...found them all [void and vain]

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Senior Member
The quotation comes from Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre (Chap. 27) | Genius

Quotation: But the answer my mind gave—“Leave Thornfield at once”—was so prompt, so dread, that I stopped my ears. I said I could not bear such words now. “That I am not Edward Rochester’s bride is the least part of my woe,” I alleged: “that I have wakened out of most glorious dreams, and found them all void and vain, is a horror I could bear and master; but that I must leave him decidedly, instantly, entirely, is intolerable. I cannot do it.”
Hi everyone! I don't quite understand the bold part, for I'm somewhat unfamiliar with the two adjectives. I try to interpret it as below. Is it correct?

void => 4 without contents; empty.
vain => I. 1.I.1 Devoid of real value, worth, or significance; idle, unprofitable, useless, worthless; of no effect, force, or power; fruitless, futile, unavailing.

the whole part => ...found them all contain no real value, worth, or significance and incapable of yielding any fruit.
  • Sparky Malarky

    English - US
    Close enough.

    Void is clear, it means "empty" as you said.

    Vain might have the meaning you cite - "worthless, of no significance," but I think it's closer to the meaning of in vain - "lots of effort for nothing," "unsuccessful."


    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I think the vain part is more related to vanity, overly concerned with herself. Her glorious dreams had been vainglorious.
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