40 Voices Challenge #3

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Middle-aged man #1

The
third voice challenge shall be Edward Fairfax Rochester from Charlotte Brontë’s
novel, Jane Eyre.  As with voice
challenge #1, I am not familiar with this novel and will need to do some
research to better understand the chosen character. 

Sparknotes says Edward Rochester has a stern manner and
is not particularly handsome, but despite this he wins Jane’s heart because she
feels they are kindred spirits.
Cliffsnotes.com says Rochester’s life has been wild and dissipated, that
he is a passionate man guided by senses rather than his rational mind.  He is also an example of the Byronic Hero,
which is a variant on the romantic hero character-type.  

According to Wikipedia entry on the subject,
Byronic heroes share defining features.
This character was described by Lord Macaulay as “a man proud,
moody, cynical, with defiance on his brow, and misery in his heart, a scorner
of his kind, implacable in revenge, yet capable of deep and strong
affection”.

What kind of voice is Rochester supposed to have?  Where is he from?  How old is he?  He is the master of Thornfield Hall so we can
presume that he is well brought up and educated.   As the Byronic Hero features are also those
exemplified not only of characters but of Lord Byron himself, this supports the
idea that he was born into nobility and very well educated.

The final factor to defining his voice is the setting for
Jane Eyre, which according to Crossref-it takes place in the north of England at
locations in Derbyshire, Lancashire and Yorkshire. This was the area of England
most familiar to Charlotte Brontë, from the places where she had lived, been
educated and worked prior to the time she came to write Jane Eyre.  As to his age, he is in his mid to late
thirties or ‘twice Jane’s age’ when Jane is eighteen.

Let’s look at some examples of this character adapted for
media:

2011
movie
– this is an  upper-class
accent with a hint of a northern accent
in words such as “months”.  It
contrasts quite a bit with the far more regional accent of Jane Eyre.
2006
BBC series
– very
much a high class accent.
1983
BBC series

– there
is far more of a northern accent here.

OK, finally the Edward Rochester lines to say:

1) “My bride is here,” he said, again drawing me
to him, “because my equal is here, and my likeness. Jane, will you marry
me?”

2) “That is my wife,”
said he. “Such is the sole conjugal embrace I am ever to know—such are the
endearments which are to solace my leisure hours! And this is what I wished to have”
(laying his hand on my shoulder): “this young girl, who stands so grave
and quiet at the mouth of hell, looking collectedly at the gambols of a demon.
I wanted her just as a change after that fierce ragout (ragoo). Wood and Briggs, look at the difference! Compare these
clear eyes with the red balls yonder—this face with that mask—this form with
that bulk; then judge me, priest of the Gospel and man of the law, and
remember, with what judgement ye judge ye shall be judged!”

3) “Oh, don’t fall back on over-modesty! I have
examined Adèle, and find you have taken great pains with her: she is not
bright, she has no talents; yet in a short time she has made much
improvement.”

“Sir, you have given me my ‘cadeau’; I am obliged to
you: it is the meed teachers most covet; praise of their pupils’
progress.”

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