it is a hybrid, egotistical pain at hearing of woes, crossed with ignorant contempt

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Irelia20150604

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

Quotation: Jane, you don’t like my narrative; you look almost sick—shall I defer the rest to another day?”

“No, sir, finish it now; I pity you—I do earnestly pity you.”

“Pity, Jane, from some people is a noxious and insulting sort of tribute, which one is justified in hurling back in the teeth of those who offer it; but that is the sort of pity native to callous, selfish hearts; it is a hybrid, egotistical pain at hearing of woes, crossed with ignorant contempt for those who have endured them. But that is not your pity, Jane; it is not the feeling of which your whole face is full at this moment—with which your eyes are now almost overflowing—with which your heart is heaving—with which your hand is trembling in mine.

Context: Mr. R was telling Jane about his miserable marriage.
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Hi everyone! I don't understand the bold part, especially "hybrid, egotistical pain". Is it fine to interpret it as below?

native => 2. belonging to a person by birth or to a thing by nature; inherent
but that is the sort of pity native to callous, selfish hearts => but that is the sort of pity belonging to callous, selfish people by nature.

egotistical => 2.2 The vice of thinking too much of oneself; self-conceit, boastfulness; also, selfishness. (OED)
When they hear about woes, those callous, selfish people feel such pains as "Oh! What a pity! Benevolent, omnipotent as I am, I can't relieve you of the misfortune!". They attach too much importance to themselves when they express pity. Hence it's a "egotistical pain".

hybrid => formed or made up of very different or unlike elements or parts
Though they did feel pain at hearing of woes, such a pain is not "pure", because it's mixed with " ignorant contempt" such as "Huh! Miserable as you are, I still have to say why you were foolish enough to marry that mad bitch. Do you have a taste for bitches? Hahaha... ". Hence it's a "hybrid pain".
 
  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    True pain (in this model) is where someone, hearing of another's story feels pain for them - they empathetically share the person's plight. Hybrid egotistical pain is where this pain is mixed with pain felt on their own behalf at having to learn of the misfortune- they want their own pain to go away by dismissing the other, rather than wanting to improve the life of the person being pitied.
     
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