Study Guide

Jane Eyre Volume 2, Chapter 5

By Charlotte Brontë

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Volume 2, Chapter 5

  • Jane is woken up by bright moonlight, and then startled by a strange shriek from the third floor. Then she hears thumping and banging upstairs, as though people are fighting, and calls for help. Someone is calling for Mr. Rochester.
  • Everyone in the house is woken up by all the noise. The guests stumble around in the corridor in their robes, but nobody seems to know what’s going on.
  • Rochester tells them that a servant had a nightmare and assigns the gentlemen to make the ladies go back to bed.
  • Jane goes back to her room and gets dressed, then sits by the window waiting. She knows something else is going to happen.
  • After about an hour, everyone else has fallen asleep again. Jane keeps waiting, and eventually Mr. Rochester knocks on her door and asks her to come with him.
  • When they get to the third floor, Rochester has an idea and sends Jane back to get a sponge and some salts. (These are smelling salts, which have a strong, disgusting smell, and are used to wake up people who have fainted or passed out.)
  • Jane comes back, and Rochester unlocks the door to the third floor—the same door Jane has seen Grace Poole go through. They enter, and Jane can hear Grace’s weird laugh. Mr. Rochester goes ahead of her into the next room and gives instructions.
  • Rochester comes back, and leads Jane into another part of the first room, where Mr. Mason is sitting in a chair. He’s pale and passed out, and one of his arms is soaked in his own blood.
  • While Jane holds the candle, Rochester wakes Mason with the smelling salts. Rochester also checks on Mason’s wound; there’s a bandage around Mason’s arm and shoulder, but the bleeding hasn’t stopped.
  • Rochester tells Jane to stay with Mason and to make sure he stays awake, but not to talk to him at all for any reason. He gives her the sponge, which is bloody now, so that she can tend to the wound a little, too.
  • Then Mr. Rochester leaves, locking them in the room. Jane’s afraid to be locked in with a dying man when his murderess is just in the next room, but she does what she has to do.
  • For a long time, maybe two hours, Jane stays there, wiping blood and gore off Mason’s chest, trying to keep him conscious, and feeling utterly afraid of the woman in the next room.
  • Every so often she hears weird, snarling noises, as though it were a dog and not a woman nearby. She wonders what horrible thing lives at Thornfield that Mr. Rochester can’t seem to fight or destroy.
  • Finally, Mr. Rochester comes back with a doctor, Mr. Carter. He gives the doctor half an hour to get Mason bandaged correctly before they take Mason away.
  • While the doctor works, Mason and Rochester talk about what happened, but they don’t say enough to really explain.
  • The doctor notices that Mason wasn’t stabbed—he was bitten.
  • Rochester says that he warned Mason, and Mason should have listened. Mason says he thought he could have done something to make things better. Jane wants to know what the heck is going on, and so do we.
  • Mason mentions that "she" sucked the blood from the wound after biting him—is Grace Poole a vampire?
  • Rochester is worried about getting Mason out of the house before dawn. He sends Jane to fetch various pieces of clothing to get Mason and the doctor ready.
  • Rochester gives Mason a few drops of a red cordial that he got in Rome; it seems to help him revive a little, and he’s able to walk downstairs with the doctor holding him up.
  • Together, Rochester, and the doctor help Mason get downstairs and into a carriage, while Jane acts as lookout.
  • Just before Mason is driven away, he asks Rochester to take care of "her" as gently as possible.
  • Rochester and Jane are left alone together outside the house, and he asks her to walk with him in the woods as the sun is rising before they go back to Thornfield Hall. They stroll, and he picks a rose for her.
  • Rochester asks Jane about the last few hours, and seems worried that she felt so afraid. He tells Jane that he will be in danger until Mason leaves England.
  • Jane’s confused—Mason seems harmless. Rochester explains that Mason could destroy him by accidentally saying the wrong thing, and that he can’t let Mason know how much damage he could cause.
  • Rochester muses on Jane’s faithfulness; he can tell that Jane enjoys helping him, but also that she would never follow his orders if she thought they were morally wrong.
  • Jane and Rochester sit together on a bench; this is the first time she has taken a place at his side. Rochester asks her to imagine something: she is a spoiled young man in a foreign country, and there she accidentally makes a terrible mistake with long-lasting consequences. Hmm, who do you think he’s really talking about?
  • Anyway, this completely hypothetical young man tries to get past these consequences, and travels all around the world amusing himself with superficial pleasures. After twenty years, he meets a new friend and feels completely regenerated and changed. Hmm, who might this "friend" be? Rochester’s pretty obvious about things.
  • So, anyway, the "hypothetical" man now wants to spend the rest of his life with his "friend," but he needs to break some kind of rule to do so. Rochester’s question to Jane is: is it okay if he does?
  • Jane reeeeeally wants to say yes, but she can tell Rochester’s trying to get away with something that isn’t right, even though she’s not 100% sure what the problem is.
  • She tells him that nobody should let their redemption depend on their relationship with someone else. To put it another way, this hypothetical guy has to sort out his problem first, and then he can be with his, erm, "friend."
  • After hearing her response, Rochester gets rude and sarcastic, starts telling Jane how great Blanche Ingram is, and sends her back to the house through the woods while he goes another way to talk to Dent and Lynn, who have come out to the stables.

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