by Charlotte Bronte
- Date finished: Oct. 6, 2013
- Genre: Fiction
- Year: 1847
- Project: Favorites Project
- Reading List: Fall 2013
- Grade: A
- Thoughts upon finishing:
It took me more than a month to finish this book, which at times, was really annoying. And it wasn’t like I read it in tiny bits either. Jane had already left Lowood and made it to Thornfield after a few sittings, and then I power-read through the proposal scene because, well, Mr. Rochester. But it took me forever to make it through the wedding, and then to get to the Moor House segment. UGH.
And yet, I guess if I had to spend a month reading a book, I guess it’s a good thing it was Jane Eyre because it really is one of my favorite books. I wish I could say it’s because of some high, literary reason, but really, it’s because of the romance. Oh, the romance! Mr. Rochester is not the perfect man – he is definitely no Mr. Darcy – but he is nothing if not appealing. I had some thoughts at some point in September about Mr. Rochester – something about his imperfections and flaws – and how that compares with the more morally ideal romantic heroes, like Mr. Darcy.
But alas, I have forgotten all those wonderful, smart-making thoughts and am left with just that general, satisfied feeling of, “Mmm, that was good.” I guess there’s no better way to feel after finishing a book, especially one that I’m not afraid to admit I like because of the story instead of all the literary “elements” that comprise it. That isn’t to say the book isn’t a wonderful piece of fiction. Jane is a remarkable woman: she’s brave, intelligent, outspoken, diligent and hard-working, compassionate and uncompromising when it comes to doing the right thing. Jane is faced with two insanely difficult choices during the book, but chooses the paths she knows to be right, even if it breaks her heart. Her quote, “I must respect myself,” is one of my favorites, and poor Jane really isn’t given the respect she deserves as a feminist hero.
But maybe that’s because she eventually goes back to Mr. Rochester? Because she falls so head over heels in love? But really, what woman hasn’t fallen in love? What woman, even strong, independent types, find themselves loving one other human being more than any other in the world? What I like about Jane Eyre is that it actually delves into what it’s like being in love – all the dirty, jealous, complicated bits – all the while trying to come to terms with yourself and figure out the path that will best make you happy as well. Sure it’s a little silly in its high-romance. (A young governess moves to a mysterious, dark manor house and falls in love with the broody but handsome master…but wait! There’s a madwoman in the attic!) But you know what, it also feels very real, and thankfully, Charlotte Bronte is able to pull the whole thing off without feeling too ridiculous or melodramatic (like Wuthering Heights). In the end, I like Jane and Edward Rochester. I cheer for them. They have their flaws, but there’s also compromise as well as the desire to change for the good and betterment of each other. Isn’t that how real relationships are?
Now, I think I need to 1) watch the Jane Eyre movie with Michael Fassbender (mmmm, Michael Fassbender) and 2) read a new book!