“I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.”
Can I say anything that hasn't been said already of Jane Eyre? I don't think so, but I will anyway.
I think it's kind of funny how Charlotte Bronte wrote Jane to be the way she was just to prove to her two sisters that main characters don't have to be beautiful, or even pretty to be engaging. She certainly was as strong minded and progressive as a woman could ever been in early 1800.
“I can live alone, if self-respect, and circumstances require me so to do. I need not sell my soul to buy bliss. I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all extraneous delights should be withheld, or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give.”
Did I have expectations going into Jane Eyre? I think I did. I didn't know that much about the plot, or the book itself, except that it was a book that I just needed to read. I honestly think that I loved it before I even read it.
Reading classics for me is a whole experience, it's not just the book - it's the words, the tone, the atmosphere. It's never the ending result, but a journey. It's not like I can just go on Twitter and let Charlotte know how much I enjoyed her book, as I could with modern authors. She's long gone and all we have of her is her books, her words. So the only way we can communicate with her is by reading her novels, and to me that just sounds magical.
“Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilised by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones.”
Did I like every thing and every choice made in the book? Of course not - because of this I had to take some time to reflect and think about the rating for the book. When I was reading it I definitely saw it as a total 5 star read, however, sometimes towards the end it slipped down to 4 stars, but when I was done I was back up to 4.5. However, as I slept on it - I decided that it was definitely and unabashedly a 5 star read and what was I even thinking? Too much information, I know, but that was my thought process.
“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 ... If at my convenience I might break them, what would be their worth?”
I loved the flow of the novel and I loved that it was written as an autobiography, I actually didn't know that before I stared reading. Jane's childhood made me red with rage - her horrible cousins and Mrs. Reed was one of the most vile characters I've ever had the displeasure of knowing. When Jane left for school I was scared that things would be just as bleak for her, if not bleaker, but we did see some happiness and sunshine and I was glad. When she finally met the ever-famous RochesterI didn't know what to think, I just couldn't read him! He was angry, and passionate and randomly happy - definitely a bipolar sort of fella. But no matter what he did, or didn't do I just couldn't bring myself to dislike him! Sure, he was a pig at times, and the most insensible of creatures, but still my heart went out for him.
“I had not intended to love him; the reader knows I had wrought hard to extirpate from my soul the germs of love there detected; and now, at the first renewed view of him, they spontaneously revived, great and strong! He made me love him without looking at me.”
I knew the big twist, I got spoiled of it by some other book (can you imagine that?? I was so pissed - the book was Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, I read it a while back, and she just dumped that information unabashedly, like "ohhh I'm spoiling the finest novel ever written no big deal". Just because it's a classic, doesn't mean that everybody has read it!). Anyway. While I didn't much (at the moment) approve of Jane's decision I loved what it brought to the plot.
I found it eye opening to see, how if you are all alone in the world - nobody wants to take you in. Novels often make lone travelers, or orphans so romantic and heroic, but in reality people are repulsed by them, and almost never want to help - and nobody freely invites a stranger into the house. I loved the honestly with which it was depicted here.
Even though I never warmed up or forgave St. John, the ending made my heart happy (although if I may, I do think that it focused a bit too much on John - I didn't care to know of him at all.)
Jane Eyre is definitely one of my absolute favorites now. Now I have left to read a book by the third sister (Anne) so I can start loving this literally family fully and completely.
Freelance BETA reader.