Title: Jane Eyre
Author: Charlotte Bronte
Favorite quote: “Reader, I married him.”
Warning: spoilers are unavoidable in this post. Also, this is a bit of a “why you should read the novel even if you’ve seen one of the films” post.
I had bought my copy of Jane Eyre quite a while ago but hadn’t actually gotten around to finishing it until just recently (which is because I have an enormous TBR pile already). Although I’ve known the story since I watched the film with my mom (2011), reading the novel was entirely different. There’s something that was missing from the movie… I know exactly what it was – Jane’s snippy first person narrative.
First person pov is absolutely my favorite to read. Bronte was one of the first to really bring that alive, especially for female voices in literature. For that reason alone, Jane Eyre is truly an incredible read historically speaking. Jane’s thoughts are so bright and vivid, even in the darkest of times in her life; to be a woman in Victorian England offered little prospect of adventure and mobility, but that never caged her thoughts. (Yes, that is a reference.) The struggles of women in society, especially those who did not have the wealth or social standing which would allow them not to work, are great in number and description in the novel. It really is a thoughtful insight to female Victorian life.
Love stories are also a particular favorite of mine: their gravity just brings me to them. Like I’d already said, I had known the story before. However, even that didn’t help prepare me for Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester. I’d discussed this with my professor and was able to sort through my thoughts properly enough to form this firm opinion: Mr. Rochester didn’t deserve Jane when she first fell in love with him. By the end of the novel, however, he was dealt a lesson in humility by fate (and quite a nasty fire set to Thornfield) that brought him down from the pedestal that he’d built for himself – this is what finally and truly allowed them each to see the other as their equal. The positions of dependent and independent had been switched and all was right. I honestly believe that if Jane had stayed with Mr. Rochester and married him on the proposed day, even if it weren’t to be in sin, they would not have had a happy marriage. No one will sway me from my opinion, but I would be interested in the opinions of others!
Finally, I loved the ending. Yes, all of the content in the epilogue was pretty much new to me, but that isn’t what I’m talking about. I’d known that Jane had had the two sets of cousins, but never before had I matched them up. In the end, Jane had the two female cousins whom she regarded as sisters and the male cousin whom she regarded as a brother that she should have had from the very beginning. They were so parallel in the book, but I hadn’t ever realized it during the film. Jane Eyre’s entire life came full circle to the happiness that she should had as a child but had found/made as an adult.
The whole novel is beautifully written. There’s far too much that’s good about it for me to list, so instead, I’ll just say that I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. It’s not the typical love story for helpless romantics: there’s something there for everyone.
Just read the book. It’s amazing and you won’t regret it.