Thursday, March 6, 2014

Jane Eyre, Domestic Violence, and Sinjin

In Chapter XXXV of Jane Eyre, we discussed this passage:
“And you will not marry me!  You adhere to that resolution?”
Reader, do you know, as I do, what terror those cold people can put into the ice of their questions?  How much of the fall of the avalanche is in their anger? of the breaking up of the frozen sea in their displeasure?
“No.  St. John, I will not marry you.  I adhere to my resolution.”
The avalanche had shaken and slid a little forward, but it did not yet crash down.
“Once more, why this refusal?” he asked.
“Formerly,” I answered, “because you did not love me; now, I reply, because you almost hate me.  If I were to marry you, you would kill me.  You are killing me now.”
His lips and cheeks turned white—quite white.
I should kill youI am killing you?  Your words are such as ought not to be used: violent, unfeminine, and untrue.  They betray an unfortunate state of mind: they merit severe reproof: they would seem inexcusable, but that it is the duty of man to forgive his fellow even until seventy-and-seven times.”
I had finished the business now.  While earnestly wishing to erase from his mind the trace of my former offence, I had stamped on that tenacious surface another and far deeper impression, I had burnt it in.
“Now you will indeed hate me,” I said.  “It is useless to attempt to conciliate you: I see I have made an eternal enemy of you.”

What if Jane had married St. John?

Of course, we cannot predict what her marriage would be like - but this scene above could potentially foreshadow domestic violence in a hypothetical loveless marriage.

Watch the TEDtalk below. It begins:

I'm here today to talk about a disturbing question, which has an equally disturbing answer. My topic is the secrets of domestic violence, and the question I'm going to tackle is the one question everyone always asks: Why does she stay? Why would anyone stay with a man who beats her? I'm not a psychiatrist, a social worker or an expert in domestic violence. I'm just one woman with a story to tell.
0:46I was 22. I had just graduated from Harvard College. I had moved to New York City for my first job as a writer and editor at Seventeen magazine. I had my first apartment, my first little green American Express card, and I had a very big secret. My secret was that I had this gun loaded with hollow-point bullets pointed at my head by the man who I thought was my soulmate, many, many times. The man who I loved more than anybody on Earth held a gun to my head and threatened to kill me more times than I can even remember. I'm here to tell you the story of crazy love, a psychological trap disguised as love, one that millions of women and even a few men fall into every year. It may even be your story.

Frightening Facts: 

"Over 500 women and girls this age are killed every year by abusive partners, boyfriends, and husbands in the United States."

One in four. That, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, is how many women will be sexually assaulted during their college years. Read more.

On separate note: Why does the movie call St. John - Sinjin?

Thanks to Behind the Name:

Subject:Re: Sinjin
Author:Domhnall   (guest,
Date:March 6, 2004 at 12:44:07 AM
Reply to:Where is this name?! by Robyn
This has come up before, so I'm rephrasing another poster's solid response to the question:Sinjin is actually an attempt to represent phonetically the now rare name "St. John." As a given-name, "St. John" is sometimes pronounced as [SIN-jin] or [SIN-jun] in the UK. I presume this to be a relic of Norman-French origin (see also Sinclair for St. Claire).
Its spelling is not set in stone, I believe the forms Sinjin, Sinjun and Sinjon have been found.
The name has no 'meaning' in and of itself, but its usage is typically in honor of St. John the Baptist or St. John the Evangelist. 
Now I mention just for hilarity's sake, if you've ever seen "A View To A Kill," one of James Bond's aliases is 'St. John Smith.' When someone calls him [SAYNT-jon SMITH] he corrects with the riotously English pronunciation [Sin-jin SMYTHE].

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