Monday, August 13, 2012

Rereading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. We had been wandering, indeed, in the leafless shrubbery an hour in the morning; but since dinner (Mrs Reed, when there was no company, dined early) the cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so somber, and a rain so penetrating, that further outdoor exercise was now out of the question.

Jane Eyre is an orphan raised by her cruel Aunt Reed, who wishes that she didn’t have to take care of her. At the age of about ten, Jane is sent to Lowood, a boarding school where the kids are half-starved. Conditions improve there, though, and Jane ends up staying there eight years, three as a teacher. Then, she gets a post as governess at Thornfield, with its mysterious master, Mr Rochester. But there are dark secrets surrounding Rochester and Thornfield, as Jane will find out, including a raving lunatic shut up in a cell, who turns out to be…well, I won’t say.

Before rereading it Jane Eyre was on my Top Ten Book List. Now, I would still give it 5 stars, but I don’t like it as much as I did a year and a half ago. Charlotte Bronte’s style is quite gripping, despite the fact that it’s a romance, but it is overwritten at times. And Mr Rochester…well, I don’t quite like him that much. He’s very strange, that’s for sure. But Jane is a wonderful character: smart, strong-willed, and brave. She actually thinks for herself. I haven’t read much Jane Austen, but it seems to me that some of her characters are shallow, gossipy girls. Not this Jane. Jane Eyre is definitely still one of my favorite books, just not in the Top 10 anymore. I think this is because I’ve read it twice, and now I don’t necessarily want to read it ever again (or not for a long time at least.) Whereas, for example, The Tiger’s Wife, The Night Circus, The Help, and The Time Traveler’s Wife, I’d love to read over. Or even Gone With the Wind. Still, this an engaging classic, and is less dark then Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.

Read Jane Eyre:
  • if you like any of Charlotte Bronte’s other novels (Shirley, Villete­)
  • if you liked Wuthering Heights
  • if you like dark romance
  • if you like stories with strong-willed heroines
327 pages.

Outstanding Book That Will Stay On My Bookshelf For Rereading (jf I own it)!

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