English 391W: Dreams

Jane Eyre’s Dreams: An Index

March 16, 2010 · No Comments

Some of my former students complied this index of dreams and dreamlike states in Jane Eyre. It’s long (!)–and divided into three sections: “Direct References to Literal Dreams,” “Daydreaming, Reverie, and Waking Dreams,” and “Visions and Other Intimations of the Supernatural.” Take a look. If you find a reference that’s not listed here, let me know and we can add it.

Jane Eyre’s Dreams: An Index

Direct References to Literal Dreams

14 (C3): The beginning of chapter three opens with Jane waking and thinking she had a nightmare.
[Ramos]

37 (C5):  During Jane’s first night at Lowood, “the night passed rapidly: I was too tired even to dream.” [Yu] Jane Eyre says that she is “too tired even to dream,” which implies that it is an action consciously chosen, or at very least, that it doesn’t happen when one is exhausted. [Chen]

63 (C9): Dreams, fantasy- Jane uses dreams to compensate for that which she cannot obtain in real life:
That night, on going to bed, I forgot to prepare in imagination the Barmecide supper of hot roast potatoes, or white bread and new milk, with which I was wont to amuse my inward cravings:  I feasted instead on the spectacle of ideal drawings, which I saw in the dark; all the work of my own hands:  freely pencilled houses and trees, picturesque rocks and ruins, Cuyp-like groups of cattle, sweet paintings of butterflies hovering over unblown roses, of birds picking at ripe cherries, of wren’s nests enclosing pearl-like eggs, wreathed about with young ivy sprays.  I examined, too, in thought, the possibility of my ever being able to translate currently a certain little French story which Madame Pierrot had that day shown me; nor was that problem solved to my satisfaction ere I fell sweetly asleep.  [Rice]

131 (C16): “It is hardly likely master would laugh, I should think, Miss, when he was in such danger: you must have been dreaming.
‘I was not dreaming,’ I said, with some warmth, for her brazen coolness provoked me.” [Simon]

176 (C20): “’A servant has had the nightmare;  that is all.  She’s an excitable, nervous person;  she construed her dream into an apparition, or something of that sort, no doubt;  and has taken a fit with fright….”  [Cheshire]

176 (C20): “…it was not a servant’s dream which had struck horror through the house….”   -[Cheshire]

188 (C21): “When I was a little girl, only six years old, I, one night, heard Bessie Leaven say to Martha Abbot that she had been dreaming about a little child; and that to dream of children was a sure sign of trouble, either to one’s self or one’s kin.  …Of late I had often recalled this saying and this incident;  for during the past week scarcely a night had gone  over my couch that had not brought with it a dream of an infant…. I did not like this iteration of one idea—this strange recurrence of one image;  and I grew nervous as bedtime approached, and the hour of the vision grew near.” [Cheshire]

198 (C21): “…and I dream sometimes that I see him laid out with a great wound in his throat, or a swollen and blackened face.” [Cheshire]

207 (C22): “I dreamt of Miss Ingram…me” [Conroy]

240 (C25): “‘No, no, sir, besides…real happiness.’” (Jane recounts her night’s dreams to Rochester.) [Conroy] Jane tells Mr. Rochester of a dream she had.  In the dream, Jane felt her “movements were fettered.” [Wargas]

241-3 (C25): “‘I dreamt another dream…without a word?’” (Jane recounts another “dream” to Rochester.) [Conroy] Jane also tells of another dream: “that Thornfield Hall was a dreary ruin.”  She describes the dream further. [Wargas]

244 (C25): “‘The night is…future day.’”  (Rochester predicts Jane will dream of “happiness and union” during the coming night.) [Conroy]

253 (C27):  “That I am not Edward Rochester’s…entirely, is intolerable”(literally a broken dream) [Oliver]

272 (C27): Jane dreams of her night in the red room at Gateshead. “That night I never thought to sleep….’Mother, I will'” (dream described in text) [Oliver; Moriarty]

312: (C32):  Jane literally dreams at night of being with Mr. Rochester (middle of second paragraph). [Bain] Jane has dreams about being in Rochester’s arms, “touching his hand and cheek, loving him, being loved by him.” At this period of my life, my heart far oftener swelled with thankfulness than sank with dejection: and yet, reader, to tell you all, in the midst of this calm, this useful existence–after a day passed in honourable exertion amongst my scholars, an evening spent in drawing or reading contentedly alone–I used to rush into strange dreams at night: dreams many-coloured, agitated, full of the ideal, the stirring, the stormy–dreams where, amidst unusual scenes, charged with adventure, with agitating risk and romantic chance, I still again and again met Mr. Rochester, always at some exciting crisis; and then the sense of being in his arms, hearing his voice, meeting his eye, touching his hand and cheek, loving him, being loved by him–the hope of passing a lifetime at his side, would be renewed, with all its first force and fire. Then I awoke. Then I recalled where I was, and how situated. Then I rose up on my curtainless bed, trembling and quivering; and then the still, dark night witnessed the convulsion of despair, and heard the burst of passion. By nine o’clock the next morning I was punctually opening the school; tranquil, settled, prepared for the steady duties of the day.” [Rose; Ali]

361-2 (C36): As Jane looks towards Thornfield Hall, she alludes to a dream that she had back in chapter 25.  In this dream, she has a vision of Thornfield Hall in ruins.  In chapter 36, it seems, her dream has almost come to life.  As she observes, Thornfield itself has “crashed in”, since it has “no roof, no battlements, [and] no chimneys.” [Hussain]

Daydreaming, Waking Dreams, Reverie
6 (C1): Lines beginning with “Of these death-white realms…” This is a moment where she is tucked away from the world (and her antagonistic superiors) and is allowed to let her imagination soar through reading. [Ramos]

11 (C2): Jane says she has to “stem a rapid rush of retrospective thought before [she] quailed to the dismal present.” This gives an indication she was daydreaming. [Ramos]

12 (C2):  Jane begins lines with “Unjust!—Unjust!” and stems totally away from the presents and rants and raves about how different she is, and how unfairly she is treated. Almost instantaneously she thrusts the reader back into the present with “Daylight began to forsake the red-room[…] but for instant we got into her daydreaming of her current condition. [Ramos]

31 (C4): After Jane has a confrontation with Mrs. Reed, she’s distracted and not able to concentrate on her book; “I could make no sense of the subject; my own thoughts swam always between me and the page I had usually found fascinating.” [Yu]

43-4 (C5): While Helen Burn’s is being punished, Jane notices that Helen seems to be daydreaming; “She looks as if she were thinking of something beyond her punishment – beyond her situation: of something not round her nor before her.  I have heard of day-dreams – is she in a day-dream now?” [Yu; Chen]

47-50 (C6):  There are many references to dreams and daydreams in this conversation between Jane and Helen:

a. Helen describes how her mind wanders during lessons; “Now, mine continually rove     away: when I should be listening to Miss Scatcherd…I fall into a sort of dream…This     afternoon, instead of dreaming of Deepden, I was wondering how a man who wished to do     right could act so unjustly and unwisely as Charles the First”

b. During their conversation, Jane notices that Helen is sometimes talking to herself; Helen     almost seems as if she’s in a hypnotic state:
“Helen was talking to herself now” (48)
“She wished no longer to talk to me, but rather to converse with her own thoughts.” (50)
“Helen sighed as her reverie fled” (50) [Yu]

48 (C6): Helen Burns falls into a sort of dream constantly. Sometimes she thinks she is in Northumberland and hears the speaking of those around her as the bubbling water of a brook. It is as if her dream is super-imposed over the reality, or perhaps that is what her “day-dreaming” entails. [Chen]

67 (C9): Jane contemplates oblivion:
I was noting these things and enjoying them as a child might, when it entered my mind as it had never done before:-
“‘How sad to be lying now on a sick bed, and to be in danger of dying!  This world is pleasant — it would be dreary to be called from it, and to have to go who knows where?’”
And then my mind made its first earnest effort to comprehend what had been infused into it concerning heaven and hell; and for the first time it recoiled, baffled; and for the first time glancing behind, on each side, and before it, it saw all round an unfathomed gulf:  it felt the one point where it stood — the present; all the rest was formless cloud and vacant depth; and it shuddered at the thought of tottering, and plunging amid that chaos. [Rice]

71-2 (C10): […] more harmonious thoughts: what seemed better regulated feelings had become the inmates of my mind. […] I walked about the chamber most of the time. I imagined myself only to be regretting my loss, and thinking how to repair it; but