Finally, I’m going backwards to the scenes surrounding Jane and Rochester’s wedding day, and tying those into the repeated reflections of Jane in Bertha and in Rochester himself.
Several times throughout the novel, Jane’s true feelings escape the barriers she sets around them; she first lets her true feelings free when she expresses her anger at Mrs. Reed, forms barriers under the influence of Miss Temple, then has a surge of emotion after Miss Temple leaves Lowood to marry, and then much later when she weeps in the orchard at Thornfield. Jane describes this as “I said—or something in me said for me, and in spite of me….” I’m not the only one to make a connection between this and Bertha’s insanity! I also think you can make a connection with Rochester, who is constantly battling between what society says is required of him, and what he needs to survive with a whole soul. “It would not be wicked to love me,” he says, and she replies, “It would to obey you.” This is reinforced, later, with St. John Rivers–it would be wicked for her to marry him when he did not love her, and when he would allow only obedience from her. Jane is right when she decides that would result in her death, either physical or of the soul.
Jane and Rochester both have turbulent needs, and need the other both for self-mastery and to allow freedom of their souls. Rochester says, “You master me,” and Jane makes of him “an idol” while still struggling to maintain her selfhood. They understand each other very well, particularly in their flaws; more than once Rochester expresses Jane’s thoughts, and she reads his motives and moods with uncanny skill. They’re both very manipulative! The ultimate expression of Jane’s selfhood is when she leaves Rochester, reinforcing that she cannot let him compromise her principles, which to her are equivalent to sanity. She says, “I care for myself.” (It’s interesting that she is physically opposite to Bertha. Jane is tiny and pale, Bertha is big and corpulent, and compared to Blanche Ingram, who is “dark” with olive skin and dark hair.)
Mirrors: when Bertha appears in Jane’s room to destroy the fancy wedding veil Rochester had bought, Jane sees Bertha’s reflection in the mirror. Back in the Red Room where her Uncle Reed died, child-Jane notes that the mirror world looks “colder and darker.” On the morning of the wedding, Sophie makes Jane look in the mirror. Jane sees “almost the image of a stranger” in dress and veil, the plain veil Jane had made herself. She dreams of the Red Room again, and of the Moon as a Mother; perhaps in the mirror’s other world?
After Bertha’s existence is revealed to Jane, and Rochester is telling his story, it’s a really long monologue at times, very tell not show! That section gives a different pov on many preceding events; the Male Other reveals his thoughts so he’s no longer a “romantic” mystery, ironic because in most other ways Jane already knows him so well. They are so close, in fact, that the supernatural event of her hearing his heartfelt cry of “Jane! Jane! Jane!” is believable. (Jane attributes this event to Nature itself, which I find interesting; it could possibly be linked to the Moon as mother.)
Rochester and Jane being separated for a time is repeated often in romance novels that follow; the couple must be severed for a time, reminded of their solo selves, before they can truly be together as equals.
Finally, near the novel’s end, when Jane is walking through the forest towards Ferndean, I couldn’t help but think the description of the path was very vulvic, or perhaps symbolic of the deep emotional depths of the psyche: “grass-grown track descending the forest aisle, between hoar and knotty shafts and under branches arches…it stretched on and on, it wound far and farther…all was interwoven stem, columnar tunk, dense, summer foliage–no opening anywhere.” Deep within Jane is her connection to Rochester, and his to her. It’s a good thing they end up together.