Hello dear readers,
I am someone who feels anxious about having unread books in my own bookshelf. I feel that if you buy a book, or are gifted one, then you must read it at least within the year. So every book I own, I have read, except for about a handful. Those unread tittles make me itch with anxiety whenever I remember them sitting alone and unread on my shelf. So in an attempt to start reading those unread books, I picked up Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Now, I have mentioned in a previous post that I love classics, but I had never gotten around to reading Jane Eyre, even in high school which is when most people read it.
So what brought Jane Eyre to my bookshelf? I was in the mood for a nice romantic movie one day while looking through Netflix and I came across the 2011 film Jane Eyre. I am a huge fan of Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender, so of course I gave it a watch. And I am glad I did because I really loved it. It had all the elements of a great movie, an orphan girl with a troubling childhood, a brooding handsome man in love with a plain girl, a mystery, and a happy ending. So since I enjoyed the movie so much, I become interested in reading the book. Because as soon as I find a movie is based on a book I must read it, knowing it will be a million times better.
I believe in the law of attraction, any ideas and thoughts we set fourth come back to us in many different ways. A few weeks after watching Jane Eyre I took to visiting my local thrift store. I love looking through the old books hoping to find a hidden gem. I had completely forgotten that I had wanted to read Jane Eyre, when the tittle popped out to me while looking through the bookshelves. Sure this book isn’t on top of many peoples reading list and it’s not that surprising to find it in a thrift store. It’s an old story that many people no longer relate to, but I felt it was the universe reminding me that I wanted to read it.
So as I mentioned earlier, this book I had longed for remained unread in my book shelf for more than a year! Yes, when I came home from the thrift store that day I attempted to read the book, but I found myself being bored by the Victorian way of speaking and writing. I set it down and didn’t revisit it. I am somewhat glad I ignored it that day, because I think I was meant to read it when I did. Last week I picked up Jane Eyre and was totally engrossed by it. I have not felt this way about a book in a very long time. I was feeling so many emotions. I was laughing, crying of sadness and happiness, I was stirred by the love story, and was an anxious wreck whenever a suspenseful part came about. It may appear as just a simple story about a plain girl’s life; but in that, we encounter so much more than expected. We find Jane Eyre is anything but plain and her character and sense of self really grab the reader.
Jane was a true feminist, brave, intelligent, and had a curious inquisitive soul. She has seriously become a role model in my life. After reading this book, I looked at what people thought about it online (big mistake, haha). Many people thought she was a prude for not marrying Mr. Rochester or that the story was dry and boring. I think that her not marrying Mr. Rochester just demonstrates her strength of character and self worth. Not very many would have been able to deny a man that loves them that deeply regardless of the fact that he was married. I asked myself many times if I would. And I don’t think I could have, especially with the way he pleaded with her during their separation. But like Jane Eyre knew, the relationship would have been fraught with guilt and possibly resentment. Is it true happiness if guilt and uncertainty are always looming around you? And sure, I myself had some difficulty with this story the first time I tried reading it, but if you give it a chance it will definitely surprise you and hopefully teach you something, as it did for me.
“now I remembered that the real world was wide, and that a varied field of hopes and fears, of sensations and excitements, awaited those who had courage to go forth into its expanse, to seek real knowledge of life amidst its perils”
This quote resonated so much with me. Sometimes we live life in such a routine that we forget that the world is so much bigger than us. That we must seek it and explore it, and learn from it, regardless of how scary that idea might be to us.
“woman are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a constraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom had pronounced necessary for their sex”
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
Women weren’t known for saying things like this in 1847! Charlotte Bronte was definitely a woman beyond her time, thus making her heroine Jane Eyre one as well. Jane Eyre considered herself an equal to men, and I believe that is one of the reasons Mr. Rochester fell in love with her.
“I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, or even of mortal flesh:⏤it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal,⏤ as we are!”
“As we are!” repeated Mr. Rochester”
I quickly forgot that the Victorian way of writing had bored me before. Instead it now made me long for daily conversations of this depth. I felt such a rapport with Jane. I even get the feeling she might be a fellow INFJ. That is why I say I read this book at the perfect time in my life. I will forever cherish the way this book made me feel, the longing for a more meaningful life it has stirred within me and the crude reality that I cannot let life pass me by, but must take initiative in times of doubt.
“Every atom of your flesh is as dear to me as my own: in pain and sickness it would still be dear.”
I also loved the supernatural aspects of this book. I love the fact that Mr. Rochester calls Jane a fairy, elf, and other mythical creatures in an endearing way. Also the mystery surrounding Rochester’s wife was perfectly played out and gives the reader a sense of mystery as they read. Jane’s experience in the red room,her premonitions and dreams all add to the supernatural element found in Jane Eyre.
The ending was truly beautiful and satisfying for a reader that longs for Jane’s and Mr. Rochester’s happiness. I feel like they needed to have gone through that ordeal for Mr. Rochester to really appreciate Jane for the woman she was. Not that he didn’t before, but I think their separation cemented their undying and unwavering love for each other.
And as I had known, the book was much, much better than the movie. I watched the film again after I finished reading the book, and it sadly paled in comparison. All the conversations between Jane and Mr. Rochester, Jane’s thoughts and Charlotte Bronte’s descriptive and emotional narrative are all greatly missed in the movie. But for anyone not looking for a lengthy Victorian read, then the movie should do just fine although I would recommend watching other versions as I will do as well, to see if the others did the book any justice.
Have you read Jane Eyre before, what did you think about it?
I love that Jane addresses her readers, so I think I will do the same ^_^
Until next time, Jeannete x.