Gluppit the prawling strangles, there (elettaria) wrote in victorian_novel,
Gluppit the prawling strangles, there

Can you be manly in pearls?

I'm listening to audiobooks a lot at the moment, and I find that I pick up on things I didn't notice when reading the novel. Jane Eyre is the one I've just finished, noting that St John is even more of a bastard than I remembered, and that Rochester may be a Strong Rugged Man type, but Jane is constantly rescuing him. The bit that really made me sit up is when Rochester says, in the penultimate chapter, "...and since you left your pearl necklace behind I've been wearing it under my clothes ever since you left." I know that Bronte has a penchant for gender-bending and cross-dressing, seen a little with Rochester's gypsy outfit and even more in Villette, but Rochester wearing pearls? What do you make of this? You can get all symbolic about gender and power being represented in jewellery, Jane starts wearing Rochester's watch at this point for example, but I just end up giggling at the idea of Rochester secretly wearing pearls. It also made me want to rewrite a scene as follows. (Paraphrasing from memory.)

"Jane, have you a glittering ornament around your neck?"
I was wearing a gold-watch-chain, and I replied that I had.
"And have you a pale blue dress on?"
(shyly) "And do you think it would suit me?"
"No," I said decisively. "Pale colours are no good for a strong character such as yours. A brilliant crimson gown would serve you far better."
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