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Jane Eyre - Extract 2

This GCSE English Literature quiz is the second of two extract questions for Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. It takes place at the beginning of Volume III, before Jane leaves Thornfield with nowhere to go and no friends from whom to seek help. Rochester has trouble in this passage in facing the strength exhibited by the small, poor, humble Jane.

How to answer an extract question in an exam:

Before writing your answer to an extract question, make sure that you read the passage through more than once. Try to make this a habit because re-reading gives you the opportunity to notice different details and aspects of the passage. The first time you read a passage you should try to gain a general understanding and consider how its details relate to the question you will be answering.

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On the second reading you can make detailed notes and annotations. Having carefully considered the passage you can then begin to plan exactly how you will use these details to answer the question.

Think about the reasons behind the choice of extract. How is it important to the text? What role does it play? Decide which themes are evident. Think about the characters which appear in the passage and how each individual’s experience might differ. What is the relationship between the passage and all that follows in the text? Is there any evidence of foreshadowing? How would you describe the passage’s relationship to earlier events? Is there a turning point? Consider the extract’s ending: what possible reasons can there be for the passage to end where it does? Is the final line significant?

Think carefully about the specific wording of the question you have chosen to answer. What specifically are you asked to discuss? Extract questions can focus on many different aspects, including mood and atmosphere, character, dialogue or theme. You could be asked to give a personal response to the passage or to a character. Begin by explaining the passage’s immediate context: show that you know which events precede the extract, drawing attention to their relevance. Be sure to refer to the detail of the passage, rather than keeping the discussion too general. Analyse the relationship between the passage and the text’s themes. It is useful to group related ideas together to give your answer some structure. Planning carefully will help ensure that you have enough time to discuss the entire passage.

Read the extract below carefully before answering the questions.

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“Sir,” I interrupted him, “you are inexorable for that unfortunate lady: you speak of her with hate — with vindictive antipathy. It is cruel — she cannot help being mad.”

“Jane, my little darling, (so I will call you, for so you are), you don’t know what you are talking about; you misjudge me again: it is not because she is mad I hate her. If you were mad, do you think I should hate you?”

“I do indeed, sir.”

“Then you are mistaken, and you know nothing about me, and nothing about the sort of love of which I am capable. Every atom of you flesh is as dear to me as my own: in pain and sickness it would still be dear. Your mind is my treasure, and if it were broken, it would be my treasure still: if you raved, my arms should confine you, and not a strait waistcoat — your grasp, even in fury, would have a charm for me: if you flew at me as wildly as that woman did this morning, I should receive you in an embrace, at least as fond as it would be restrictive. I should not shrink from you with disgust as I did from her: in your quiet moments you should have no watcher and no nurse but me; and I could hang over you with untiring tenderness, though you gave me no smile in return; and never weary of gazing into your eyes, though they had no longer a ray of recognition for me. — But why do I follow that train of ideas? I was talking of removing you from Thornfield. All, you know, is prepared for prompt departure: to-morrow you shall go. I only ask you to endure one more night under this roof, Jane; and then, farewell to its miseries and terrors for ever! I have a place to repair to which will be a secure sanctuary from hateful reminiscences, from unwelcome intrusion — even from falsehood and slander.”

“And take Adèle with you, sir,” I interrupted; “she will be a companion for you.”

“What do you mean, Jane? I told you I would send Adèle to school: and what do I want with a child for a companion? and not my own child, — a French dancer’s bastard. Why do you importune me about her? I say, why do you assign Adèle to me for a companion?”

“You spoke of retirement, sir; and retirement and solitude are dull: too dull for you.”

“Solitude! Solitude!” he reiterated, with irritation. “I see I must come to an explanation. I don’t know what sphynx-like expression is forming in your countenance. You are to share my solitude. Do you understand?”

I shook my head; it required a degree of courage, excited as he was becoming, even to risk that mute sign of dissent. He had been walking fast about the room, and he stopped, as if suddenly rooted to one spot. He looked at me long and hard: I turned my eyes from him, fixed them on the fire, and tried to assume and maintain a quiet, collected aspect.

“Now for the hitch in Jane’s character,” he said at last, speaking more calmly than from his look I had expected him to speak. “The reel of silk has run smoothly enough so far; but I always knew there would come a knot and a puzzle: here it is. Now for vexation, and exasperation, and endless trouble! By God! I long to exert a fraction of Samson’s strength, and break the entanglement like tow!”

He recommenced his walk: but soon again stopped, and this time just before me.

“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 licence.

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (Oxford University Press, 1975)
  1. What is the immediate context for this passage?
    Jane finds that Rochester has kept vigil outside her bedroom door
  2. What immediately follows this passage?
    Wishing Jane to understand his actions, Rochester then tells her the story of his marriage to Bertha
  3. “'And take Adèle with you, sir,' I interrupted; 'she will be a companion for you.' What does Jane achieve with this statement?
    Until this point Rochester assumes that Jane will do exactly as he pleases
  4. Which of the following words does NOT describe Rochester's mood?
    Rochester is overcome by active, unpleasant emotions. He is not yet able to be reflective
  5. "I turned my eyes from him, fixed them on the fire, and tried to assume and maintain a quiet, collected aspect." What does this sentence tell the reader about Jane's mood?
    By having to make an effort to appear calm, Jane implies that her inner state is not "quiet" and "collected"
  6. What metaphor does Rochester use to depict Jane's resistance?
    By thinking of her resistance as a puzzle, Rochester demonstrates his belief that he can act in order to fix the situation, to remove or disentangle the problem
  7. Rochester, who has hidden his wife away in the attic, believes he can continue to hide from the consequences of his decisions. Which of the following lines conveys this impression?
    Rochester believes his plan to be the obvious one and has not yet suspected that Jane might not comply
  8. Which of the following is an accusation Jane makes against Rochester?
    Rochester protests that his hatred of his wife is not related to her madness
  9. What does Rochester mean by saying that Jane has a "sphynx-like expression"
    Rochester does not know what Jane is thinking
  10. Which of the following best describes the atmosphere of this passage?
    This scene is very tense, with Rochester tempted to force Jane into following along with his imagined happy future

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