BOOK REVIEW #7: JANE EYRE by CHARLOTTE BRONTë

jane eyreOh ho ho, it has been a while. I blame graduating college (congratulations are welcome). But don’t worry, I have kept reading! I am caught up to my twenty-second year and have two more books to add today. They may seem random, the only theme I can pull them together with is that I saw the ‘movie version’ before I read the ‘book version’ of both of these works.

Rating: 

My favorite movie is Psycho(1960). I have always loved horror movies, so this should not come as a surprise to anyone who really knows me. I realized Psycho was my favorite movie about halfway through the movie, before I had even finished it (and gotten to the twist ending!). Before this, I had always stated a number of movies as my ‘favorites,’ without ever really having one to pick. It was the same for books, I have always listed off several when someone asked me what is my favorite, knowing that I am a book lover. So I figured one day I would be reading a book and suddenly, halfway through, would realize it was my favorite. This finally happened with Jane Eyre. 

I have seen both the 2006 mini-series version and the 2011 film version, and I loved both. However, I always expected there was more to the story, more depth and feeling that I was missing by not reading the book. One day after watching the 2011 film version (with my number 1 celebrity crush, Michael Fassbender), I was inspired to finally pick the book up.

What truly won me over about Jane Eyre, was the titular character herself. Jane is intelligent, passionate, individualistic, moralistic, and solitary. I confess that I found myself connecting to Jane more than I have with any other fictional character. I too am extremely independent, not willing to let my passionate emotions overtake my sense of logical rationality. Jane wishes for more than her life has given her. She does not resent her family, her upbringing, or those around her who do not treat her with civility or kindness. Instead she strives to achieve, to become independent through good work she enjoys.

Through this search for independence, of course, comes along an epic romance. Mr. Rochester is the Byronic Hero to a fault. He is endlessly described as ugly, not handsome, but something about him is certainly attractive. His connection to Jane comes through their similarity of situation. They are both intelligent, feeling, and passionate creatures who have been forced to take the facade of a different stereotype. Rochester plays the brooding, almost wild gentleman while Jane plays the demure, silent governess. Their peculiarity sets them apart from others, and draws them to one another.

Of course all these things above have been said again and again about Jane Eyre. There is more to be said about what struck me individually about the novel. First, I enjoyed the first third of the book more than I expected. Most adaptations pass over Jane’s upbringing at Gateshead and her time at Lowood, as they seem to find her time with Rochester the most interesting and important. I confess I loved the parts at Lowood. I loved Helen Burns character. In the movies and tv series she is always shown to be kind and Christian, however her character is so much more interesting in the book. Helen follows her Christian ideals of forgiveness and salvation completely, she surrenders no feelings of ill will when things in her life do not go well.

I also loved the portion where Jane stays with the Rivers’ and gains true independence through her own employment. This also was never fully explored in adaptations. I was fascinated by the character St. John Rivers, with his devotion and strident belief in doing good work and never giving a moment to idleness. I thought his love for Rosamund Oliver was very interesting (though, again, never explored in adaptations), and was included to show his true character.

In the end, Jane gains her deux-ex-machina fortune, which enables her to be truly independent (though I could argue that she was already independent as a teacher in Morton) and is drawn supernaturally back to Rochester who is miraculously single. I love the ending. I love how she is not subservient or lesser than her husband. Indeed, in the end Jane is greater than Rochester. She has her own independent fortune and he must depend on her for sight and care.

Favorite Scene: 

Another difficult one, but I suppose the scene I am destined to read over and over is the proposal scene. What can I say, at my heart I am a true romantic. Even knowing that their marriage is not to be…yet….I love the proposal. The language used by Rochester and Jane is beautiful and peculiar. I love how she does not believe him at first and states that she doubts him entirely in his love. It is quirky and lovely.

Book # 8: Watchmen by Alan Moore

As I stated earlier, I have already finished this and have only to write the summary and thoughts! Apologies for never reading The Catcher in the Rye.

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