rochester: Poor and obscure as you are, please accept me as your husband.
Rochester: I must have you for my own.
Jane: You wish me to be your wife?
Heck yes he does!
Rochester: I swear it.
*claps hand over mouth*
Jane: You love me?
We've been through this!
Rochester: I do.
Jane: Then sir, I will marry you!
AHHHHHHHHHHHDLFKSJDLFKSDLFSKJFLSK!!!!!!!!!!!! The kiss! The wind! Eeeeeep! I am so happy! Yet I am crying!

This scene! It's exquisite. And it pulls on my heart strings like none other. I'm more and more amazed by it every time I watch it. Their expressions throughout make me want to curl up in a fetal position with my CREYES. It's so understated yet there's a passion that ripples through it that gets some volcanic activity rumbling around in my heart. Obviously, words here are useless as I cannot adequately express all my FEELINGS. Ahhhh love it!

So on a scale of meh to ZOMG *GRABBY HANDS* I give 2006 a shrill, "Move over, Jane, I will say it quickly!" and 2011 a teeny, "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE YOU! FOR-EV-ER!!!!!!!!" And that's not just because the proposal is coming from good King Fassy. Oh no! It's the cheek flex, "You are my equal and my likeness," and especially the line, "It's you, you rare unearthly thing!" *HEART-CLUTCH* TO THE BILLIONTH DEGREE. Are you joking, Rochester? Incredible delivery on every level. I would accept this proposal and this man with his gravelly voice and cheek flexes in less than heartbeat! *swoon*

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