Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

I could vaguely remember reading Jane Eyre many years ago. So, one afternoon last week, when I couldn't quite decide on my next pick, I thumbed through a Signet copy of the novel that resided  in the classics realm of my bookshelf.  Initially, I almost set it aside because I wanted a lighter read, something I could finish that day, or the following.  But as soon as I read the first couple paragraphs I was hooked.

Charlotte Bronte produces a narrative of an orphan, Jane Eyre, from childhood to mid-life. The audience witnesses little Jane's character take shape, and, our protagonist realize herself completely in adulthood.  From oprhan, to school girl, to governess, to independent woman, Jane's life is engaging, with gracious display of the exacting social standards at this time.

When Jane finds that her master, Mr. Rochester, may marry a woman he certainly does not love, her character's beliefs are perfectly exhibited in the paragraph below:
It suprised me when I first discovered that such was his intention: I had thought him a man unlikely to be influenced by motives so common-place in his choice of wife; but the longer I considered the position, education, etc. of the parties, the less I felt justified in judging and blaming either him or Miss Ingram, for acting in conformity to ideas and principles instilled in them, doubtless, from their childhood.  All their class held these principles: I supposed, then, they had reasons for holding them such as I could not fathom. It seemed to me that, were I a gentleman like him, I would take to my bosom only such a wife as I could love; but the very obviousness of the advantages to the husband's own happiness, offered by this plan, convinced me that there must be arguments against its general adoption of which I was quite ignorant; otherwise I felt sure all the world would act as I wished to act.
Jane is intent on living an independent life; she is headstrong and proud.  She does not adhere to the normal social conventions for a woman of her status at this time.  A feminist without the label, more conservative, obviously, than not; Jane is an upright moral citizen, and a powerful young woman.  Although, too frequently, proclaiming that she is a such a plain sight (a little irksome), she recognizes and nurtures her intelligence and wit.  She prizes these features above all else.  She worships a mighty God, yet, does not yield to the pushy St. John when he presses duty to practice her religious faculties elsewhere against her deepest inclinations.

Furthemore, the relationship between Jane and Mr. Rochester is quite peculiar, perhaps suiting.  Obviously old-fashioned, but respect worthy, nonetheless.

All in all, Jane's moments of clarity are breathtaking--summarizing concepts I've played with in eloquent brevity. 

Reader, if you can manage the long moral indictments that fill so many pages, you'll enjoy Jane's story.


  1. I love Jane Eyre! You've made me want to reread my copy. Fantastic review, Beth. Also, I'm excited to see you are reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I read that earlier this year and really loved it.

  2. Thanks. I really loved Jane Eyre, not that I didn't think I'd enjoy it, but was way more pleased than expected. I'm having a really hard time with The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I love the dialogue, the language but I find it's boring in patches. Captivating then it kind of drops off and then it's captivating again. I know you mentioned that you really liked it so I really want to finish it for discussion. We'll see.

  3. I've not read this yet, but definitely intend to. Your review was good encouragement!


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