Yesterday I declared Jane Eyre to be a superhero and specifically described her super power: Super powerful nostril and brow identification
But all superhero fans know that with almost every super power comes a super weakness.
Like Superman. The fact that he comes from the planet Krypton gives him his remarkable powers here on Earth, yet Kryptonite (a chunk of rock from his now-defunct planet of Krypton) rids him of his powers and is potentially lethal to him.
Classic superhero motif.
I am Mr. Indestructible. I cannot be killed (having been brought back from death twice already) nor can I be bruised (never once in my entire life), yet I tend to be hurt all the time. Golfer’s elbow. Separated shoulders. Bad knees. Frequent concussions.
Strength and weakness tied together. Get it?
And so it turns out that Jane Eyre also has a weakness, though sadly it does not tie in well with her unique powers of observation.
Rather, Jane is ultra-super-mega hypoglycemic and prone to whining about her condition to no one in particular.
The girl can’t miss a meal without falling apart.
After fleeing Thornfield Manor by coach, she finds herself alone and destitute in the English countryside.
Less than 24 hours later, she is nearly dead from starvation.
Despite her ability to accurately appraise one’s countenance and disposition based solely upon nostril and brow, the girl cannot survive more than a day with food.
And thus her super weakness.
Note the following, self-described soliloquy:
“My strength is quite failing me,” I said in a soliloquy. “I feel I cannot go much farther. Shall I be an outcast again this night? While the rain descends so, must I lay my head on the cold, drenched ground? I fear I cannot do otherwise: for who will receive me? But it will be very dreadful, with this feeling of hunger, faintness, chill, and this sense of desolation—this total prostration of hope. In all likelihood, though, I should die before morning. And why cannot I reconcile myself to the prospect of death? Why do I struggle to retain a valueless life? Because I know, or believe, Mr. Rochester is living: and then, to die of want and cold is a fate to which nature cannot submit passively. Oh, Providence! sustain me a little longer! Aid!—direct me!”
My glazed eye wandered over the dim and misty landscape. I saw I had strayed far from the village: it was quite out of sight. The very cultivation surrounding it had disappeared. I had, by cross-ways and by-paths, once more drawn near the tract of moorland; and now, only a few fields, almost as wild and unproductive as the heath from which they were scarcely reclaimed, lay between me and the dusky hill.
“Well, I would rather die yonder than in a street or on a frequented road,” I reflected. “And far better that crows and ravens—if any ravens there be in these regions—should pick my flesh from my bones, than that they should be prisoned in a workhouse coffin and moulder in a pauper’s grave.”
And all this after less than a day without food!
If you’ve ever read Jasper Fforde’s THE EYRE AFFAIR (and you should), you’ll understand what I mean when I wish Thursday Next would pop into this section of the book (as she does in so many other sections of the novel) and say something like:
“Ravens picking flesh from your bones? Dying before morning? C’mon woman! You’ve been without food for less than a day! And this is Victorian, England! Not Miami Beach! It’s not like you weigh 86 pounds soaking wet! Pull yourself together, you sad sack of humanity! You make me sick!”
I still like Jane. I like her a lot.
But based upon her condition, I don’t think I’d ever date her.