how doubtful must have appeared my character, [position], tale

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Senior Member
The quotation comes from Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre (Chap. 28) | Genius

Quotation: “I am a stranger, without acquaintance in this place. I want some work: no matter what.”

But it was not her business to think for me, or to seek a place for me: besides, in her eyes, how doubtful must have appeared my character, position, tale. She shook her head, she “was sorry she could give me no information,” and the white door closed, quite gently and civilly: but it shut me out.
Hi everyone! I don't quite understand the word "position" here. I try to interpret it as below. Is it correct?

position => what situation I was in; condition.
Jane was in the situation of needing food, drink and shelter, but that woman doubted it, perhaps because Jane was respectably-dressed like a lady.
  • goldenband

    Senior Member
    English - American
    I think "position" may have a kind of double meaning here. One is exactly as you say -- Jane's current situation or condition; the other refers to her social class or respectability.

    Without reading the chapter myself for full context, I can't be certain. But after a brief scan, my interpretation is actually the opposite of yours: Jane is dressed somewhat shabbily, or at least in clothing that's worn from time and travel ("half-worn gloves...creased handkerchief"), so the woman doubts that Jane is from a respectable background, and is disinclined to help Jane.
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