Poetry in Jane
While reading novels, I occasionally discover
passages that fit a clear rhyme/rhythm scheme. This makes me wonder whether they were meant to be [hidden] poetry,
or whether the author had a subconscious poetic muse.
One passage in Jane Eyre caught my eye this way. Starting with the third-from-last paragraph of
Chapter 2, a brief conversation between young Jane and Mrs. Reed runs as follows (with my line
"Oh aunt, have pity! Forgive
I cannot endure it — let me
punished some other way! I shall be killed if
"Silence! This violence is all most
"Coincidence," I hear you thinking, and I initially
thought the same. The "me/be" rhyme is happenstance; the "be killed if/repulsive" semi-rhyme could easily be
But what of the "Silence/violence" rhyme nestled in
the final line, within a perfectly consistent rhythm pattern? Having so many rhymes arrayed so poetically smacks of
Read it aloud, stressing the syllables I've
underlined below, and you too may wonder about Bronte's intentions.
aunt [pause] have
pity! Forgive me!
cannot endure it —
let me be
punished some other way! I shall be killed if —
Silence, this vi'lence is all most repulsive:
The first two lines have a "da DUM da" pattern,
which is known less colloquially as "amphibrachic meter." The last two lines go "DUM da da" — "dactylic meter."
(I'm no poet; I learned those terms while researching this passage.)
Admittedly, in the second line, "let" would more
naturally be stressed than "me." Does that cast serious doubt on my hidden-poetry theory?
To conclude: a poetic stanza appears to be
concealed within Jane Eyre. Just my imagination? Or a purposely
hidden treat? What do you think?