Thursday, September 17, 2009

My thoughts on Jane Eyre

I thoroughly enjoyed this month's selection for Bella's Bookshelf! My enthusiasm waned while reading The Prince and the Pauper last month, and to be honest, I never even finished it. And while I loved Little Women the month before, that really touched my heart as a mother more than as a woman and a reader. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, as Little Women will always stick with me, but it was sometimes quite convicting to read the way Marmee handled herself with her daughters and in her situations compared to the way I handle those things.

Jane Eyre was a completely different experience! I had a hard time getting into the story at first. I see this to be a trend, and I'm not sure if that's a personality issue with me, or whether it's a reflection on the differences in the way books were written in years past compared to now. I think now, in general, a book has to grab the reader quickly to maintain his or her attention! There are so many things competing with books that are much faster-paced and that can be much more exciting. Or maybe it's a function of classical literature as a whole? I will have to pay attention during next month's selection, which was published in 1960 - relatively modern compared to our readings to this point!

I was afraid when I started reading Jane Eyre that we were in for another Oliver Twist: one bad thing happening after another. And I couldn't comprehend why the aunt and cousins were so mean to Jane. Once Jane left for school and made friends with Helen, I was quite intrigued. Once she decided to advertise for a governess position, accepted the one at Thornfield and moved there, and then met Adele, I was hooked!

I absolutely loved the way Charlotte Bronte wrote this novel, in the first person narrative but almost something more... it was as if Jane invited us into the room and while the action was going on, she would stop for a moment and do some additional explaining. Here is my favorite example:

"He spread the pictures before him, and again surveyed them alternately. While he is so occupied, I will tell you, reader, what they are: and first I must premise that they are nothing wonderful." (Chapter 13)

I thought this was great and served to draw me even deeper into the story! (I think I'm going to have to devote an entire post to my favorite quotations from this book! There are so many wonderful ones!!)

I was as confused as Jane, I believe, when Mr. Rochester told her that it was she who wanted to marry, and right away! And I was devastated along with her upon learning of the existence of Bertha Rochester. And then my heart completely broke when Jane left Thornfield. I truly cried and cried.

How I love a happy ending, though! And how I love a mysterious situation like the one where Jane hears Edward's voice calling to her, then we learn later that he had indeed called to her, and he heard her voice answering back! That was right up my alley!

I know there is more I want to discuss, but it's escaping me at the moment! I guess I'll come back to it when I remember!

In my next post, I will share the ways Jane Eyre reminded me of the Twilight series, specifically New Moon.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

I think you are on target about modern books drawing you in right away. If you'll consider older movies with very slow introductions and then compare them to the explosions or mid-story crisis that most current movies begin with, you can see a similar trend.