I saw even that to be thus frankly addressed on a subject he had deemed unapproachable


Senior Member
The quotation comes from Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre (Chap. 32) | Genius

Quotation: By this time he had sat down: he had laid the picture on the table before him, and with his brow supported on both hands, hung fondly over it. I discerned he was now neither angry nor shocked at my audacity. I saw even that to be thus frankly addressed on a subject he had deemed unapproachable—to hear it thus freely handled—was beginning to be felt by him as a new pleasure—an unhoped-for relief. Reserved people often really need the frank discussion of their sentiments and griefs more than the expansive.
Hi everyone! The bold sentence puzzles me. I try to make it clear as below. Is it correct?

Unapproachable => 2.2 That cannot be approached in confidence or intimacy. [OED]
Here I understand it as “impossible to be mentioned”.

To handle =>I haven’t found applicable definitions in dictionaries, so I guess it as “to talk about”.

The essential meaning => He was beginning to felt a new pleasure – an unexpected relief when Jane frankly addressed him on a subject he had deemed impossible to be mentioned and he heard it freely talked about in this way.
  • Hajar

    New Member
    You are right in unapproachable means some thing you can't talk about it is not possible to talk about


    Senior Member
    English but my first language was German
    If something is unapproachable in speech, even circumlocutions that come near to the taboo subject are not permitted.

    Handle means "deal with in some way". In this case, the subject is dealt with in speech.
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