so stern a neighbour was too restrictive to him

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Irelia20150604

Senior Member
Chinese
The quotation comes from Jane Eyre Chapter 24

Quotation: Adèle, when lifted in, commenced kissing me, by way of expressing her gratitude for my intercession: she was instantly stowed away into a corner on the other side of him. She then peeped round to where I sat; so stern a neighbour was too restrictive to him, in his present fractious mood, she dared whisper no observations, nor ask of him any information.

“Let her come to me,” I entreated: “she will, perhaps, trouble you, sir: there is plenty of room on this side.”

Context: Finally, Mr. R accepted Jane's proposal to bring Adèle along.
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Hi everyone! I don’t quite understand the bold part, especially the word "stern". I try to interpret it as below. Is it correct?

so stern a neighbour = such a stern neighbour = such a demanding and authoritative gentleman Mr. R sitting beside her
...was too restrictive to him = ...meant too much restriction on her (=Adèle);
in his present fractious mood, she dared whisper no observations, nor ask of him any information => As Mr. was fractious (= irritable) now, she didn't dare whisper observations and request any information from him;

the whole sentence => such a demanding and authoritative neighbor meant too much restriction on her (=Adèle); As Mr. was fractious (= irritable) now, she didn't dare whisper observations and request any information from him.

Edited: correcting the error word "claim".
 
Last edited:
  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    I believe there is an error in the text, and that it should be ...was too restrictive: to him she...
    I have found one online copy which contains the colon, although tbe others don't.
    You have understood the overall meaning, but this punctuation is the only way it makes sense for me.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Yes, I was thinking the only way this can make sense is with different punctuation. He is restricitve, she dare not talk to him even in a whisper.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    The word "claim" does not appear in the quote... I assume you mean "stern". ;)

    Stern: This is a humorous use of the word “stern” = Resolute, challenging, inflexible. Bronte is describing Adele in her resolute, challenging, inflexible happiness,excitement, and optimism that she could not suppress and which, to Mr Rochester, would have been annoying.

    Restrictive - preventing him from concentrating on the reason for the journey.

    so stern a neighbour was too restrictive to him, in his present fractious mood, she dared whisper no observations, nor ask of him any information. = such a resolutely and stubbornly happy neighbour did not allow him to be in the mood he wished to be, and as a consequence of Mr R's present fractious mood, she dared whisper no observations, nor ask of him any information.
     
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