Jane Eyre
Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead and subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman's passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed.With a heroine full of yearning, the dangerous secrets she encounters, and the choices she finally makes, Charlotte Bronte's innovative and enduring romantic novel continues to engage and provoke readers.

Jane Eyre Details

TitleJane Eyre
Author
FormatPaperback
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 4th, 2003
PublisherPenguin Books
ISBN0142437204
ISBN-139780142437209
Number of pages507 pages
Rating
GenreLiterature, Gothic, Historical, 19th Century, Novels, European Literature, British Literature

Jane Eyre Review

  • Nataliya
    May 2, 2010
    Yes, I suppose you can view this book mostly as a love story. That's what I did at age 13 - but that's why I was left disappointed back then.Or you can view this as an story of formation of a strong and independent female protagonist, a nineteenth-century feminist, light-years ahead of its time. And that's what left my now-closer-to-thirty-than-twenty self very satisfied and, quite frankly, rather impressed.²(view spoiler)[The guy kept his wife in the attic. Seriously - no. Just no. You don't ge Yes, I suppose you can view this book mostly as a love story. That's what I did at age 13 - but that's why I was left disappointed back then¹.Or you can view this as an story of formation of a strong and independent female protagonist, a nineteenth-century feminist, light-years ahead of its time. And that's what left my now-closer-to-thirty-than-twenty self very satisfied and, quite frankly, rather impressed.²¹(view spoiler)[The guy kept his wife in the attic. Seriously - no. Just no. You don't get all the way to your SECOND wedding forgetting to mention that your FIRST wife is hidden in the attic. Seriosly, Rochester, what the hell is wrong with you? How can you even attempt to build a marriage on such a lie??? (hide spoiler)]² "I do not think, sir, you have any right to command me, merely because you are older than I, or because you have seen more of the world than I have; your claim to superiority depends on the use you have made of your time and experience."Sing it, Jane. You tell him, you strong and awesome woman, you! When I read it for the first time as a young and opinionated teen, I thought Jane Eyre was a boring and meek protagonist, too clingy to her 'outdated' morals, too afraid to do what I thought was a brave thing to do - say 'yes' to the apparent happiness that poor tragic Mr. Rochester was offering. (Oh naive young me, putting way too much stock in Rochester's woes after his (view spoiler)[first marriage (hide spoiler)], sleeping with everyone in Europe and rejecting them probably because they were not English enough for him!) Wow, was there ever a way to misunderstand a book more than I did this one? Sometimes life experience does matter indeed.Jane Eyre has a good idea of her self-worth. And she has a good idea about her own morals. And, unlike many in her situation, she sticks to her morals and her idea of what is wrong or right regardless of what outcome is in it for her. Here is the prime example:"Gentlemen in his station are not accustomed to marry their governesses."The emphasis in this well-intentioned advice by Mrs. Fairfax is on the word MARRY. Ah, silly old lady, one may think, cautioning the young woman in such a prudish way. Ah, silly young woman, taking the advice of the old lady and acting prudishly. Ah, silly young woman, eventually rejecting the sincere love and offer of happiness for a seemingly prudish reason - not wanting to be a mistress. So old-fashioned and weak and caged-up, screamed my thirteen-year-old self.But here's the thing. It's not just for the moral lesson for the readers that Bronte has Jane firmly say 'no'. It's not for the sake of mere societal appearance. It's for the sake of Jane, and Jane alone. MARRYING governesses was uncommon. Having them as mistresses - probably not as rare. In her society, protecting her virtue and reputation was not only the matter of religious views or stigma - it was the question of her future, as she had nobody to stand up for her if her reputation was ruined. And it was a question of her integrity - the quality that she maintains through thick and thin, refusing to fall head over heels for love, refusing to let love justify all the mistakes and wrong choices, refusing to let love blind her to everything else that was important for her sense of self-worth.By refusing Rochester, Jane stays so true to herself without ever betraying herself. Jane refuses to take the steps that would destroy her integrity in her own eyes, and for that she has my strongest and most sincere respect and admiration. What Rochester did is unthinkable to her - not because of how others view it but because of her morals and convictions - and she shows unbelievable courage in sticking up for what she believes in, even if it is to her own material and soul-wrecking detriment. She will not give herself fully to something - or someone - that would destroy her integrity, tarnish her own self. And I love her for this unwavering determination to stay true to herself! "Reader, I married him" may be one of the most famous phrases from this book (actually, the most famous, come to think of it) - but it is her refusal to marry him in the first place that allows her to keep her integrity and remain true to self, and continue developing into the amazing person she becomes. Jane has too much self-worth to have Rochester until he redeems himself in her eyes, until he repents. That's the point, not the marriage part.Despite self-proclaimed meekness, Jane Eyre is far from weak or scared. She has been forced to make her own way in life without the luxury of relying on a rich male relative - father, brother, husband. And she did this in the world where being attached to a man was the best choice for a woman (just remember Jane Austen's heroines a few decades earlier reaching happiness only after finding a suitable gentleman!). She is a rebel - setting out to have her own career in a male-dominated world, refusing to let a man rule her life (that applies to both Rochester and St. John here), and making statements that may have not had the most sympathetic audience back in her day:"Women 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 restraint, to 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 has pronounced necessary for their sex."And here's what else I enjoyed about this book - its attempts to subvert the tropes, the same tropes that we still heavily rely on in literature. Bronte gets rid of the 'faultless' heroine - instead of being perfect (or having an imaginary flaw, like many literary heroines are prone to nowadays) Jane has a real one (for her time, at least) - her occasional temper. And she is not beautiful - not fake flaws, either but a consensus by many impartial observers that she is not a beauty. And to take it a step further - Mr. Rochester, our romantic lead, is quite frankly, rather ugly. This is not a beautiful couple (and Hollywood managed to "fix" that in all the movie adaptations, by the way - a slap in Bronte's face, I guess?). Jane is not in love with a pretty façade of Rochester - since he has none (a thing that contemporary writers should learn, by the way - writing love that stems from something else that simple attraction to physical beauty). And finally, the atmosphere of this story. Oh, the wonderfully gothic atmosphere written so well, with intense moods palpable in every paragraph. So colorful, so vivid, so immersing - every room, every moor, every tree. Every description of landscape or interior actually serves a purpose to establish the mood of the scene, and it is very well-done..................................All that said, I'm giving a condescending pat on the shoulder to my teenage self from the 'wisdom' of another fifteen years. Sorry, teen Nataliya, you little annoying know-it-all - you just needed to grow up to appreciate this story. 4.5 stars and high recommendation.
    more
  • Cristin
    June 21, 2007
    I could bang Mr. Rochester like a screen door 'till next Tuesday. That's not all I got from this book, honestly...
  • Vinaya
    December 21, 2010
    FIVE REASONS WHY JANE EYRE WOULD NEVER BE A BESTSELLER IN OUR TIMES:5. Four hundred-odd pages of purely descriptive writing4. Overt religious themes and moral preaching3. A plain-Jane heroine who stays plain. No makeovers to reveal a hitherto hidden prettiness that only needed an application of hydrogen peroxide and some eyebrow plucking to emerge full-blown.2. The world is not well-lost for love. In the war between self-respect and grand passion, principles win hands down. Rousing, yet tender s FIVE REASONS WHY JANE EYRE WOULD NEVER BE A BESTSELLER IN OUR TIMES:5. Four hundred-odd pages of purely descriptive writing4. Overt religious themes and moral preaching3. A plain-Jane heroine who stays plain. No makeovers to reveal a hitherto hidden prettiness that only needed an application of hydrogen peroxide and some eyebrow plucking to emerge full-blown.2. The world is not well-lost for love. In the war between self-respect and grand passion, principles win hands down. Rousing, yet tender speeches do not make our heroine forsake her creed to fall swooning and submissive into her alpha's arms. 1. NO SCHMEXING!!When I was a little girl, I had a doll named Saloni. Now Saloni wasn't a particularly attractive specimen as dolls go, especially since, over the years, I had drilled a hole in her little rosebud mouth in order to 'feed' her, I had 'brushed' her hair till all the poor synthetic threads had fallen out and I had dragged her around with me so much, one of her big blue eyes had fallen off. But in my eyes, Saloni was the best doll ever created. She was my comfort, my mainstay in a world filled with confusing new things like school and daycare and other little people. Jane Eyre is my grown-up version of Saloni. Comfort food for my brain. There are two authors I will read over and over and over again, until the day I die. One of them is Charlotte Bronte, the other one is Georgette Heyer. I have read Jane Eyre a million times, but I never tire of the story. Every time I reach the scene where she professes her love to Mr. Rochester, I come out in goosebumps. Every single time. Age and experience have taught me to spot the flaws in the story and the characters. The ineffable belief in English superiority. The condescending attitude towards servants and people of the lower class. The ill-treatment of mentally disabled people. The almost Quaker-ish sentiments of Jane Eyre. But all of this detracts not a whit from one of the greatest love stories ever told. And there are a lot of things to admire in this book as well. Edward Rochester, ugly as sin, but powerful and dominant and unbelievably attractive in spite of his looks. A love that grows and strengthens on the basis of mutual sympathy, respect and a meeting of the minds, that a lot of our authors would do well to learn from. Jane Eyre, who does not think that her great love excuses acts of selfishness and immorality. Despite being drawn as a somewhat submissive personality, Jane manages to hold her own with quiet fortitude, never loudly asserting her intelligence or talent, but nonetheless displaying a strength of character that would put the Bellas and Noras of out time to shame. Jane Eyre would never, as I have said above, be a bestseller if it had been written in our times. And that is a loss we must take upon ourselves. That we have put such prime value on lust and looks and power that we have forgotten to be real in our writing. There is a reason why millions of people the world over remember and revere a book written a hundred and fifty-odd years ago while the bestsellers of our times slip quickly and quietly from our memories. Jane Eyre is more than just a beautiful book about a love story that transcends all boundaries; it is a testament to the power of pure emotion, that can be felt through the ages and across all barriers of time and culture.
    more
  • Bookdragon Sean
    February 26, 2014
    Reader, I gave it five stars. Please let me tell you why. Jane Eyre is the quintessential Victorian novel. It literally has everything that was typical of the period, but, unlike other novels, it has all the elements in one story. At the centre is the romance between Jane and Rochester, which is enhanced by gothic elements such as the uncanniness of the doppleganger and the spectre like qualities of Bertha. In addition, it is also a governess novel; these were an incredibly popular type of stor Reader, I gave it five stars. Please let me tell you why. Jane Eyre is the quintessential Victorian novel. It literally has everything that was typical of the period, but, unlike other novels, it has all the elements in one story. At the centre is the romance between Jane and Rochester, which is enhanced by gothic elements such as the uncanniness of the doppleganger and the spectre like qualities of Bertha. In addition, it is also a governess novel; these were an incredibly popular type of storytelling in the age and for it to be combined with gothic elements, which are interposed with a dualistic relationship between realism and romance, is really quite unique. The correct term for this is a hybrid, in which no genre voice is dominant; they exist alongside each other creating one rather special book. And this is so, so, special; it’s an excellent piece of literature. Jane’s journey is gut wrenching and emotional. Through her life she experiences real sorrow, the kind that would make a lesser person give up. She also experiences real friendship, the type that comes across perhaps once in a lifetime. But, most significantly, she experiences true love and the development of independence to form he own ending. I really do love this book. Bronte utilises the first person narrative, which creates a high degree of intimacy with her character; it makes me feel like I know Jane as well as she comes to know her own self. “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”Jane’s a strong willed individual. From a very young age she had the clarity of intelligence to recognise the injustice that was her life; yes, she is narrating her story retrospectively, though she still had the perceptiveness to realise how mistreated she was. I love the pathetic fallacy Bronte uses at the beginning. The child Jane looks out the window, shielded by the curtain, and witnesses the horrible weather. It is cold and bleak; it is windy and morose; thus, we can immediately see the internal workings of Jane’s mind. The weather reflects her feelings throughout the novel, and at the very beginning the situation was at its worse. This can also be seen with the fire imagery that represents her rage when she is shoved in the red room; it later mirrors that of Bertha’s fury. Everybody needs love, children especially so. These early experiences help to define her later character, and, ultimately influence how she sees the world; she still hides behind a curtain in Rochester’s house when he flirts with Miss Ingrum. These experiences set her on an almost perpetual quest for love, for belonging and for the independence to make her own decisions. She finds friendship in the form of Helen Burns; she gives her some sound advice, but Jane cannot fully accept such religious fatalism. However, it does inspire her, a little, to continue with life; she realises, no matter what happens, she will always have the love of her greatest friend. Jane clings to this idea, but, ultimately, has to seek a more permanent solution to her loneliness. She needs a vocation, one that will fulfil her and give her life meaning; thus, she becomes a governess and crosses paths with the downtrodden, miserable wretch that is Mr Rochester. Sometimes I feel like Rochester didn’t know quite what he wanted. When he sees Jane he sees a woman with strength, blunt honesty and integrity: he sees an emotional equal. This attracts her to him, which develops into love. However, when he tries to express his love he does it through trying to claim her as his own. Through doing so, not only does he show the nature of Victorian marriage, he shows his own deep vulnerability. He loves her mind, her intelligence, and he too wants to be loved. He longs for it with a frightening passion. So, instead of doing things the way Jane would have wanted him to do, he overwhelms her with expensive affection. By doing so he almost loses her. All Jane wanted was his heart, nothing more nothing less. By showering her with such flattery and expensive items, he insults her independence. He risks destroying the thing that attracted him to her in the first place, their equality; their mutual respect and love. He takes away her dignity. I really don’t think the original marriage would have worked. Ignore the existence of the mad woman in the attic; I just think Rochester would have spoilt it. It would have become too awkward. They needed to be on the same societal level as well as one of intellect and character. The ending is touching and a little sad, but it is the only one that could ever have worked for these two characters. Without the tragedy there could never have be rejuvenation and the chance for them to be together on equal terms, no matter what it cost to get there. If that wasn’t enough reason for me to love this book, there are also elements of fantasy and desire. This is a realism novel, it pertains to credible events, but the suggestions of fantasy only add to the strong romantic notions. Rochester is enamoured by Jane; he cannot believe that a woman like her actually exists. All his misguided notions are brushed away in an instant. Whilst he views Jane as special, it is clear that he realises that other women may also have a similar rebellious voice, only hidden. He considers her an elf, a witch, an improbable woman that has captured his desire, his heart, his soul, his life. He knows he will never be the same again. From Jane’s point of view, her first encounter with him is otherworldly. She had grown bored with her governess role, and when she sees the approach of Rochester and his dog Pilot, she sees the gytrash myth; she wants to see something fantastical instead she finds her heart, which is something much rarer. Then there are also the feminist elements. Jane transgresses the boundary associated with her gender in the Victorian age. For a woman to be recognised as having equal intellect to that of a man was sadly a rare thing. Women could actually attend university, but the downside was they could never get the full degree. They could spend months studying, though never be recognised as actually having gained the qualification. It was just another attempt to keep women under the thumb, so for Bronte to portray the truth of Jane’s equal intellect is a great step for the recognition of women, and women writers. This book received a whole host of negative reviews at the time of its publication for this element alone. Stupid really, but that’s misogyny for you. Reader, I love this book. I really could go on, but this is getting kind of long. I hope I’ve made it clear why I love this story so much. I shall be reading this again later this year to correspond with my exams, which I’m already looking forward to- the reading that is, not the exams. I don’t think will ever have read this story enough though.
    more
  • Hailey (HaileyInBookland)
    July 8, 2013
    Looooooooove!!!
  • Cecily
    May 30, 2008
    Child neglect, near death, a dash of magical realism, the power of love, the powerlessness of the poor, sexual rivalry, mystery, madness and more. It is as powerful as ever - but is it really a love story, given Rochester's Svengali-tendencies, or is it a life story? His downfall and her inheritance make them more equal, but is it really love on his part? I'm not sure, which is what makes it such a good book (just not necessarily a love story). I also like the tension between it being very Victo Child neglect, near death, a dash of magical realism, the power of love, the powerlessness of the poor, sexual rivalry, mystery, madness and more. It is as powerful as ever - but is it really a love story, given Rochester's Svengali-tendencies, or is it a life story? His downfall and her inheritance make them more equal, but is it really love on his part? I'm not sure, which is what makes it such a good book (just not necessarily a love story). I also like the tension between it being very Victorian in some obvious ways, and yet controversially modern in others: an immoral hero, a fiercely independent and assertive heroine, and some very unpleasant Christians (it's not that I think Christians are bad or like seeing them portrayed in a nasty way - it's Bronte's courage in writing such characters I admire). CHILDHOODAbout the first quarter of the book concerns the tremendous hardship and abuse that Jane suffers growing up. It's often heavily cut from film, TV and stage adaptations, but despite the fluff about this being a great love story, I think there is merit in paying attention to her formative years as an essential element of explaining what makes Jane the person she becomes.The Red Room, where young Jane is banished shortly before being sent to Lowood, is a very short episode in the book, but its significance is probably greater than its brevity implies. The trauma of the Red Room is not just because Mr Reed died there, but because of the associations of red = blood = death, compounded by cold, silence, blinds that are always closed and a bed like a sacrificial altar. Is it also some sort of reference to Bertha's attic?Jane endures dreadful hardships: she is orphaned; her aunt says she is "less than a servant, for you do nothing for your keep" and invokes the wrath of God who "might strike her dead in the midst of one of her tantrums"; she endures injustice as she strives to be good, but is always condemned, while the faults of her cousins are indulged or ignored. So, she is sent to Lowood, where she sees the hypocritical tyranny of Brocklehurst, survives cold and near starvation and witnesses her best friend's death. Nevertheless, "I would not have exchanged Lowood with all its privations for Gateshead and its daily luxuries." There is a dreadful irony in the fact that the first time a relative demonstrates any interest in her (John Eyre), it seems to ruin everything. VILLAINS AND CHRISTIANITYWho is the worst villain: John Reed, Aunt Reed, Mr Brocklehurst, Blanche Ingram, St John Rivers or even Rochester?Christianity gets a very mixed press in the book: Mr Brocklehurst is cruel and comically hypocritical (curly hair is evil vanity in poor girls, who "must not conform to nature", but fine for his pampered daughters); St John Rivers thinks his devoutness selfless, but is actually cold and selfish (his motive being to gain glory in Heaven for himself); Helen Burns is a redemptive Christ figure who accepts her punishments as deserved, helps Jane tame herself ("Helen had calmed me") and, of course, dies. Jane's own beliefs (or lack) are always somewhat vague (though she's very moral) and controversially feisty. When, as a small girl, the nasty Brocklehurst asks her what she should do to avoid going to Hell, she replies, "I must keep in good health, and not die"!Aspects the way Christianity is portrayed may make it more accessible to modern readers from more secular backgrounds, but might have been shocking to devout Victorians. Perhaps they were placated by the fact that despite the cruelty, Jane forgives Aunt Reed for trying to improve her errant niece, even though "it was in her nature to wound me cruelly".MALE POWER, FEMINISM, AND RELEVANCE TODAYMen had most of the power and respect in Bronte's time and often Jane has to go along with that. However, Bronte does subvert that to some extent by making Jane so assertive, determined and independent. The story of Jane Eyre has parallels with the story of Bluebeard, albeit with a very different ending, in which the woman takes charge of her own destiny. Bluebeard was well-known in Victorian fables as a rich and swarthy man who locked discarded wives in an attic (though he killed them first). He took a new young wife and when she discovered her predecessors, he was about to kill her, but she was rescued by her brothers, rather as Mason wants to rescue Bertha. Jane even likens an attic corridor to one in "some Bluebeard's castle", so Bronte clearly knew the story and assumed he readers did too. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluebear....Despite her minimal contact with men, right from the outset Jane instinctively knows how to respond to the man she describes as "changeful and abrupt". When they first meet in the house and he is quizzing her, she consciously mirrors his tone ("I, speaking as seriously as he had done") and "His changes of mood did not offend me because I saw I had nothing to do with their alteration". Like many bullies, he enjoys a bit of a fight, rather than the nervous, prompt and unquestioning obedience his manner normally elicits, and Jane isn't afraid to answer him back and speak her mind. It isn't long before she can say "I knew the pleasure of vexing him and soothing him by turns". When Blanche arrives, Jane realises "he had not given her his love" and that "she could not charm him" (as she could). At this point, she realises her self-delusions in overlooking his faults and merely considering them as "keen condiments".What should modern women make of this book? Bronte is radical in that neither Jane nor Rochester is conventionally attractive (it is personality that matters) and Jane is fiercely independent and assertive, even when she gives the impression of being submissive. She even says, "Women are supposed to feel 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 restraint... precisely as men would suffer." On the other hand, Rochester's treatment of Jane, Bertha, Blanche and Céline is hard to justify (other than the fact he keeps Bertha alive - why not kill her?). Does disappointment and disability truly changed him, and does that, coupled with her independent wealth make them equals? Will they live happily ever after?ROCHESTERWhat were Rochester's plans and motives for his relationship with Jane? Why does he insist that Jane appears in the drawing room every evening while Blanche and friends are staying, even though he fully understands and comments on how depressed it makes Jane? And would Rochester have married Blanche if Mason hadn't turned up, making a big society wedding impossible? If so, was Jane always in his mind as a mistress and backup in case marriage to Blanche was not possible, or did he only decide to marry her much later? What sort of basis for a happy marriage is that, and can the equalising effect of his later disability and her inheritance really conquer it? It's true that Rochester tells Jane "I feigned courtship of Miss Ingram, because I wished to render you as madly in love with me as I was with you", but that is after Mason's visit, so is it true?Rochester's treatment of Bertha is even more problematic: divorce wasn't viable, and yet he didn't want to leave her behind in the Caribbean... very odd. In a funny sort of way, he might have felt he was doing the right thing by her, or at least, not the wrong thing. In a society which condemns divorce and cohabitation, is Rochester's planned bigamy justifiable? As Rochester hints to Jane early on, "Unheard-of combinations of circumstances demand unheard-of rules". He also knows that Jane's integrity means she must be unaware of the details if he is to be with her (he says that if he asked her to do something bad, she would say "no sir... I cannot do it, because it is wrong"), though in fact there is a bigger tussle between her head and heart than he might have expected. Later, he ponders the fact that she is alone in the world as being some sort of justification, "It will atone" and extends to the more blasphemous and deluded "I know my Maker sanctions what I do. For the world's judgement - I wash my hands thereof." ST JOHNJane's bond with St John is very different, and she realise it, "I daily wished more to please him; but to do so, I felt daily more and more that I must disown half my nature". His proposal is positively alarming, "You are formed for labour, not for love. A missionary's wife you must - shall be. You shall be mine: I claim you - not for my pleasure, but for my Sovereign's service"! Under the guise of serving God and man, he is irredeemably self-serving.MAGIC REALISM?The strangest element is the small but hugely significant ethereal message from Rochester that might now be called magical realism. It sits oddly with the rest of the book, but I can never decide whether this is it a strength or a weakness.WHO KNOWS WHAT?A constant theme is "who knows what?". Is Aunt Reed ignorant of how awful Lowood is and has she truly convinced herself that her treatment of Jane is appropriate? How much does Mrs Fairfax know (and tell) about Rochester's wives, current and intended? Does Rochester know whether or not Adele is really his daughter, and what does Jane believe? Blanche appears to know very little, but is she only seeing what she wants to see? LOVE?Overall, there is so much in this book, it is well worth rereading, but I am not convinced that it is a love story. It is the easiest label to apply, and although Jane certainly finds love, I am not sure that love finds her. They're intellectually well-matched, and the sparring and physical attraction bode well. On the other hand, my doubts about his motivations when he was juggling Blanche and Jane make me uneasy. Incidentally, I first read this book at school (a naive mid-teen enjoys and appreciates it for very different reasons than an adult). One day, we were at a point when Jane was with the Rivers and possibly being courted by St John. We were told to read to page x for homework, so I turned to that page to mark it and saw the famous words (not that I knew they were), "Reader, I married him" and was shocked to assume it referred to St John.Jane's Place in My Life(This section was added after an epiphany, which prompted me to make my reviews more personal.)Like many, I first read this at school. I was captivated from the outset. Jane was wild, and brave, and rebellious - all things we weren't supposed to be, and yet we had to read and write about her. I vaguely knew about the wedding scene, but everything about her time with the Rivers was new and unexpected. For all that I had doubts about Rochester, I felt (in a naive, teenage way) I shared a passion for him. When I thought Jane would end up with St John, I was devastated. The actual ending was a happy relief - all the more so because it had been unexpected. I thought I understood the book, and got good marks for essays about it (apart from the injustice of being deducted marks for a comment a teacher refused to believe I hadn't copied from Brodie's Notes - a brand I'd never actually seen!). But like all great works of art, it speaks differently on each encounter, and the more I've read it, aided by a bit of maturity along the way, and now discussions with GR friends, the more I've seen in it.PrequelI finally read Jean Rhys' prequel "Wide Sargasso Sea", reviewed here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...
    more
  • Ellen
    November 9, 2009
    [The picture disappeared which made the comments rather irrelevant.:]…Oh course, Rush Limbaugh is nuts.In December 2007, on a radio show with an audience of 14.5 million, Limbaugh asked this question about the former first lady's presidential prospects, after an incredibly unflattering picture of her had surfaced: "Will Americans want to watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis? I want you to understand that I'm talking about the evolution of American culture here, and not so m [The picture disappeared which made the comments rather irrelevant.:]…Oh course, Rush Limbaugh is nuts.In December 2007, on a radio show with an audience of 14.5 million, Limbaugh asked this question about the former first lady's presidential prospects, after an incredibly unflattering picture of her had surfaced: "Will Americans want to watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis? I want you to understand that I'm talking about the evolution of American culture here, and not so much Mrs Clinton," Limbaugh told his audience. "It could be anybody, and it's really not very complicated. Americans are addicted to physical perfection, thanks to Hollywood and thanks to television” (news.com.au).Interestingly and at the same time, we have John McCain, another presidential prospect, who was 71 years old [11 years older than Hillary Clinton:]. Somehow this is different. Society has agreed that women age, and men grow more distinguished. Ah, bullshit. McCain looked plenty old and acted like an irrational coot.However, the more important point is how little we've changed. Women still must be beautiful. And, for the most part, beautiful women still populate contemporary fiction. Consider how brave it was, then, for Charlotte Brontë to insist on a "plain" heroine. Brontë emphasizes Eyre's plainness as if challenging the reader to reject her. The impact of presenting such a heroine may be gauged by a male critic (a 19th century Limbaugh) in the Westminister Review (1858), who writes, "Possibly none of the frauds which are now so much the topic of common remark are so irritating, as that to which the purchaser of a novel is a victim on finding he has only to peruse a narrative of the conduct and sentiments of an ugly lady" (Showalter 123).Despite ignoring the classic paradigm of either having a beautiful heroine or a heroine--ostensibly plain--who later "blooms," Brontë makes us forget that neither Jane nor Rochester are physically attractive. From the opening scene, Jane's personality dominants the horizon. Having endured the young master's abuse for some time, Jane strikes back and, as punishment for her passion, is banished to the red room. The room is chill, garish, and where Mr. Reed died. Jane's cries to be released are ignored, and she falls into unconsciousness. Although Jane suffers no lasting harm, her thoughts before she is thrust into the room isolate well why her path will be harder than fate had dictated already:I know that had I been a sanguine, brilliant, careless, exacting, handsome, romping child—though equally dependent and friendless—Mrs. Reed would have endured my presence more complacently; her children would have entertained for me more of the cordiality of fellow-feeling; the servants would have been less prone to make me the scapegoat of the nursery.While beauty and its attendant charms would have made Jane’s life easier, it would have lessened her complexity as a character. Again and again, Jane cannot sit back and depend on the free pass beauty often accords, but must choose to give up or to fight her way through. Jane chooses to fight, and it is her passion, wit, and intelligence that make her an unforgettable heroine.
    more
  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    February 11, 2013
    I'm bumping Jane Eyre up to the full five stars on this reread. It has its Victorian melodramatic moments (horrible aunt! and cousins! (view spoiler)[mad wife secretly hidden away in the attic! heroine starving in the wilderness! (hide spoiler)]), but overall I found this story of a plain, obscure girl determined to maintain her self-respect, and do what she feels is right even in the face of pressure, profoundly moving. And I'm a romantic, so yeah, that aspect totally sucked me in too. And it r I'm bumping Jane Eyre up to the full five stars on this reread. It has its Victorian melodramatic moments (horrible aunt! and cousins! (view spoiler)[mad wife secretly hidden away in the attic! heroine starving in the wilderness! (hide spoiler)]), but overall I found this story of a plain, obscure girl determined to maintain her self-respect, and do what she feels is right even in the face of pressure, profoundly moving. And I'm a romantic, so yeah, that aspect totally sucked me in too. And it really is a great romance, at least in my book, but it's just so much more than that.Reasons I Love Jane Eyre:1. Jane is no beauty. There's no Cinderella moment. Deal with it. Her beauty is all on the inside.2. Rochester is not gorgeous. This is not going to change either. In fact, his outward appearance gets worse in the end. And it doesn't matter! When's the last time you read a romance where neither the heroine nor the hero was good-looking?3. Great dialogue. Rochester makes sarcastic comments to Jane all the time. She sasses him right back.4. This is a romance of the mind and the heart, not just OMG HE'S SO HOT AND HIS LIPS MAKE ME MELT. (Though there's definitely physical attraction here too.)5. Jane maintains her pride and self-respect. She sticks to her principles, even when the pressure's on, even when it would be much easier, and would bring her much more short-term happiness, to let those principles go hang.6. Jane Eyre takes a very nuanced view of religion: there are hypocrites, in at least a couple of different variations. There are hard, cold people who sometimes use religion as a tool, or an excuse for what they do. There are saintly characters who always turn the other cheek. And there are believers, like Jane, who are imperfect but are doing the best they can. 7. Jane teaches us that we have a great power to take control of our lives and decide our own destiny, even when the cards are all stacked against us. It's up to us to take action to change our lives, not wait for someone else to change it for us.8. Jane Eyre empowered women, written at a time when in so many ways we were considered second-class citizens. It still empowers us now.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 restraint, to 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 has pronounced necessary for their sex.Buddy (re-)read with Jess, Karly, Vane, Kristin, Rabbit, and Andrea.P.S. The Kindle version available for free at Project Gutenberg has wonderful pencil drawing illustrations.Bonus: excerpts from Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters **spoiler alert**JANEMY LITTLE SUNBEAMWHERE ARE YOUI NEED YOU BY MY SIDEI’m taking a walkbe back for dinnerAH YES MY CAGED SPRITECOMMUNE WITH NATURE AND UPON YOUR RETURNRELATE TO ME THE VAGRANT GLORIES OF THE RUINED WOODSdo you really want me to describe my walk to youMORE THAN ANYTHING YOU POCKET WITCHit is fairly cloudy outlooks like rain soonAHHH TO THINK THAT MY LITTLE STARLING JANESHOULD RETURNTO PERCH ON MY BROKEN MALFORMED SHOULDERSINGING A SONG OF THE GREY AND WRACKING SKIESMAKES MY HEART SWELL TO BURSTall right—JANE WHERE HAVE YOU GONEI AM BEREFT AND WITHOUT MY JANE I SHALL SINK INTO ROGUERYi am with my cousinsWHICH COUSINIS IT THE SEXY ONEPlease don’t try to talk to me againIT IS YOUR SEXY COUSIN“ST. JOHN”WHAT KIND OF A NAME IS ST. JOHNI’m not going to answer thatI KNEW ITDID YOU LEAVE BECAUSE OF MY ATTIC WIFEIS THAT WHAT THIS IS ABOUTyesabsolutelyBECAUSE MY HOUSE IN FRANCE DOESN’T EVEN HAVE AN ATTICIF THAT’S WHAT YOU WERE WORRIED ABOUTIT HAS A CELLAR THOUGH SO YOU KNOWDON’T CROSS MEHAHA I’M ONLY JOKING
    more
  • April (Aprilius Maximus)
    October 5, 2013
    I think this may be my favourite book of all time.Video Review -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2E8ys...Around the Year in 52 Books Challenge Notes:- 11. A book from the Rory Gilmore Challenge
  • Grace Tjan
    August 24, 2009
    Now I know why Charlotte Bronte said this of Jane Austen: "The passions are perfectly unknown to her: she rejects even a speaking acquaintance with that stormy sisterhood". I love Jane, but Charlotte REALLY knows how to write about passion, romantic or otherwise. If Jane’s books are stately minuets in which the smallest gesture has its meaning, Charlotte’s is a spirited, sweeping tango of duty and desire. A perfect blend of passionate romance, gothic mystery, romantic description of nature, soci Now I know why Charlotte Bronte said this of Jane Austen: "The passions are perfectly unknown to her: she rejects even a speaking acquaintance with that stormy sisterhood". I love Jane, but Charlotte REALLY knows how to write about passion, romantic or otherwise. If Jane’s books are stately minuets in which the smallest gesture has its meaning, Charlotte’s is a spirited, sweeping tango of duty and desire. A perfect blend of passionate romance, gothic mystery, romantic description of nature, social commentary and humor, all rendered in vivid, gorgeous prose. One cannot help to admire Jane Eyre, the little governess who could. She rises above her harsh upbringing to become a governess, poor but ever fiercely independent. Even the promise of love and comfort with the man that she worships is not enough to sway her from the path of integrity. One cannot help to admire Charlotte, who makes her intensely human; a woman of virtue, yet one who is not above jealousy and doubts, and who constantly struggles with the personal cost of her decisions. A deeply felt, and ultimately moving story of love and redemption that will linger long after the last page is turned.
    more
  • Steph Sinclair
    July 31, 2012
    I often think of classics as "required reading," usually accompanied by a barely suppressed groan. Because, surely, they can't actually be any good. I'm not sure why I've always associated well-known and well-loved classics as such, but I suppose it must be the expectation to love it just as much as the world. It's silly, I know. A person can't be expected to love all books, classic status or not, but still, I wondered if I would enjoy it.Jane Eyre is one of those novels that proves me completel I often think of classics as "required reading," usually accompanied by a barely suppressed groan. Because, surely, they can't actually be any good. I'm not sure why I've always associated well-known and well-loved classics as such, but I suppose it must be the expectation to love it just as much as the world. It's silly, I know. A person can't be expected to love all books, classic status or not, but still, I wondered if I would enjoy it.Jane Eyre is one of those novels that proves me completely wrong and I'm glad of it. It is not beloved simply due to its age or progressiveness or pretentious nature, but because at its heart it's a damn good book. Lyrical, emotional, and captivating, Brontë makes you beg and plead sweet, emotional reprieve. You hunger for it, but she holds on to it ever so slightly -- not to the point of frustration, but instead leaves a trail of bread crumbs to keep you from starving. And the best part is that you delight in every moment. Brontë made my emotions work for that happily ever after with the irresistible OTP: Jane and Mr. Rochester.At the same time, while I thoroughly enjoyed the romantic aspect, I was also equally intrigued with Jane Eyre's life in general. While at times she lived under horrible circumstances, her resilience was nothing short of admirable. She never let her hardships define her as a person or let it compromise her morals even when she was at her lowest. In the end, her luck does turn around and she finds happiness, which at times I felt was way overdue.Thandie Newton's narration was even better than I expected. Her voice brought the novel to life and at times, I could have sworn several different people narrated instead of just her. It was very apparent that she had a healthy amount of respect for the novel, and her reading, imparted the same into me. It felt like her voice said, "These words are amazing, this prose is magic, this story enchanting. I'm thrilled to be reading them to you. Let's bask in in Brontë's brilliance together."  Who could say no to that? I was very impressed and believe listening to this version was the best decision for me. I never was once bored because Newton demanded all my attention.This is the first time that I've read Jane Eyre and I'm glad I did at this point in my life where I'm fully able to appreciate the various themes conveyed. That's not to say I wouldn't have understood certain things, but I'm sure there are lots of books where we come away thinking, "Wow, this was exactly what I needed right now." It's even more surprising and intriguing that it's a novel written over 100 years ago that appeals to me even now. Ah, the joys and magic of literature!All the things that I love in a good book was here and more: masterful character development, interesting plot, and OMG, the witty dialogue. I could have read an entire book composed of Jane and Mr. Rochester's banter alone!This book brought me many happy sighs and I'm thrilled to have found a new all-time favorite in a classic tale. Definitely an oldie, but goodie for sure.More reviews and other fantastical things at Cuddlebuggery.
    more
  • Ana
    February 3, 2017
    I, Ana, take you, Mr. Rochester, to be my lawful wedded husband (I'm sure my boyfriend won't mind).Back off fangirls, he is mine. I needed something to make me stop thinking about Heathcliff and Catherine and their horror love story. So, naturally, I chose Jane Eyre. Yes, it's dark but nowhere nearly as scary as Wuthering Heights. It's actually quite romantic. Ok, he locked his wife in the attic. In those days people didn't get divorced. If you had a crazy spouse, you locked them in the attic. I, Ana, take you, Mr. Rochester, to be my lawful wedded husband (I'm sure my boyfriend won't mind).Back off fangirls, he is mine. I needed something to make me stop thinking about Heathcliff and Catherine and their horror love story. So, naturally, I chose Jane Eyre. Yes, it's dark but nowhere nearly as scary as Wuthering Heights. It's actually quite romantic. Ok, he locked his wife in the attic. In those days people didn't get divorced. If you had a crazy spouse, you locked them in the attic. That's how it was done. Let's cut Mr. Rochester some slack. "I knew," he continued, "you would do me good in some way, at some time: I saw it in your eyes when I first beheld you; their expression and smile did not strike delight to my inmost heart so for nothing."
    more
  • Diane
    January 26, 2009
    Jane Eyre makes me want to be a better person. Her goodness, her humility, her frankness, her passion, her fierce will and her moral compass are all inspiring.And yet, I also love her faults. Jane has a temper, she gets jealous, she fights back, and at times she is too obedient, especially when given orders by overbearing men.What is it about this gothic novel that still makes it a compelling read more than 160 years after it was published? I first came to this story, as I suspect many have, thr Jane Eyre makes me want to be a better person. Her goodness, her humility, her frankness, her passion, her fierce will and her moral compass are all inspiring.And yet, I also love her faults. Jane has a temper, she gets jealous, she fights back, and at times she is too obedient, especially when given orders by overbearing men.What is it about this gothic novel that still makes it a compelling read more than 160 years after it was published? I first came to this story, as I suspect many have, through the various movie and TV versions of the book.* I have now read this book three times, and I get something more out of it with each reading. With each reread, I have paid better attention to what Brontë was saying about women and gender roles; I saw her comments on class and social order; I noticed her thoughts on religion and piety, and the continuum of Christian characters she created — some noble, like St. John, and some who twisted the Bible for their own gain, such as Mr. Brocklehurst and Aunt Reed. (As the daughter of a stern clergyman, I am sure Charlotte had some strong opinions on the ways and people of the church.)Indeed, Brontë had a lot to say about Victorian England, and her characters were all so real and well-drawn that I feel as if I know them. I loved this book, and I will continue to love it. I'm already looking forward to the next time I read it.Update March 2017When Donald was elected U.S. President over Hillary, my heart broke. I was depressed and anxious, and decided to seek comfort from my old friend Jane Eyre. This was the first book I grabbed after the November election, and I savored the reread. I chose Jane because she always tried to do the right thing, despite being forced to deal with people of inferior moral character. Jane's goodness was indeed a comfort, and I was grateful for the companionship.During that post-election reread, one quote in particular struck me as especially relevant:"Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soul has never been loosened or fertilized by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones."First read: February 2009Second read: January 2015Third read: November-December 2016FAVORITE QUOTES"Children can feel, but they cannot analyze their feelings; and if the analysis is particularly effected in thought, they know not how to express the result of the process in words.""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 knowledge of life amid its perils.""It is vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility; they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it. Millions are condemned to a stiller doom than mine, and millions are in silent revolt against their lot. Nobody knows how many rebellions besides political rebellions ferment in the masses of life which people earth. Women 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 restraint, 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 has pronounced necessary for their sex.""Most true it is that 'beauty is in the eye of the gazer.' My master's colorless, olive face, square, massive brow, broad and jetty eyebrows, deep eyes, strong features, firm, grim mouth — all energy, decision, will — were not beautiful, according to the rule; but they were more than beautiful to me; they were full of an interest, an influence that quite mastered me — that took my feelings from my own power and fettered them in his. I had not intended to love him; the reader knows I had wrought hard to extirpate at the first renewed view of him, they spontaneously revived, green and strong! He made me love him without looking at me.""I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself. I will keep the law given by God; sanctioned by man. I will hold to the principles received by me when I was sane, and not mad -- as I am now. Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation; they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be."FOOTNOTE*Since this is the closest thing I have to a blog, I will share my opinions on the best and worst movie adaptations of Jane Eyre. As I see it, casting is everything. It is not enough to take a famous actress, put her in a dowdy gray dress and do her hair in an elaborate bun. No, you have to find the right actress. And if you are lucky enough to find her, then you have to find the right man to play Mr. Rochester. And then, by jove, the two have to have on-screen chemistry. A film version of Jane Eyre with no heat between Jane and Edward is a waste of everyone's time. So here are my rankings of the versions I have seen:ABSOLUTE BEST: 2006 Masterpiece Theatre version with Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens. A fantastic script, incredible actors, steamy chemistry and beautifully filmed. One of my all-time favorite period dramas. 5 starsA FOR EFFORT: 2011 movie with Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender. The script moves quickly through the book and changes the original timing to in media res, which works OK. Both actors gave good performances and the mood was very gothic, but the chemistry wasn't as great as with Wilson and Stephens. Mia and Michael were just on slightly different levels. 4 starsSOLID TRY: 1996 Zeffirelli film starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and William Hurt. Fine script and beautifully filmed, the problem with this version is William Hurt, who seems half-asleep. Charlotte is a good Jane, but I wish Franco would have found a more impassioned Mr. Rochester. 3 starsMEH: 1997 movie with Samantha Morton and Ciarán Hinds. A total mismatch of actors. Just frustrating to watch. (Sorry Ciarán, but I loved you in Persuasion and Miss Pettigrew!) 2 starsWORST: 1943 version with Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine. This movie made me cringe. The problem with Orson Welles is that no matter who he's playing, he's always Orson Welles. He is a terrible Mr. Rochester -- he just bellowed and stomped around. I generally enjoy classic Hollywood films, but this was unwatchable. 1 star
    more
  • Samadrita
    November 5, 2012
    EDIT - 22/04/2015:- The following review was written in paroxysms of adoration which I no longer feel hence a star is being ducked. Now that I have read Wide Sargasso Sea and re-read Wuthering Heights, Rochester and Jane's attraction as characters of high morals has waned in my eyes. But until I write a more balanced critique of this, I refrain from disowning my first impressions.____What do I write about you Jane? Words fall short when I try to. Jane, you are so much a part of me as I am your EDIT - 22/04/2015:- The following review was written in paroxysms of adoration which I no longer feel hence a star is being ducked. Now that I have read Wide Sargasso Sea and re-read Wuthering Heights, Rochester and Jane's attraction as characters of high morals has waned in my eyes. But until I write a more balanced critique of this, I refrain from disowning my first impressions.____What do I write about you Jane? Words fall short when I try to. Jane, you are so much a part of me as I am yours.You are so much a part of women who lived in obscurity centuries before Brontë breathed life into you. You are so much a part of women who are alive at present and so much a part of women yet to be born. You are so much a collective chorus of voices than just a single one.You are so much an inexorable force which builds up in intensity over the course of the narrative.You are so much an embodiment of the feminine spirit and not just an ordinary looking, puny little girl of barely twenty with grand world views and ideals.Jane, you are not only the essence of womanhood at its best but the finest specimen of humanity - so refined, so just, so fragile yet so iron-solid. So full of scorn yet so humble. So elegant even in utter distress.Jane, you transcend the boundaries of an era so effortlessly and retain your relevance even today.I don't give any guarantees that reading Jane Eyre (that is if you are still uninitiated) will cure you of misogyny. I do not believe in utopian concepts such as chauvinistic men suddenly giving up on their own delusional views on women and starting to treat them with respect deserving of a human, after reading a book. But it may come very close to achieving that purpose.Then again, I do not expect a well-read man/woman (shocking but women can be misogynists as well) to be a misogynist in the first place.Charlotte Brontë has accorded this immortal literary character with such a voice, such a dignity of bearing, such a sharpness of intellect, such a power of conviction - that absolutely no one can remain unaffected after reading this. Once you get to make the acquaintance of courageous, zealous, outspoken, energetic, intelligent, principled, respectable Jane, you are bound to remember her forever. Rather, Jane will ensure that you do not forget.If you are a woman of integrity, you may see a part of yourself reflected in her sarcastic comebacks, in her sense of humor, in her feelings of rage, in her unapologetic frankness and in her cold refusal to bow down to the wishes of those more powerful than her in terms of wealth or social recognition.Before the term 'feminism' had even come into being, Charlotte Brontë was busy creating an everlasting symbol of feminine power that will stand the test of time with incredible ease and continue to cast its influence on society and literature. Sure Jane Eyre has a romance at its heart - a memorable one at that. Sure it also contains a Gothic mystery. But these are not its only highlights. Jane Eyre is a feminist doctrine in the garb of a novel. Jane Eyre highlights the injustices of class divisions. Jane Eyre contains a subtle indictment of blind religious zealotry and upholds the value of man over God. Jane Eyre lays bare the perversities in self-important men of religion. Jane Eyre criticizes a prejudiced Victorian society and exposes the hollowness of the lives of its affluent but ignorant gentry. And to think Charlotte Brontë wrote this in the middle of the 19th century. The last time I had been this strongly affected by a classic was about 10 years ago, when I had read A Tale of Two Cities for the first time. This is the kind of book whose greatness you cannot try and measure by awarding it a number of stars or even by reviewing it. This is not just one of the finest literary masterpieces ever to come into existence but forms a very important part of the reason why we read, why we prefer to shun the company of people and seek a few precious hours of togetherness with fiction or literature, instead.Dear Ms Brontë, I am late to the party but I have arrived nonetheless. And I cannot thank you enough for bringing me, for bringing 'us' alive in your powerful words. The world and I owe you a debt we can never repay. Oh thank you so very much!P.S.:- This review is glaring in its obvious exclusion of Edward Fairfax Rochester, but that is not for any shortcoming on Mr Rochester's part. Rochester is without a doubt one of the most realistic and engaging literary romantic interests ever created. But I wanted this to be about Jane and only her. Because had Brontë's intention been to bestow equal importance on Jane and Rochester, she would have named this 'Jane and Edward' or something along those lines.
    more
  • Gabriella
    August 27, 2007
    SPOILER ALERT. YOU MAY NOT WANT TO READ THIS REVIEW IF YOU PLAN ON READING JANE EYRE.I read Jane Eyre for the first time as an adult and I can't help but feel sorry for every junior high or high school student who was forced to read this book. I thought getting through this book was very difficult. I assumed I would love it since I generally love books by Jane Austen, but I didn't find many similarities at all. Jane Eyre was boring and unbelievable. I did enjoy the first half of the book because SPOILER ALERT. YOU MAY NOT WANT TO READ THIS REVIEW IF YOU PLAN ON READING JANE EYRE.I read Jane Eyre for the first time as an adult and I can't help but feel sorry for every junior high or high school student who was forced to read this book. I thought getting through this book was very difficult. I assumed I would love it since I generally love books by Jane Austen, but I didn't find many similarities at all. Jane Eyre was boring and unbelievable. I did enjoy the first half of the book because I had such hope for her, but then it just became dull and unrealistic. I never bought the romance between Jane and Mr. Rochester, nor did I buy the coincidence of her happening to arrive on the doorstep of the only relations she has in all of England during her time of need. I also find it strange that she dedicates the last paragraphs of the book primarily to St. John Rivers, when he was such a small part of her life, not to mention the fact that the part he did play was primarily negative.Bronte failed to draw me into the lives of these characters or like them, frankly, which made this a very long read for me.
    more
  •  Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
    December 23, 2008
    It seems silly to say that a book can affect you on a profound level. well I definitely believe in this power that a good book has. Jane Eyre is one of them. I cannot say that this was an easy book to read. But it was a book that I was very enriched by reading. Romance is a genre that is looked down on by many "sophisticated readers." Perhaps they would look down on Jane Eyre, but would probably get some eyebrows raised at them. Well Jane Eyre is the archetype for the romance novel. After having It seems silly to say that a book can affect you on a profound level. well I definitely believe in this power that a good book has. Jane Eyre is one of them. I cannot say that this was an easy book to read. But it was a book that I was very enriched by reading. Romance is a genre that is looked down on by many "sophisticated readers." Perhaps they would look down on Jane Eyre, but would probably get some eyebrows raised at them. Well Jane Eyre is the archetype for the romance novel. After having read thousands of them, I know a romance novel when I see it, and Jane Eyre does qualify. But it is much more than this. It's a story for the person who wonders why they keep trying to do the right thing, and persevering in life, instead of just taking what they want when they want it. If Jane Eyre had been that sort of person, she would not have gotten her happy ending. Instead, Jane walked away from the thing she wanted most in the world. She almost died doing what she felt in her heart was right. Had the story ended there, I probably would have detested this book. But it doesn't. We see Jane continue to grow and act as the phenomenal person that she was. Although often downtrodden, she is no meek mouse. She has a fighting spirit that keeps her going when others would have laid down and died. But despite being a fighter, she is not a user and abuser. It's hard at times for the difference to be clearly delineated. Well there is no question about Jane's level of strength and intregrity. Although it is made clear several times in this novel, that Jane is no beauty, her soul makes her a beautiful character. Beautiful in a more profound way.There are moments when you feel, how can one person suffer so? But taking the journey, you realize that all Jane's suffering had a purpose. It refined her into a woman who could look beneath and love what others could never love or understand. It made her the woman who could love and heal Rochester.At the same time, Rochester was made for Jane Eyre. He had searched his life for a woman like her, and made quite a few mistakes along the way. And out of love, he was able to let her go when he wanted to keep her. But she came back to him, when he needed her most. Rochester is the hero that formed the archetype for many of my favorites: tortured, scarred, dark, enigmatic, all of those things. Best of all, loving little, plain, ordinary Jane with a fundamental intensity that pours out of the pages of this book into my heart as a reader. Despite his lack of perfection, I could not love him more.Ah, how maudlin I sound. I can't help it. This book moved me to tears. Yet I smiled at the same time. I enjoyed the conversations between Rochester and Jane. There was a heat there, a passion. Yet this book is clean enough to read in Sunday school. That is grand romance. The journey so well expressed, that no sex scenes are needed. It's all there. This novel is also inspirational. Not preachy, in my opinion, but for a believer, one can definitely find spiritual messages in this book. About perseverance, about not wearying about doing good. About the profoundness of God's love. It's all there, but in a narrative that expertly showcases it, not preaching it.I feel I am failing to write the review I want to write for this book. The words do fail me. All I can say is that this book will always be a favorite of mine because of the way it touched my heart and challenged me.
    more
  • Stephen
    October 20, 2011
    A CELEBRITY DEATHMATCH REVIEW: Hamlet vs. Jane Eyre! Setting: A small town in the Old West. Sheriff Hamlet is relaxing out in front of the General Store. Suddenly Polonius comes running down the middle of the dirt road at the center of town, waving his hands in the air, shouting "EVERYBODY RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!! JANE EYRE AND THE BRONTE POSSE IS COMING TO TOWN!!" The townspeople all scramble out of sight. Store owners pull the shades down. Sheriff Hamlet remains cucumber cool with his legs crossed A CELEBRITY DEATHMATCH REVIEW: Hamlet vs. Jane Eyre! Setting: A small town in the Old West. Sheriff Hamlet is relaxing out in front of the General Store. Suddenly Polonius comes running down the middle of the dirt road at the center of town, waving his hands in the air, shouting "EVERYBODY RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!! JANE EYRE AND THE BRONTE POSSE IS COMING TO TOWN!!" The townspeople all scramble out of sight. Store owners pull the shades down. Sheriff Hamlet remains cucumber cool with his legs crossed, reading in the newspaper. According to the article, candidate Marcellus is going on again about “there’s something rotten” in Mayor Claudius’ administration. Then Jane Eyre and the rest of the Brontes appear on horseback at the end of the street coming to halt in a cloud of dust. Jane dismounts and moseys up the middle of the street, spurs jangling, eyes darting back and forth, alert for movement. Sheriff Hamlet gets up, peering at Jane from squinty eyes beneath his hat. He saunters cool-like and deliberate, taking his position at the opposite end of the street. Jane: (menacing) You sheriff round these here parts? Hamlet: (calm) I reckon so. Jane: (calls back to her posse) Well that’s a dandy…Get 'im, Bertha! Suddenly bursting into view, a wild-eyed woman in a charred wedding veil issues forth a shrill war cry, and charges full-speed on her horse towards Hamlet. Unphased, Hamlet stands his ground and puts two fingers to his mouth, whistling loudly. At this signal, Ophelia bursts forth from the saloon doors, foaming at the mouth and waving tulips in her hand. Ophelia: (to Bertha) THESE ARE TULIPS!! THESE ARE FOR TAKING YOU DOWN!!! Bertha, caught completely off guard, is tackled by Ophelia and pulled off her horse. Hitting the ground with a thud, the two are dazed as they roll into a nearby ditch and drown. (the horse runs away) Hamlet: (calm) Fight crazy with crazier, I always say. Jane: (miffed) Well played, Danebag but Mr. Rochester ain’t crazy. Get 'im, Rochester. Mr.Rochester rushes Hamlet at full speed. Again, Hamlet whistles loudly. The ghost of Hamlet’s father suddenly appears, spooking the horse who throws Mr. Rochester crashing to the ground. Jane: (at Hamlet) You bewitched his horse, you stupid Dane!! (to Rochester) Are you all right, my dear? Rochester: (looks pretty beat up, is bruised and laying in a fetal position at the side of the road) I don't think it's fatal, Sweets, but I shall be incapacitated for some time, I believe. Jane: (angered, she draws a gun) Enough foolin' around! She fires off several shots at Hamlet. The bullets seem to travel in slow motion towards the sheriff, who doesn't draw his gun, but instead dodges them, Matrix-style. Jane: (amazed) You didn't even draw your gun! Hamlet: Don't you read any Shakespeare? We never use guns! We're all about poison. (smiles) Did you get your water at that well yonder down the road about a mile? Jane, startled, looks back at the half-consumed flask of water hanging from her horse's saddle. Suddenly, she is overcome with sickness. She grabs at her stomach and falls to a crumpled heap at the ground. Off in the distance, the opening phrase of the theme from "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" plays as Hamlet, with a twinkle in his eye, is heard to remark, “What a piece of work am I.” HAMLET WINS!!
    more
  • Garima
    June 30, 2013
    Classics are books which, the more we think we know them through hearsay, the more original, unexpected, and innovative we find them when we actually read them. - Italo Calvino, Why Read the Classics?There is no second or third or nineteenth time for me. This is the first time I have read Jane Eyre and this is the first time I’ve read anyone like her. Did I take forever to say ‘hello’ to Jane? Not at all! There couldn’t have been a more better timing since at present, my mind is in perfect harm Classics are books which, the more we think we know them through hearsay, the more original, unexpected, and innovative we find them when we actually read them. - Italo Calvino, Why Read the Classics?There is no second or third or nineteenth time for me. This is the first time I have read Jane Eyre and this is the first time I’ve read anyone like her. Did I take forever to say ‘hello’ to Jane? Not at all! There couldn’t have been a more better timing since at present, my mind is in perfect harmony with my heart and I’m walking down the line of rationality without many missteps. Kindly don’t consider these words as some kind of vain certitude on my part but rather an admission of those rare times in our lives, no matter how short lived these moments are, when the clouds of confusion and ambiguity makes way for a clear sky of coherence and understanding, mostly about ourselves and sometimes about others and in this blissful state, I met Jane, Jane Eyre, Jane Elliot, Jane Fairfax Rochester and Jane.We hit it off right away. I empathized with her when she was a child, I encouraged her when she was an adolescent and I admired her when she was on the cusp of being a teenage girl and a woman. Everything was taking place in an acceptable manner. But then Mr. Rochester entered the scene and I went weak at the knees. I wanted a perfect love story with a perfectly happy ending. This usually happens whenever I realize that the love in question is true and pure and the hopeless romantic in me can’t bear the thought of any ill fate befalling upon my dear lovers. I’m game for all the crazy twists and turns but something different was happening here and the difference was Jane. I had my doubts about her along with some petty preconceptions and banal expectations but in spite of reading so much about her, a surprise bundled in the myriad layers of words and phrases, both contemporary and archaic was waiting for me in the form of this book. “You are going, Jane?”“I am going, sir.”“You are leaving me?”“Yes.” One fundamental aspect of this novel was the constant movement of our protagonist. The changes in her life were not courtesy the coming and going of others but it was her, who moved to different places and caught herself in different circumstances which brought the welcome and unwelcome changes that eventually gave the long awaited meaning to her life. As a child, it was an imposition but as the years passed, she attained an understanding of being an individual. This despite the fact that there was an easy and apparently happy road she could have chosen, but that person at the end of that road would have transformed into someone else, someone not Jane. In her quest, she took us, the readers, along with her and made us see the world through her eyes. It was an unpleasant world- unfair, prejudiced, conceited, gothic, but the presence of Jane was redeeming enough. She was real in the world of fakes, an antidote to the poisonous streams of inhumanity and a torchbearer of individuality, feminism, integrity, and independence. What about Love in all this? Especially when Love is all you got? Is this what you’re supposed to proclaim? I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.That’s precisely what you need to do. You need to care for yourself in order to know yourself, only then you can and should step up on the pedestal of love without compromising your being in any manner and Love! It always finds a way when it is meant to be. As for me, I have found a lifelong companion in Jane. What would Jane think? Had I been a Jane in my life? Do I feel a little guilty for not being a Jane on certain occasions? These are some sample yardstick questions I have saved for myself for the perpetual dilemmas that engulf our lives. I’m sure that their answers would help me in a great way and my kind Jane, my plain Jane, my beautiful Jane will always be there to help because, Dear Readers, Jane is Forever.
    more
  • Rowena
    December 28, 2011
    I get the feeling that Jane Eyre may have ruined future English classics for me. I find it hard to imagine other classics topping this one. This was actually a book that I had no interest in reading because I had been underwhelmed by a Jane Eyre miniseries I watched several years ago. However, so many people have urged me to read this, saying it’s an excellent book, and they weren’t wrong.Jane Eyre is definitely cut from a different cloth from the other classic novel heroines I have come across. I get the feeling that Jane Eyre may have ruined future English classics for me. I find it hard to imagine other classics topping this one. This was actually a book that I had no interest in reading because I had been underwhelmed by a Jane Eyre miniseries I watched several years ago. However, so many people have urged me to read this, saying it’s an excellent book, and they weren’t wrong.Jane Eyre is definitely cut from a different cloth from the other classic novel heroines I have come across. She is well-rounded woman of substance, courageous and brave. We follow Jane from her humble beginnings as an abused orphan, both at her Aunt Reed’s house and the boarding school she was subsequently sent to, to her life as a governess. During this period, Jane learns, and is willing to learn, many lessons. I admired her courage and her determination, her desire to be free, despite what little she had or was given, her intelligence, and her love for others.“I longed for a power of vision which might overpass that limit; which might reach the busy world, towns, regions full of life I had heard of but never seen that then I desired more of the practical experience than I possessed; more of intercourse with my kind, of acquaintance with variety of character, than was here within my reach.” I was surprised to read passages that highlighted her feminist leanings; it was very timely that I read this book on International Women’s Day. “Nobody knows how many rebellions beside political rebellions ferment in the masses of life which people earth. Women 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 privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings…”It’s also a love story, featuring the brooding Mr. Rochester. I found him to be quite an interesting character, though I did question a few of his actions. Bronte’s writing style is truly exquisite; she has an adept handle on the language and her prose was like poetry at times. I found it quite charming the way in which she addressed the reader (“dear Reader”) throughout the narrative. It was also interesting to see that Bronte uses semi-colons a lot more often than I do (and I think I use them a lot!).“The flame flickers in the eye; the eye shines like dew; it looks soft and full of feeling; it smiles at my jargon: it is susceptible; impression follows impression through its clear sphere; where it ceases to smile, it is sad; an unconscious lassitude weighs on the lid: that signifies melancholy resulting from loneliness. It turns from me; it will not suffer farther scrutiny; it seems to deny, by a mocking glance, the truth of the discoveries I have already made…”I’m so glad to have my own copy of this book as I believe I’ll be reading this one over and over again in the future.
    more
  • Mansuriah Hassan
    October 14, 2016
    One of my reading goals is to read as much classic literature as I can. And I am glad that I chose this book. Jane Eyre tells a story of a very likable personage - orphan girl Jane Eyre who, after her parents' deaths lived with her aunt and three cousins who heartily hated her, then at the age of 10 she was sent to a special school-orphanage where after spending 8 years she became a teacher and later a governess at a rich household. As the story progresses we see Jane mature from a young rebelli One of my reading goals is to read as much classic literature as I can. And I am glad that I chose this book. Jane Eyre tells a story of a very likable personage - orphan girl Jane Eyre who, after her parents' deaths lived with her aunt and three cousins who heartily hated her, then at the age of 10 she was sent to a special school-orphanage where after spending 8 years she became a teacher and later a governess at a rich household. As the story progresses we see Jane mature from a young rebellious thing to a fine, upstanding, sweet natured woman, who is headstrong and determined, independent and completely selfless person.Narrated in the first person, Bronte's writing instantly draws the reader into the story, compelling me to keep reading. I found the book incredibly hard to put down. The way the story unfolds is mesmerizing, and it is so intelligently written and absorbing. Having never read any works of Charlotte Brontë before, I was quite skeptical about Jane Eyre at first thinking that this is going to be like another Cinderella story (about a kind orphan girl who is cruelly treated by the people around her and in the end found her happily ever after). Jane is such a likeable character and I am sure most readers identify with her, even today, after its first publication in 1847, her situation and predicaments are something we all experience at some point in our lives. It is no wonder that this story has stood the test of time, and I am sure that in future this fine example of English literature will have its fans as much as it does today.Read Jane Eyre, I urge you, you will not regret it!
    more
  • Manny
    December 20, 2008
    Reader, she married him.
  • Councillor
    September 9, 2015
    Jane Eyre is one of those books everyone says you have to read one day, often mentioned in one breath along with classics like Pride and Prejudice or Wuthering Heights, and I agree. This is an important novel about female independence, the development into an adult human being and the search for one's true destination in juxtaposition with traditional ideals and guidelines.But not only is it an important novel: Charlotte Brontë managed to include elements of humor, romance, gothic fiction and ev Jane Eyre is one of those books everyone says you have to read one day, often mentioned in one breath along with classics like Pride and Prejudice or Wuthering Heights, and I agree. This is an important novel about female independence, the development into an adult human being and the search for one's true destination in juxtaposition with traditional ideals and guidelines.But not only is it an important novel: Charlotte Brontë managed to include elements of humor, romance, gothic fiction and even a little mystery in her story, allowing it to address not only one specific target audience. Even if this book is not part of everyone's reading interests, it is a novel which will make you think about certain aspects (like the aforementioned themes), and maybe it will even make you feel close to Jane Eyre, the main character, and become interested in the story of her fateful life.Almost everyone will probably know what this book is about, but in case you don't, Charlotte Brontë introduces us to Jane Eyre who grows in an unhappy childhood with her aunt, later endures cruelty and her first introduction to the life outside of her own family at a charity school, and finally begins to live her own life when she starts to work as a governess for Mr. Edward Rochester. Even though the book may sound melodramatic in its outline, I personally think that it was the emphasis on the emotions each of the characters went through which allowed it to achieve its famous status. The novel is almost entirely character-driven for the majority of the story, making it easy to feel emotionally connected to Jane and her independent mind.I had some smaller issues with the book, including (view spoiler)[the coincidence of Jane, out of all the houses she could have went into in the entirety of the United Kingdom, entering the home of her only relatives she has left in the country (hide spoiler)]. I did need more than seven months to finish the novel, but that was mainly my own fault because I wasn't in the right mood for it for a long time and did ultimately read most of the novel in the course of a few days, which should generally not provide a problem because of the sophisticated, yet very readable language.A true classic which can be recommended for all age groups and all kinds of readers, and which made me join the group of people who say everyone should read it one day.
    more
  • Brad
    March 25, 2013
    The funny thing about this novel is not how enlightened it is for the time period, because it really isn't all that enlightened, right Mr. Rochester? How's that first wife hanging in the attic? Or how closely aligned to modern ideas of equality between the sexes and finding an equitable arrangement between them it is, because it only happens to conform to the standards of romantic literature of the time, where happy endings happen. Windfall out of nowhere? Really? Trope, much? And how does that The funny thing about this novel is not how enlightened it is for the time period, because it really isn't all that enlightened, right Mr. Rochester? How's that first wife hanging in the attic? Or how closely aligned to modern ideas of equality between the sexes and finding an equitable arrangement between them it is, because it only happens to conform to the standards of romantic literature of the time, where happy endings happen. Windfall out of nowhere? Really? Trope, much? And how does that subvert anything except as to put Janet on an *externally* equal footing? Being balanced in monies and station is not the same thing as having a true meeting of minds and hearts.Fortunately for us, all the plot twists are secondary to the one thing that she and Mr. Rochester have in common, and that is a true meeting of minds and hearts, and while the idiot manages to really crap it up, it seems that only an enormous act of god or authorship or pandering to trope could possibly put Jane back into a position of strength where she can tell the rest of the world to **** off and do what she wanted to do, originally.And that's what this novel is really about. It's not about the plot. It's about the internal character of Jane Eyre. She's wholly her own person, and that, more than anything, is more subversive than anything else in this novel. She's not bucking the male-dominated world. She's not setting off to have adventures. She's not even telling people off unless they push her to it, and she has no qualms about being subservient or going dropping all of her happiness in a big pile and storming off to hold to her personal ethics.That's the point. She knows herself. She knows her limits. She knows what she wants. And even if she doesn't always know how to get what she wants, she knows what she'll settle for and precisely what she won't settle for. She follows her heart, her own judgement, and nothing that anyone might ever say to her would ever change that.There's plenty in this novel that might annoy or outrage modern readers, of course, but this one simple fact about Jane is what lets it transcend all other considerations, or indeed, time itself.This is a great novel. :)
    more
  • s.penkevich
    October 23, 2011
    ‘It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquillity: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.’One would be hard pressed to find a stronger female character than Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. She is a staggering figure of feminist literature, rejecting, or rather, dismissing the notions of social class and many gender roles as she moves upward from her humble beginnings. I was floored by how incredibly enjoyable and poetic this novel was, and how ‘It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquillity: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.’One would be hard pressed to find a stronger female character than Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. She is a staggering figure of feminist literature, rejecting, or rather, dismissing the notions of social class and many gender roles as she moves upward from her humble beginnings. I was floored by how incredibly enjoyable and poetic this novel was, and how it would resound equally well with audiences of either gender despite being often dismissed by males. With Brontë’s strong feminist themes brilliantly illuminated through her enviable prose and engrossing characters, Jane Eyre truly deserves the title of Classic Novel.One cannot help but fall in love with the character of Jane Eyre. I went into this novel expecting simply a variation of Austen, and was pleasantly surprised. Instead of being focused on the proper workings within proper society, I found a total rejection of these notions in the character of Jane. Still being pleasant and strong willed like Austen’s leads, Jane climbs the ladder of society without stopping to consider her place within it and often criticizes class based distinctions. Although she is merely a governess, she aims for the heart of the ‘Master of the house’, and even after certain events would no longer require her servitude, she is quite insistent upon maintaining employment and an income. She is like a Victorian era punk, totally bent on independence. Mr. Rochester is another lovable character, despite his being a complete pompous ass (which totally won my heart). It is interesting to note that Brontë toys with some of the ideas of romantic plots as well. It is usual for the romantic couple to be attractive (look at Hollywood), yet Brontë is quick and often to point out that neither Jane nor Mr. Rochester are particularly pleasing to the eye, and have a difficult countenance. Brontë’s use of language is widely impressive, having a keen eye for detail and distinction in both natural descriptions and dialogue. It was difficult not to speak like these characters in real life (which would have probably earned me a punch to the mouth), the writing and speech is that infectious. It flows for pages with a strong current without becoming dull in the long descriptive passages and accounts. In short, Brontë writes with the best of them.Fleshing out this story is the theme of sin and forgiveness. While being heavily grounded in religion, Brontë dismisses the standard notions of the day in that regard as well, affording a deeply moral lead that is still able to criticize religious standards and have ambiguous religious beliefs. Jane is quick to judge her actions based on moral principal, but cannot allow it to keep her from being her independent, free-willed self. The most powerful moment of this novel, however, is that only after the sins of her lover are purified in flame and paid in flesh, that the two are able to meld in heavenly bliss. If you haven’t read this, well, let’s just say I’m shaking my head at you like a disappointed father. I jest, but really, give this a try. Brontë is truly a master, and this book gets literally crazy. And for once ‘literally’ truly means literally, you’ll see. Jane Eyre is a wonderful character to follow through this novel and upon completion you will have ‘ acknowledged that God had tempered judgment with mercy’4.5/5
    more
  • Kainat Ijaz 《UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT》
    March 2, 2017
    I'm seeing mostly either 1 or 5 stars reviews, and for the first time, I am able to agree with both sides. I enjoyed the book marvelously, therefore, I can not bring myself to rate it any lower. I might do a full review on this soon since I've realized the majority of people know next to nothing about what Jane Eyre is actually about. It's shameful if you ask me. I highly recommend it to everyone. “If all the world hated you and believed you wicked, while your own conscience approved of you and I'm seeing mostly either 1 or 5 stars reviews, and for the first time, I am able to agree with both sides. I enjoyed the book marvelously, therefore, I can not bring myself to rate it any lower. I might do a full review on this soon since I've realized the majority of people know next to nothing about what Jane Eyre is actually about. It's shameful if you ask me. I highly recommend it to everyone. “If all the world hated you and believed you wicked, while your own conscience approved of you and absolved you from guilt, you would not be without friends.” Another very popular classic I still have not read. Soon I shall get to you, my friend, soon.
    more
  • Vessey
    May 1, 2014
    I dedicate this review to my dear friend Jeffrey, who is a great person and writer. Jeffrey, you are incredible and you should never, ever changeSPOILERSJane and Mr. RochesterMore than once I have come across criticism on Charlotte Bronte for fully failing to understand Jane Austen. Charlotte declares her incapable of passion. And while I cannot agree with this assessment, after my second reading of ‘Jane Eyre’ I do understand why someone like Chatlotte Bronte sees someone like Jane Austen this I dedicate this review to my dear friend Jeffrey, who is a great person and writer. Jeffrey, you are incredible and you should never, ever changeSPOILERSJane and Mr. RochesterMore than once I have come across criticism on Charlotte Bronte for fully failing to understand Jane Austen. Charlotte declares her incapable of passion. And while I cannot agree with this assessment, after my second reading of ‘Jane Eyre’ I do understand why someone like Chatlotte Bronte sees someone like Jane Austen this way. If Lizzie Bennet is a breath fresh air, charming and witty, Jane is force of nature. In the face of a storm Lizzie will be next to you, encouraging you and consoling you, while Jane will grab you by the hands, look you in the eyes and tell you “It’s over. You’re going down. Face it and do it right” Jane carries herself through light and darkness in equally graceful way. I may disagree with some of her views, yet, I am completely enthralled and mesmerized by her strength, by her determination to fight for herself, and the passion with which she defends her beliefs, regardless of whether I agree with them or not."I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will."Jane proved to me that freedom and free will are not the same thing. Does the slave, the captive, the sick one, the lonely one, have a free will? We are all captives in some way, we are dependant and we all suffer. Some more than others. Free will doesn’t go away with freedom. No walls, no humiliations and atrocities can devour it. I shall quote my friend Hades “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’ Even in the face of most horrendous circumstances we have the choice, the free will, to decide whether we shall let our identity, our core, the sense of meaning, burn out along with our happiness, or we shall keep remembering that there is always tomorrow. Jane remembers, Jane hopes, Jane believes. Jane cares. I will never understand those who consider Catherine the personification of passion and free human spirit, and Jane just a meek, boring, insipid girl. Catherine is passionate about nothing and no one else but Heathcliff. And even this single source of passion doesn’t prove strong enough. She lets go of him and voluntarily confines herself into miserable marriage and devotes her existence to a life of bland luxury, lies and petty rivalries that make neither her, nor anyone close to her happy. This isn’t the face of passion and freedom. Jane is passionate about Mr. Rochester, about women's position, moral, religion, education. About people and the world in general. She has a really big scope. One that Catherine lacks. She knows herself well enough to know that being entraped in a relationship that goes against her instincts would ruin her. It is people endowed with passion and bravery that dare to throw away the shroud of the common, to peel the veneer and see what’s inside. She breaks the rules. She cares nothing for customs, social norms and others’ opinion. Her conscience is her only guide. Jane is adventurer. She longs for “the wind to howl more wildly, the gloom to deepen to darkness, and the confusion to rise to clamour”."I believed in the existence of other and more vivid kinds of goodness, and what I believed in I wished to behold. Who blames me? Many, no doubt; and I shall be called discontented. I could not help it: the restlessness was in my nature; it agitated me to pain sometimes."And this longing makes her to break free from prejudice, to remember that “women feel just as men feel; It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.” It makes her brave enough to have a relationship with an older, prominent, enigmatic, sarcastic, dominant, demanding man, even though many who have been victims of suppression and abuse would see such position as just another of its faces. Yet, she gives into it. She dares explore the forbidden territory, to jump in the deep without a safety net, and knowing that if it fails, there will be a hell to pay. At the time having a relationship with the boss wasn’t as easy as it is today."My eyes were drawn involuntarily to his face; I could not keep them under control. I looked, and had an acute pleasure in looking, - a precious yet poignant pleasure; pure gold, with a steely point of agony: a pleasure like what the thirst-perishing man might feel who knows the well to which he has crept is poisoned, yet stoops and drinks divine draughts nevertheless."Temptation. It is a powerful force and for a woman like Jane, endowed with rare sensitivity and sensuality, it is an even greater one. Jane is modest and calm, but on the inside she is full of "life, fire, feeling”. And she is confident enough to not feel the need to demonstrate and parade her sexuality. As Marguerite Duras says in “The Lover”, “You didn’t have to attract desire. Either it was in the woman who aroused it or it didn’t exist”. Just like she doesn’t feel the need to prove how strong she is. Her mild, calm nature is not a sign of resignation, but a sign of deep inner peace. Fervour and boldness are not the only weapons one might possess. Jane isn’t about effects, but results. She speaks little and calmly, but smartly. Two quiet words, said in the right way and at the right time, have a bigger effect than the most intense and colorful declaration. Everyone can attract attention by being bold and flirtatious, everyone can defend themselves by using strong language and even force. But how many of us can achieve those things without even trying? Jane’s strength and beauty are deeply intrinsic. They are part of her, and not something she needs to evoke. They provoke fear in the cruel, sanctimonious, narrow-minded Mrs. Reid and Mr. Brocklehurst, mollify the innate coarseness of Betsy, gain the favour of Mirss Temple, Diana and Mary Rivers, and the affection and respect of Edward Rochester and John Rivers. I shall quote Mr. Rochester himself."To women who please me only by their faces, I am the very devil when I find out they have neither souls nor hearts - when they open to me a perspective of flatness, triviality, and imbecility, coarseness, and ill-temper: but to the clear eye and eloquent tongue, to the soul made of fire, and the character that bends but does not break - at once supple and stable, tractable and consistent - I am ever tender and true."He understands and describes her character perfectly.With all said, Jane isn’t perfect. She has her inner struggles. She questions her principles, she suffers the temptations and dilemmas we all do. It takes her a lot to learn to handle her strong emotions. Both negative and positive. When she is faced with the same dilemma that haunts the protagonist of “Notes From the Underground”,“Which is better – cheap happiness or lofty suffering?”she is very tempted to choose what she perceives to be an immoral act, disregard of her most important values. Her inner struggle at those moments will stay with me. It touched me very deeply. "I have talked, face to face, with what I reverence, with what I delight in, - with an original, a vigorous, an expanded mind. I have known you and it strikes me with terror and anguish to feel I absolutely must be torn from you for ever. I see the necessity of departure; and it is like looking on the necessity of death."In the end she adheres to her chosen path. But despite her choice of ”lofty suffering”, Jane is not judgmental and self-righteous. She proves exactly how gentle her heart is and how deep her mind when she is faced with Mr. Rochester point of view regarding relationships and the sanctity of marriage. She doesn’t share his view, yet, she isn’t scandalized, indignant or angry. She actually sees the sense in what he tells her, despite not agreeing to it. I think it is rare to be able to understand and accept an opposite point of view without sharing it. It seems to me that she doesn’t see their opposite views as right and wrong. She acts more like they are right and righter. This is a woman able to see nuances. All said about Jane’s depth can be said about Edward Rochester too. I will never forget these words:"Never was anything at once so frail and so indomitable. I could bend her with my finger and thumb: and what good would it do if I bent, if I uptore, if I crushed her? Consider that eye, defying me, with more than courage - with a stern triumph. It is you, spirit - with will and energy, and virtue and purity - that I want: not alone your brittle frame."It only shows how well they know and understand each other. (Unlike Heathcliff and Cathy) The harmony they find in their disharmony proves the veracity of his earlier words:"It is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous Channel, and two hundred miles or so of land come broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapt; and then I’ve a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly. As for you, - you’d forget me."The first sentence anyway. As the plot progresses, we see that, like in every great love story, nobody forgets no one. The way they bear their separation only supports his claim about the deep affinity between them. (sighing)Jane and John RiversThe other austere, dominant male presence in Jane’s life. He must be one of the most fascinating characters I have come across. He may not be the man you would want as a best friend or to marry to, but I find him incredibly exciting and thought provoking. I shall quote myself. Here’s what I say in my review of “Inferno””I would always choose the sinner who sins, but also forgives, over the saint who never sins, but never forgives either”The juxtaposition between John Rivers and Edward Rochester really instills life into those words. Charlotte Bronte seems to have believed the same thing, judging by the way she has constructed those two characters. And Jane somehow balances their features in herself. She possesses some of the convictions and prejudices of John Rivers. She is deeply religious and despite generally being able to see nuances, in some aspects, just like his, her view is too black and white. She too is used to very simple, moderate life, she too feels the need to help others. Only, unlike him, she realizes that in some aspects the best way to take care of others is to, first and foremost, take care of yourself. And this is where once again we witness her ability and willingness to see nuances. Unlike John Rivers, she realizes that when an idea, no matter how noble, turns into an obsession, might turn the devotee into someone as – and even more – dangerous than many egotists, opportunists and criminals out there. Rochester too is an austere, harsh man, but unlike John Rivers, he understands the other side too. He’s also full of love and tenderness and generosity. Not John Rivers, though. "What struggle there was in him between Nature and Grace in this interval, I cannot tell: only singular gleams scintillated in his eyes, and strange shadows passed over his face. He is a good and a great man; but he forgets, pitilessly, the feelings and claims of little people, in pursuing his own large views. It is better for the insignificant to keep out of his way, lest, in his progress, he should trample them down"John Rivers, albeit good and great man – as Jane herself refers to him – is tainted by the fatal weakness of seeing people as just a big herd and himself as the shepherd who needs to lead and support it. He fails to see them as individual human beings, which is good neither for them, nor for himself. He is ready to sacrifice himself and everyone else he deems necessary to achieve his grand dream. He has a big heart, but a narrow scope. He struggles with every genuine feeling that comes to him."You are original, and not timid. There is something brave in your spirit, as well as penetrating in your eye; but allow me to assure you that you partially misinterpret my emotions. I declare, the convulsion of the soul. That is just as fixed as a rock, firm set in the depths of a restless sea. Know me to be what I am - a cold hard man."He is fanatic to the very core of his being and so lacking of confidence and self-esteem that he believes himself worthless without religion. To Jane religion is a dear friend helping her to keep her hope alive and make hard choices. It is essential part of her personality, but she sees it as something separated from her. She had her marvelous qualities even before turning to it. However, John Rivers sees his religious self as the only self that is of any worth. He affirms nothing else."You have taken my confidence by storm, and now it is much at your service. I am simply, in my original state - stripped of that blood-bleached robe with which Christianity covers human deformity - a cold, hard, ambitious man. My ambition is unlimited: my desire to rise higher - insatiable. I watch you with interest, but not because I deeply compassionate what you have gone through, or what you still suffer."His words show that he too is possessed by a deep passion. But it is a cold flame that inflames it. His goal is noble, but not his ways. He rejects his individuality and that of others, the idea of happiness and self-indulgence. He forgets that every love is first and foremost love for the self. It is from this love that our love for others emanates. If we give up on ourselves, we give up on everyone else. If all you do is just give and give and sacrifice and sacrifice yourself, one day you will find that you have run out of substance and you have nothing left to give. And you will be gone, unable to help anyone with anything. And it will happen quickly. As it really does happen with him. But, as Jane herself proves, if you use your goodness and generosity sparingly enough and not forget yourself, you will be able to preserve yourself and therefore help others for a longer period and in a more quality way. Sometimes the best way to be strong is to let yourself be weak. I choose weak, but long-burning candle over bright and short-burning one. Jane is not as free-thinking as Rochester in some regards, but she does share his warmth, his willingness to forgive, the flexibility of his mind, his dream of happy and content life. She admits her own – and his – importance. It is always hard to decide how much to give to others and how much to keep to ourselves. It’s the hardest balance to keep. The one between the self and the world.With all said, I do believe that John Rivers, cold as he was, in his own way did love her. But he was too absorbed by his overblown idea of humanity and sacrifice and his refusal to see people as anything else than helpless victims and himself and Jane as the necessary sacrifice laid on the sacred alter and soon to be consumed. For awhile Jane is tempted. For awhile he is as big a temptation as Rochester. In the end though her spirit prevails, she breaks free, she remembers who she truly is and whom she needs to be with. The ending brought me so much happiness. I still stand by my claim that Mr. Rochester is the sweetest marshmallow of a man I have come across. And Jane agrees with me. Or, maybe I should say, I agree with her. This is one of my most favourite novels and, in some ways, the favourite. It was the book that made me realize that simplicity and depth don’t mutually exclude each other. It is a simple story, but it tells us so much. And Jane herself, she doesn’t possess the grayness we all appreciate so much in characters and consider to be making them deeper and more interesting. In this regard Jane is not complex – she is perfectly good, kind and amiable girl – but she is a deep character that speaks to me from the distance of 178 years. And I hear her voice. She exhorts me to be compassionate, to be strong in the face of adversity, to be equally kind to myself and others, to love myself and others willingly and openly, without shame, without regret, without reserve. She remains a quiet power in my consciousness that I will never separate with. Thank you, Jane.Read count: 2P.S. My only regret is that I didn’t provide Mr. Rochester with enough attention. I feel that I should have explored his character more thoroughly, so this review will probably go through a substantial redaction at some point. Otherwise it was a really nice experience.
    more
  • Raeleen Lemay
    May 9, 2011
    *3.5*I HAVE VERY MIXED FEELINGS ABOUT THIS. I really REALLY enjoyed the first half of the book, mainly because I love stories of orphans and/or boarding schools, so young Jane was somebody I enjoyed reading about. From a young age she was very headstrong and always stood up for herself and what she believed in, which she continued to do throughout the book. However, as the book went on, the pacing slowed down a lot (for me, anyway) and I found myself losing interest. The Victorian drama of peopl *3.5*I HAVE VERY MIXED FEELINGS ABOUT THIS. I really REALLY enjoyed the first half of the book, mainly because I love stories of orphans and/or boarding schools, so young Jane was somebody I enjoyed reading about. From a young age she was very headstrong and always stood up for herself and what she believed in, which she continued to do throughout the book. However, as the book went on, the pacing slowed down a lot (for me, anyway) and I found myself losing interest. The Victorian drama of people courting each other just doesn't appeal to me that much, I guess (note: I really disliked Pride and Prejudice when I read it a few years ago).Overall, it was a decent book, and I really liked certain things about it, but I wouldn't call it a favorite by any means.
    more
  • Helen 2.0
    November 11, 2016
    A great read for cold weather & a fireside seat.
  • Clau R.
    March 13, 2017
    3.5 stars
  • karen
    April 8, 2007
    well, i can do that, too.CELEBRITY DEATHMATCH REVIEWS*(*entertainment purposes only)HAMLET v. JANE EYRESetting: World Courts buildings, Den Haag, Netherlands; a closed-session hearing...Judge: I have agreed to hear this case, but I must admit to both parties that we are in uncharted legal territory. Both parties must understand that I have very little administrative guidance with which to make a decision. This is a very public dispute, and the fate of a nation rests on my decision, so my decisio well, i can do that, too.CELEBRITY DEATHMATCH REVIEWS*(*entertainment purposes only)HAMLET v. JANE EYRESetting: World Courts buildings, Den Haag, Netherlands; a closed-session hearing...Judge: I have agreed to hear this case, but I must admit to both parties that we are in uncharted legal territory. Both parties must understand that I have very little administrative guidance with which to make a decision. This is a very public dispute, and the fate of a nation rests on my decision, so my decision- which is binding and final- will rest heavily on what I think is in the best interests of the Danish people. Agreed?(all parties nod in agreement)Judge: (to Hamlet) Prince Hamlet, I must admit: I’m astonished that you come to be in my court today. I thought you were dead by poison from the blade of Laertes.Hamlet: A sub-lethal dose, it turns out, your Honor.Judge: (nodding) Well, during your period of coma and internment in your family mausoleum, young Fortinbras here claimed your kingdom, citing the documents we reviewed earlier. (pauses to read some legal notes) Some of the changes made under Fortinbras’ rule have been very popular with the Danish public. The court is reluctant to overturn his claim.(to Fortinbras) And who is this woman sitting with you?Fortinbras: Your Honor, this is Jane Eyre, Governess of the Rochester Bank of London- which is the IMF’s (International Monetary Fund’s) appointed agent for the establishment of a Danish central bank, and the restructuring of the Danish economy.Jane Eyre: (nodding deferentially) Your Honor..Judge: (nods) My lady…Hamlet: Your Honor, the creation of that central bank you mention is a point I’d like to address immediately. The gold coin of my father’s realm has been stable for centuries. The fiat notes Ms Eyre and her cronies would print bear no true value. (produces chart) This chart here shows how every fiat currency in history has either failed, or is in the process of failing. (motions to chart)every fiat currency has failedJudge: (looks over his glasses at the chart, then over to Jane) This seems quite compelling, Ms. Eyre. What have you to say about this?Jane Eyre: (condescending) A modern, elastic currency is the only way to capitalize economic growth in Prince Hamlet’s backward little country. His people are living in the… well at least the 16th century, if not earlier.Hamlet: Yes, it’s true, we haven’t had the Agricultural Revolution yet, but we need that to happen before we can industrialize… in order to free up manpower off the farms.Fortinbras: (sniffing derisively) Ridiculous! The World Bank has already done an analysis of the Danish economy, and endorses our plans to industrialize immediately. We plan to get the necessary human by importing food and forcing displaced farm labor into the cities. By importing medical advances as well, we can also extend the population‘s lifespan, which will produce more slaves, er, labor force.Judge: (conflicted) Medical advances are a good thing…Jane Eyre: (triumphant) Yes, for starters, the Rochester Bank of England has begun construction of the Ophelia Memorial State Mental Hospital in downtown Elsinore.Hamlet: (indignant) To be administered by a Mrs. Poole - a close personal associate of Ms. Eyre’s, it turns out! This is but one of many examples of the cronyism and corruption this IMF restructuring has brought to Denmark’s fair shores!Jane Eyre: (with a subtle nod and wink to the Judge) Naturally, the IMF reserves the right to appoint able and vetted candidates of its own choosing, to oversee its projects…Hamlet: (pointing at Fortinbras) And this scoundrel would enslave my subjects in servitude of debt… borrowing from the World Bank to fund a massive hydroelectric power plant!Judge: Hydroelectric power? That sounds good to me. It’s infrastructure.Hamlet: Infrastructure is great, but how about something relevant to the local economy? We aren’t industrialized yet… what do we need all that electricity for?Jane Eyre: RBM (Rochester Business Machines) wants to build a factory in Denmark for the manufacture of circuit boards…Hamlet: (standing up) Yes, at slave wages! Why not grow local businesses? Why not build port facilities to help the already-extant Danish fishing industry? Why not facilitate domestic trade by building roads and railways? Why not improve public health by building a solid waste treatment plant?(motioning in Fortinbras’ general direction) THIS sort of infrastructure mainly benefits IMF cronies, who move in and exploit my subjects!Fortinbras: (offended) “Solid waste”? How lewd!Jane Eyre: (irritated) Judge, this Prince is obviously an insular autocrat who wishes to keep his people in the Stone… er, Elizabethan Age! His resistance to our humanitarian assistance is an injustice to the Danish people, a threat to free trade, and a refusal to peaceably enter into to the community of modern, enlightened nations. He’s a terrorist!Judge: (appalled) A terrorist?!??Jane Eyre: (meekly) No? Um… well, I meant figuratively speaking. An “intellectual terrorist”, if you will.Hamlet: (pleading to Judge) My kingdom merely wishes to neither a borrower nor a lender be.Judge: (thinks for a second) Hmmm… yes… because loan oft loses both itself and friend.(Hamlet nods and smiles)Judge and Hamlet in unison: And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry!Judge: (standing up) YES!! I see your point exactly, fair Prince! This court hereby recognizes the government of Prince Hamlet of Denmark, and declares all claims of Fortinbras’ on that kingdom to be null and void! (bangs gavel loudly several times)(Fortinbras and Jane Eyre stand up, outraged)Fortinbras: Oh, wretched villainy!Jane Eyre: YOU CAN’T DO THIS!!! YOU JUST MADE THE BIGGEST MISTAKE OF YOUR LIFE!!! YOU JUST TANGLED WITH FORCES GREATER THAN YOU CAN POSSIBLY COMPREHEND!!(Jane rushes at the Judge, but is held back by a bailiff)Bailiff: I’m sorry, Ma’am, Judge Birdopoulos has made his ruling.Jane Eyre: (shaking her fists at the heavens) NOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooo!MATCH POINT: HAMLETNarrator: …And thus a tiny country was rescued, which would grow to one day be the greatest economy on Earth, and which saved the rest of its fellow nations from a great Dark Ages, when the great collapse of fiat currencies came.THE END.
    more
Write a review