Sailing to New Ports or Off to College

24 Jan

Chapter 11 finds Jane off to a new adventure.  She has advertised for a post as a governess, been accepted at a place called Thornfield, quits herself of the orphanage teacher position, and while riding in the coach toward Thornfield, muses thus:

It is a very strange sensation to inexperienced youth to feel itself quite alone in the world, cut adrift from every connection, uncertain whether the port to which it is bound can be reached, and prevented by many impediments from returning to that it has aquitted.   The charm of adventure sweetens that sensation, the glow of pride warms it; but the throb of fear disturbs it…


I found myself transported to August 1990.   Picture a giant station wagon pulling a trailer, both stuffed with just about every possession owned by two 18-year-old girls – oh, and sporting nifty little window signs (made by my aunt) screaming “River Forest or Bust!”   Yes, my best friend and I were off to college.   My parents dutifully helped us unload while my 5-year-old brother charmed my floor-mates by passing out home-made cookies.   I cheerfully waved them off, but in the back of my mind, the entire day had been one “very strange sensation” indeed.

“inexperienced youth” – Boy that was me – to a “T.”   Extremely sheltered for 18 years, now loose in the great city of Chicago.   Heady stuff.

“cut adrift from every connection” –  Home was very far away.

“uncertain whether the port to which it is bound can be reached” – Could I do this?   Would I be able to survive by myself, get a degree, get a job?

“prevented by many impediments from returning to that it has aquitted”  –  That full-ride scholarship for pre-med was turned down.  No returning.   A giant lake between me and my parents.   An even larger “gulf” between childhood and adulthood needing to be bridged.

“charm of adventure sweetens that sensation” – Oh, yes, it was sweet.   Exciting and alluring.  On one hand, I couldn’t wait to jump right in.

“the glow of pride warms it” – I did it!  Great scholarship, school of MY choosing, passed that AP test, got a job or two within a couple of days – oh yeah!

“but the throb of fear disturbs it”  – The little voice in the background whispering thoughts of potential failure.  What if college is as awful as high school?   What if you can’t pass the classes?  What if you don’t like education or can’t get a job?

I can think of several other times in my life where my thoughts have echoed Jane’s thoughts, but I’ll spare you every incidence.   This quote just really struck me as very true to life.   Even in the 1990’s.

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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Jane Eyre, The Blog


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