Is this my [mustard-seed]

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Irelia20150604

Senior Member
Chinese
The quotation comes from Jane Eyre Chapter 24

Quotation: “Jane, you look blooming, and smiling, and pretty,” said he: “truly pretty this morning. Is this my pale, little elf? Is this my mustard-seed? This little sunny-faced girl with the dimpled cheek and rosy lips; the satin-smooth hazel hair, and the radiant hazel eyes?”
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Hi everyone! I don't quite understand "mustard-seed" here. I've found the explanation as below from Jane Eyre: Mustard Seed ; Is it correct?

" 'Is this my mustard seed? This little sunny-faces girl with the dimpled cheek and rosy lips" (262)

Mr.Rochester greets Jane the morning after they express their love for one another. He calls her a mustard seed because mustard seeds symbolize faith. Mr. Rochester is faithful that Jane is his door to happiness. He has faith that if he is saved by Jane than God will relieve and forgive him for marrying Bertha Mason for money and beauty instead of love.
 
  • Franco-filly

    Senior Member
    English - Southern England
    Personally, had I not seen your link / explanation, I would have assumed it was simply a term of endearment that he had made up, or heard others use, like my little primrose, my little honey bunch, my little sausage.........!!
    Having googled "mustard seed symbolism" the idea of the seed representing "faith" seems to come from the parable of the mustard seed in the Bible. Whether that was Bronte's meaning, who can know?
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    "Elf" seems to be a clue. "Mustard-seed" was the name of one of Titania's fairy attendants in Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Wow, what a great place this forum is. Nice work, velisarius. I am definitly going to read this novel again, armed with all the learning we've been sharing in here as Irelia takes us though it.
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    This article has a different take on it:

    The parable itself illustrates a mustard seed, which is rather small, grows into a beautiful, “mature” tree. Birds will build their nests within the sprouted branches, because these branches will shield these birds from all types of danger. The tiniest of of things, such as a mustard seed, can blossom into something great. Hochberg notes that this goes hand-in-hand with Jane. Rochester first describes her as a ‘a little, small thing…almost like a child.’ A child, though small for a season, does mature in due time.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    This article has a different take on it:

    Hochberg is talking about how the “faith of a mustard seed” parable reflects in a lot of Brontë’s novel. The parable itself illustrates a mustard seed, which is rather small, grows into a beautiful, “mature” tree. Birds will build their nests within the sprouted branches, because these branches will shield these birds from all types of danger. The tiniest of of things, such as a mustard seed, can blossom into something great. Hochberg notes that this goes hand-in-hand with Jane. Rochester first describes her as a ‘a little, small thing…almost like a child.’ A child, though small for a season, does mature in due time.
    Great
    I am going to read it as meaning all of these things!

    The use of lowercase in the OP s an argument against mustard seed being the name of a Shakespearean fairy, but I like it so much I will keep it in my mind!
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I don't think the character of Mr Rochester is very given to Biblical references, but I haven't done the research.

    Shakespeare's Titania does refer to her "elves" (though I think they were male), and for MrR Jane was formerly a "pale little elf". I'm sure that the writer herself would have had both these references in mind.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Reading your new threads, Irelia, I see that Rochester again calls Jane "elfish" and refers to her "fairy-like fingers and to her "aerial" beauty. I may have had some doubts before, but now I have convinced myself that Mr R sees Jane as some kind of sprite.:D
     

    Irelia20150604

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    :idea: It's true that Mr. R calls Jane as fairy or elf serval times.

    “For the men in green: it was a proper moonlight evening for them. Did I break through one of your rings (fairy rings), that you spread that damned ice on the causeway?” --- Chapter 13, when they made their first conversation.

    “You must see the carriage, Jane, and tell me if you don’t think it will suit Mrs. Rochester exactly; and whether she won’t look like Queen Boadicea, leaning back against those purple cushions. I wish, Jane, I were a trifle better adapted to match with her externally. Tell me now, fairy as you are—can’t you give me a charm, or a philter, or something of that sort, to make me a handsome man?” --- Chapter 22
     
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