En garde! (Isn’t that what one says when fencing – with a foil? See there – I found another definition for “foil.”)
OK, so I’ve been told we are trying to wrap up posts on Jane Eyre so that we can begin The Scarlet Letter. I was planning on drawing this out a bit, but here are a couple more foils for you to ponder. Now that you are familiar with the concept of “foiling,” perhaps you can look for more foils in The Scarlet Letter.
1. Blanche Ingram is a foil for Jane.
Ahhh, Blanche. The woman we love to hate. She is everything (physically) that Jane is not – beautiful, accomplished, statuesque, and we might even add a few non-physical traits such as wealthy and titled. She would make a perfect companion for Rochester, right? I think both Jane and Rochester try to convince themselves that she would be, but, to our great delight, their efforts prove futile and Jane and Rochester end up together instead. Blanche does serve several purposes in the novel, however, one of which is serving as a foil for Jane.
2. St. John is a foil for Rochester.
In researching for our wrap-up on Jane Eyre, I discovered that the correct pronunciation for St. John is “sin-gin.” Isn’t that weird?! I can’t even say it correctly when I try, because “Saint John” is too firmly etched in my brain. And on another totally unrelated note, the biblical St. John is exiled to Patmos, just like our character St. John is “exiled” to India. Maybe that’s why Ms. Bronte chose his name. Back to the point, St. John is polite (to a fault), restrained, tall and blonde (“stone-like”), religious (in a very zealous, law-oriented way), and outwardly “sinless.” Rochester is short, dark, outspoken, impolite, not religious at all (for most of the novel), and has many obvious faults (along with at least one not-so-obvious one). St. John, in all his golden “perfection,” makes Rochester’s dark passions all the more obvious and perhaps makes us sympathize with and root for the less-than-perfect man due to the faults we see in ourselves.
Now away from literary criticism and back to our Regularly Scheduled Programming. Thanks for bearing with me! All feedback welcome. Do you see any other foils in Jane Eyre?