Chapter 15 is a main chapter of the novel in terms of plot, characters, relationships, themes and genre so far because everything in this chapter links up to something that has happened in the past. Most events are reflections of the past or at least bring back the same feelings as those of the past. New relationships develop and characters begin to bond, as they understand more about each other’s past. Also, in this chapter, we waver off Jane for a while and ponder more on Mr. Rochester. Up till now, everything was about Jane.
At the beginning of the chapter, Mr Rochester told Jane about Adele’s past and how she came into this world. He tells her passionately and vividly about his past love and how she betrayed him. This shows the relationship between Jane and Mr. Rochester developing as he opens up to her. He is being friendlier towards her. When we were first introduced to Mr Rochester in the book, he gave the impression that he was an obnoxious man who thought highly of himself. He looked down at Jane when they first had a proper conversation and was very uptight.
Adele’s childhood also relates to Jane’s childhood in the sense that they were both left by to people who never really wanted them. Jane was left to the Reed family and Adele to Mr. Rochester. But Jane never got the luxuries that Adele has from Mr. Rochester. This creates sympathy for Jane as it makes the reader recall back Jane’s past, like a flashback. This bonds Adele and Jane closer because Jane now knows more about Adele. As Jane retired to bed, she started to think of Mr. Rochester and what he said. ” … that I steadily reviewed the tale of Mr. Rochester had told me.”
This shows how Jane is a more reflective and analytical person than that of she used to be. She is more understanding and wiser. This shows the reader that she is changing and maturing as her experience and knowledge widens. Jane’s fondness for Mr. Rochester develops and increases as she realises his inner beauty and looks past his physical deformities. This again shows her mature side. This is also the first time that she has felt affection for someone else. This is a turning point because she has never felt like this before. She enjoyed seeing him. “… his face the object I best liked to see… . As a result, their relationship develops. Mr. Rochester trusts Jane more and Jane is beginning to fall in love with Mr. Rochester.
This also creates suspense for the reader because this leads on to a possible relationship. When Mr. Rochester mysteriously catches on fire, Jane came to the rescue. This again, brings up Jane’s brave nature and her selflessness. Mr. Rochester is grateful for Jane and holds on to her for a little while. We also see that Mr. Rochester cares a lot about his status, as he does not want Jane to get Mrs. Fairfax. This shows the more selfish side of Mr. Rochester as later, he does not even give Jane credit for saving his life.
More suspense is built because of what Jane heard before Mr. Rochester caught on fire. All fingers point to Grace Poole because of the “goblin-laughter” that sounded a lot like the one of the deranged and odd maid. Could this be a possible murder attempt? Or was Jane just hearing things? This chapter brings in Grace, the quiet maid who only came up once till this chapter. Was she trying to kill Mr. Rochester? A new side of this quiet character is brought into the story, changing the genre from quiet romance to a dark mystery.
Also in this chapter, we find out that Mr. Rochester was harbouring a burden. That burden being Adele and his past love. Jane also harbours a secret, her secret love for Mr. Rochester. There are a lot of secrets revealed to the reader in this chapter through Jane’s feelings, emotions and actions. Bronte used heartache particularly stronger in this chapter to create sympathy. She used heartache through Mr. Rochester when he told his tale of his past love, Adele and Jane and her secret love for him. As the reader, you also see the kinder, more sensitive side of Mr. Rochester.
He told the tale of how he took Adele in, “… took the poor thing out of the slime and mud of Paris… “, even thought he was pretty sure that he wasn’t the father of Adele. Despite the rigid foreground, Mr. Rochester can be nice. This allows the reader to favour him more. This chapter also shows how Jane is more secure. Also, she is in a more secure environment. She grew up insecure in an insecure environment where everything she did had to be done with extreme care and caution or she would have been told off by a member of the Reed family.
But now, she is more secure because she has proper housing, better food and she is wanted and needed in Thornfield by various people, Mr. Rochester, Adele and Mrs. Fairfax. She has settled in at Thornfield and does no longer feel dejected or unwanted. The themes from the beginning of the chapter to the end changes greatly. At the beginning, it was the tragic story of Mr. Rochester, his past love and his heartache which can be summed up to be a sad love story. Then it changes into a dark mystery when Mr. Rochester is set on fire without explanation.
Bronte uses a drastic change of themes to create suspense, making the chapter predominantly interesting because just as you expect the story to go on from there, things take a turn making you as the reader want to read on to find out why and how. But then things take another turn, turning it back to a love story as Mr. Rochester and Jane have their ‘moment’. After Mr. Rochester’s incident, Jane, being led on, cannot go back to sleep. Jane thinks about the past incident. She begins to realise her growing love for Mr Rochester and how if they did get together, their relationship would not be smooth and easy.
But instead of realising what an odd couple they would make, she allows herself to be carried into her little world of dreams, showing again her foolish side. So to conclude, we could say that chapter 15 is a pivotal chapter because of the plot, characters, relationships, genres and themes and how they have developed through the chapter. They go through a series of events that build up to stronger bonds and relationships. Jane matures and falls in love and all fingers point to Grace Poole for the possible murder of Mr. Rochester. Things take a turn from a happier genre to a sad and mysterious genre.