Rochester – Is he to be pitied?

AO5 – some theory on Rochester in WSS from Teresa O’Connor, Alan Richardson

Rochester is a creature of his culture and history and his motivation reflects both his engrained racial prejudice and the attitudes of his time to purity in women

Rochester clearly resents the female the female identified world around him. He is dependent on A here like Caliban in ‘The Tempest’.

Rochester demonstrates Victorian views on sex (she would) “moan and cry and give herself as no sane woman would.

Dehumanised, depersonalised, renamed – she becomes a helpless puppet.

Focus on Love, Lust and Marriage

Read pages 56-58 aloud – discuss the secret nature of night/hidden/away from societal expectations etc… Rochester says things he doesn’t mean – explore the concept of La petite mort in relation to sex and death. Rochester’s passion is ‘savage’ and lust filled. To A sex is about love/passion and connection.

Why does Rochester feel he was ‘tricked’ into marriage? (she’s different at night)

Describe the presentation of love and lust on p58 – Do you think A’ represents both? find quotations to support – find examples of Rochester’s lust and how it makes him feel afterwards – Context useful here.

What does Antoinette’s dialogue reveal – how is she characterised?

Student task – find five quotations from the text where you feel sympathy for Rochester and five where you feel disdain – explain your choices and Rhys techniques. Homework chart below: 

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