Bois de Boulogne

Aristocrats meeting at the Bois de BoulogneChapter fifteen of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre lures readers deeper into the mind and character of Mr. Edward Rochester. Throughout the chapter, Rochester begins to show Jane more hospitality and share details about his life with her. While explaining his guardianship over Adela Varens to Jane, he recalls his relationship with her mother, Céline, and how their relationship ended upon his discovery of her involvement with another man. Rochester describes arranging an appointment with the vicomte for "a meeting at the Bois de Boulogne" where he shoots the man in the arm (Brontë ch. 15). The Bois de Boulogne is a large, lush park area on the western edge of Paris, France. Prior to the Revolution of 1789, this mass of land was controlled by the British monarchy and preserved as a private hunting ground (Hopkins 1970). Aristocrats would often meet at the Bois de Boulogne to hunt, socialize, or perform the occasional duel. Though Rochester's altercation with the vicomte could be considered a duel, it is important to note that his shot was not fatal, nor did he intend it to be. Rochester's intention was not to kill the vicomte; it was to settle a matter of honor. Dr. John Leigh of the University of Cambridge writes that the duellist "fights not for gain from his adversary but to declare who he is or what he is" (qtd. in "To the Death"). Rochester settling for injury rather than death suggests that he values his honor and wishes to maintain power but refuses to abandon his morals and exercise pure domination. He demands his respect while preserving human life. Brontë's inclusion of this detail highlights the nobility of Rochester's character while placing the character within a Parisian setting that still stands. 


Works Cited

Hopkins, Richard S. "From Place to Escape: Napoleon III's Transformation of the Bois De Boulogne." Proceedings of the Western Society for French History, Michigan Publishing, University of Michigan Library, 1 Jan. 1970,

"To the Death." University of Cambridge, 13 July 2015,


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