Not valuing now the root whence it sprang...

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milanforart

Member
Chinese
I found this sentence very difficult to comprehend. Could anyone who has read the book give me a hand? What does it mean?

My Spring is gone, however, but it has left me that French floweret on my hands, which, in some moods, I would fain be rid of. "Not valuing now the root whence it sprang; having found that it was of a sort which nothing but gold dust could manure, I have but half a liking to the blossom, especially when it looks so artificial as just now." From "Jane Eyre", Chapter XIV.
 
  • Since I (Rochester) don't value the mother (Cecile) of the child (Adele), and having found it was only 'nourished' by expensive things (like her mom!), I{Rochester} only partly like this flower(child) [sometimes he wishes he were not involved with her or her upkeep], especially when she acts so artificial (coquettish, if not whorish, like mom), like right now.

    Rochester is explaining that he supports a child of his former mistress without enthusiasm; she mainly wants money and fancy things (like the mom).

    Since the child is present, Rochester speaks indirectly, with fancy words (likely the child doesn't know much English). To me R sounds snobbish and patronizing, though he obviously is trying to present his behavior as noble.
     
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    milanforart

    Member
    Chinese
    Thank you bennymix! It's very clear now - wow, lots of metaphors! Your answer is superb and highly appreciated. :)
     

    milanforart

    Member
    Chinese
    Thanks bennymix, you edited your answer and made it even more elaborate! It's a pleasure to read your interpretation. I am sure that any female, including Jane Eyre, could feel his patronizing attitude through his words. He enjoys using metaphors so much, even when the conversation has nothing to do with the child. I doubt that in real life, there would be any man who speaks in a manner like this. Yet perhaps that's where the value of classics lies. :) I wish you a good Sunday.
     
    Thanks bennymix, you edited your answer and made it even more elaborate! It's a pleasure to read your interpretation. I am sure that any female, including Jane Eyre, could feel his patronizing attitude through his words. He enjoys using metaphors so much, even when the conversation has nothing to do with the child. I doubt that in real life, there would be any man who speaks in a manner like this. Yet perhaps that's where the value of classics lies. :) I wish you a good Sunday.
    Yes, Rochester speaks in a very formal and intellectual way; he hides his feelings. This is of course essential to the plot. In the early portions of a romantic tale, the male is often distant and hard to reach. Here, of course, it's partly because of his 'terrible secret', which Jane only gradually learns about. His distance is thus revealed to be caused by inner torment and very difficult situation from which he cannot escape. He is, he says, expiating his earlier sins with French demimondaines (loose women, so called--always patronized by honorable, if weak, men) by seeing that Adele--who's maybe not even his--is looked after. But his other problem from the past is less easy to fix or expiate-- hence the intricate plot.
     

    milanforart

    Member
    Chinese
    Thanks for sharing your viewpoint, bennymix. It's true that Rochester seems to be distant, but at the same time, he wants so desperately to be understood and develops a (close and intimate) connection with someone else - what a poor lonely soul! So far it seems like a typical (yet enjoyable) scenario in which a wounded ugly man who craves love gradually evokes compassion in a young lady by striking up intellectual conversations. Oh, I haven't known his 'other problem' yet, and it makes me feel a bit nervous and anxious! Thanks for making my reading experience so much more stimulating and exciting!
     
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