to grope an outlet from this cloud of doubt, and find the open day of certainty

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Irelia20150604

Senior Member
Chinese
The quotation comes from Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre (Chap. 36) | Genius

Quotation:“Meantime, watch and pray that you enter not into temptation: the spirit, I trust, is willing, but the flesh, I see, is weak. I shall pray for you hourly—Yours, St. John.”

“My spirit,” I answered mentally, “is willing to do what is right; and my flesh, I hope, is strong enough to accomplish the will of Heaven, when once that will is distinctly known to me. At any rate, it shall be strong enough to search—inquire—to grope an outlet from this cloud of doubt, and find the open day of certainty.”
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Hi everyone! I don’t quite understand the bold sentence. I try to interpret it as below. Is it correct?

Outlet => 1. A passage for escape or exit; a vent. outlet

The literal meaning => to search uncertainly a passage though which I can escape this cloud of doubt, and find the open day f certainty.

The essential meaning => I try to settle the doubts and know with certainty the will of God.
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    You have carried over the meaning of the preceding sentence, which is not part of the bolded part. Jane neither likes nor shares St John's view of religion*:

    and my willpower, I hope, is strong enough to accomplish the will of Heaven, as soon as I find out what that is. Regardless of that uncertainty, my willpower will be strong enough to search—inquire—to struggle to find a way out of an outlet from this cloud of doubt, and find the the clarity of knowing what to do.

    * "Jane Eyre" is set somewhere around 1815, although it was written c. 1848. In 1815, and prior to that date, religion had been heavily based upon the need to be "more than simply "good." It had been commonly (but not always) enforced by threats of terror after death for those who did not do everything God said in the Bible. This is the fundamentalism that we rarely now see in the West.

    By 1848, the attitude of religion had started to change: It was the "softening" of Christianity. God was seen as a caring father who only wanted the best for his children (us) and was not a psychopath who was violently disposed towards us - a god who saw everything in black or white - but was more "a little disappointed" if we did not, at least, try to be reasonable and helpful to each other in our lives.

    St John represents the fundamentalist - Jane is the reasonable person.
     

    Irelia20150604

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    On viewing your explanation, I have a question:
    God was seen as a caring father who only wanted the best for his children (us)
    I'm unsure I've understood your explanation. Do you mean "a caring father who only wanted his children to do the best things"?

    I've found What exactly does 'i only want the best for you' mean? which tells me "I only want the best for you" has two meaning. So I'm uncertain now. :D

    "our phrase has two meanings. One : for example, when a father tells his daughter, " I only want the best for you, " he may try to deter her from doing something that he doesn't approve of. Two :
    the second meaning is that the statement is sincere ; for example, when a loving husband gifts an expensive diamond to his wife and says, " I only want the best for you, " he is real, sincere, genuine. He loves her a lot"
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    God was seen as a caring father who only wanted his children (us) to have the best things, i.e. eternal life in Paradise after death, and during our lifetime He would help us.
     
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