Monday, 8 March 2010

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Genre: Literary Classic
How I read it: I own the book

What attracted me to the book: It's a classic. If you haven't read it... what are you waiting for?
What it worth the money? Is the sky blue?

Who should read this book: This book is not for everyone...
do not read if you 
a) don't have a brain 
b) don't live on planet earth 
c) don't know what a car is 
d) have never ate a carrot.

Summary (from amazon): Part fairytale, part Gothic horror, part love story, Jane Eyre remains one of the most compelling novels ever written. After running away from her unloving and cruel aunt, the orphaned Jane endures a harsh existence at an Evangelical school, where she at least finds some friends and kindness. When she comes of age, she takes a position as governess to the children of the moody, Byronic Mr. Rochester. As time passes, she begins to fall deeply in love with her magnetic employer...but soon realizes that both he and his dark and shadowy mansion hide a terrible secret.

My thoughts: I don't really want to talk about Jane Eyre (the book) as much as I want to talk about Jane Eyre (the character). In many ways I related to Jane Eyre and mostly because she was a thinker. She thought through her options before she decided. I doubt Jane made a rash decision.

For instance: In the beginning of the book, Jane Eyre was asked: (Notice how she thoughtfully debated the question)
“Would you like to go to school?”
Again I reflected: I scarcely knew what school was: Bessie sometimes spoke of it as a place where young ladies sat in the stocks, wore backboards, and were expected to be exceedingly genteel and precise: John Reed hated his school, and abused his master; but John Reed’s tastes were no rule for mine, and if Bessie’s accounts of school-discipline (gathered from the young ladies of a family where she had lived before coming to Gateshead) were somewhat appalling, her details of certain accomplishments attained by these same young ladies were, I thought, equally attractive.  She boasted of beautiful paintings of landscapes and flowers by them executed; of songs they could sing and pieces they could play, of purses they could net, of French books they could translate; till my spirit was moved to emulation as I listened.  Besides, school would be a complete change: it implied a long journey, an entire separation from Gateshead, an entrance into a new life.
“I should indeed like to go to school,” was the audible conclusion of my musings.

 Example 2 - When Jane had decided to leave Mr. R after the revelation, she decided to leave in the dead of night to avoid further confrontations:
It was yet night, but July nights are short: soon after midnight, dawn comes.  “It cannot be too early to commence the task I have to fulfil,” thought I.  I rose: I was dressed; for I had taken off nothing but my shoes. [...]
I would have got past Mr. Rochester’s chamber without a pause; but my heart momentarily stopping its beat at that threshold, my foot was forced to stop also.  No sleep was there: the inmate was walking restlessly from wall to wall; and again and again he sighed while I listened. [...]
That kind master, who could not sleep now, was waiting with impatience for day.  He would send for me in the morning; I should be gone.  He would have me sought for: vainly.  He would feel himself forsaken; his love rejected: he would suffer; perhaps grow desperate.  I thought of this too. 

Jane Eyre in all her troubles show strength of character that many would have faltered under. I think of her as truly a strong woman.

Side note: I found a website where the story is summed up in a minute or less. Do not go to the link if you have never read the book... it's funny but has spoilers.



Mason Canyon said...

I am amazed daily at the new books coming out that have some reference or tie in with Jane Eyre. Makes one wonder if the author would be pleased or disappointed with the different takes on the work. Enjoyed the post.

Lindsey said...

I love, love, love Jane Eyre. I actually read "The Eyre Affair" just because of the reference (and it was a heck of a lot of fun, too).

Ann Elle Altman said...

I should write a book entitled: Jane Eyre and Zombie Avatars (Copyright pending)

JournoMich said...

This is one of my favorite books. I loved the beginning, the description of the aunt's house. I loved the home where she was governess. I loved the end--I loved this book! Thank you for writing about it, and I hope generations of readers list it as their favorite for decades to come.


Ann Elle Altman said...

Michele, I hope so too. Did anyone get to see the link of the book in one minute? It's pretty funny.


Southpaw said...

I had to read the review you reference and it was hysterical.

Kimberly Franklin said...

Haha... you're list is hilarious!

I bought this book a month or so ago... it's on the list. : )

ali cross said...

I have to admit it. I'm not a fan of Jane Eyre. I know, I know! Perish the thought and all that. But I LOVED your review of it! Maybe I'll have to give it another go. I *was* (ahem) much younger then ...

Natasha said...

Wonderful review. Specially liked the list of people who should not read the book.
You have read Jasper Fford, haven't you. If you like Jane Eyre, you are almost certain to like him.

Hannah Stoneham said...

Yes isn't Jane Eyre just an amazing character. I was totally taken in by her when I read the book about 15 years ago - and I still haven't frogotten her character. I think that the character is especially remarkable when you think about the historical and cultural setting in which Bronte wrote - Jane Eyre was a revolutionary woman!

Great post indeed,

Thanks for sharing


Ann Elle Altman said...

Ali, don't feel bad, I didn't like Jane Eyre the first time I read it either. I loved the movie but not the book. But, the second time I read it... I couldn't put it down. Some of her long paragraphs were draining but the meant more to me a second time.

Rayna, I haven't read him. I haven't even heard of him but I will go look him up immediately.

I'm glad you guys liked the list.


Talli Roland said...

When I first read Jane Eyre, I wondered what all the fuss was about. Yes, yes, I know, it's a classic...

I just couldn't get over how cool and, well, calculating Jane is! I couldn't connect with her at all.

Great review, though!

J.L. Campbell said...

I can't think why I've never read this book. Between yourself and Corra, I'm being encouraged to dabble in the classics. Time though, need more time.

Ann Elle Altman said...

You know, the classics aren't for everyone...I believe everyone should read the classics but I don't believe everyone will like it. I just think you should at least give them a try.


Chrisbookarama said...

Jane is my favorite character ever. Glad to find another fan!

TirzahLaughs said...

The interest for me in Jane is that where so many people live their life rashly, she lives hers so deliberately. I think it is her blessing and her curse. Because she can never say she did not know what she was doing. My goodness, she did it quite ever on purpose.

On an odd note, I've always been fonder of the front of the book than the end. Her friend, the girl who befriends her, was one of my favorite scenes.