something of unsubstantiality and uncertainty had beset my hopes

< Previous | Next >

Irelia20150604

Senior Member
Chinese
The quotation comes from Jane Eyre Chapter 24

Quotation: He was quite peremptory, both in look and voice. The chill of Mrs. Fairfax’s warnings, and the damp of her doubts were upon me: something of unsubstantiality and uncertainty had beset my hopes. I half lost the sense of power over him. I was about mechanically to obey him, without further remonstrance; but as he helped me into the carriage, he looked at my face.

Context: Mr. R refused Jane’s proposal to take Adèle with them. His peremptoriness reminded her of Mrs. Fairfax’s warning such as “Gentlemen in his station are not accustomed to marry their governesses”.
===
Hi everyone! I don’t quite understand the bold part. I try to interpret it as below. Is it correct?

Substantial => relating to “real and true” substance (existence), as compared to fancies
Unsubstantiality => being untrue and unreal

To beset => To trouble persistently from or as if from all sides:

Hope => my hope for (love and marriage). I think it is personified, as in my thread: which, if careless and choosing rather to be sought than to seek, was yet, in its very
Yes, the author is (again) personifying a characteristic (Mr Rochester's style of courtship) in a way that confuses the characteristic and its possessor.
The whole sentence => I cherished the hope for true love and happy marriage, but I had been continually annoyed by the suggestions that the love was somewhat (= something of) unrealistic and uncertain (similar with “doubtful”).
 
  • Irelia20150604

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    On reviewing the question, I find it difficult for me to associate "unsubstantiality and uncertainty" with "unsubstantial uncertainty" on my own. :( Where should I do the association? :(
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    She says there is a "something of unsubstantiality and uncertainty."
    The "something" is formless .. it is like having an idea in the back of your mind but you cannot quite give it form or shape. She senses his mood and Mrs F's doubts and together they create a vague feeling which attacks her hopes.
    You could say the unsubstantiality relates to the formless nature of attack and uncertainty is what it brings to her.

    I find this quite hard to be precise about because I like the "effect" of the words without breaking them down into more concrete parts.
    I wonder if, even as a learner, you cannot just let the poetic impact of these words "work" without having to gloss every single one in a very precise way. Which is particularly hard with a sentence about vague feelings.
     

    Irelia20150604

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thank you for your explanation. I'll learn to feel the "effect" and describe what I feel for the literal interpretation doesn't always work. :D

    Hmmm... It's a challenging job.
     

    Irelia20150604

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Are you translating this for a job, literally, or just for yourself?
    Just for myself. I need to peruse a classic English literature to improve my English and break the bottleneck. There is an imaginary reader indeed and "him" is myself. I interpret it to myself. :D I've encountered many cases where grammatical analyses and dictionaries doesn't work. So it's a challenging job!

    I don't dare to translate such a novel now. :D
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    If it just for yourself then you can afford to immerse yourself in the "sense" of some of these long winded sentences without totally grasping them all. It is how I read them, and I am a very experienced English speaker!

    I've said before thatI think it is great, what you are doing. I am sure you learn something unexpected from your daily chats in here as well as from the novel itself.
     

    Irelia20150604

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    If it just for yourself then you can afford to immerse yourself in the "sense" of some of these long winded sentences without totally grasping them all.
    Yes , you are right. But as a learner, my intuition often misleads me. It's often the case that what I feel is not what the author intends to convey. So I try to analyse it completely. And my English will be better when I try to rewrite or interpret the sentences.

    I'd say I cherish the progress from "I don't know" to "totally grasping" more than the result of "totally grasping". Jane Eyre is the perfect training ground for the progress. It's a powerful weapon with which I equip to deal with "unknow". I, as a English-learner, am destined to be confronted with many "unknown". How to tackle them? It's the first task for me.

    Yes, I've learned much in here as well as from the novel itself. Now I find it much easier to read New York Times, BBC, etc. My ability to explore "unknown" has been improved. Thank you all for the help. :D
     
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >
    Top