Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë)

Jane Eyre is Charlotte Brontë‘s most famous novel.

Jane Eyre is an orphan, growing up with her aunt Mrs Reed, who treats her rather badly. When Jane shows signs of rebellion against this treatment when she’s ten, she is sent to boarding school. 8 years later she leaves there to take up a position as a governess at Thornfield Hall, which belongs to Mr. Rochester. Jane and Rochester quickly connect with each other – but there is a secret in Thornfield Hall.

I thought I’d pretty much hate everything about Jane Eyre, especially Rochester. Fact is, I did not hate anything about it, really (apart from the constant piety, but it shall be forgiven in the historical cotntext). But I was really, really bored by it all.

I don’t know where I picked up the idea that I would hate Jane Eyre and that Rochester would be an abusive ass. But I’m glad to say that I was wrong about it. When I started reading, I thought that I was right after all: the little Jane is so meek and she’s pretty much a doormat. Thankfully that changes with Chapter 3 or so and Jane develops into a very good heroine.

She still isn’t my favorite person – she’s too obsessed with (Christian) morality for my taste and her doormattiness comes and goes with too much irregularity – but she is a great, flawed, strong character, even if I don’t like her personally.

Rochester as well proved to not be abusive as I thought he was. He’s moody. And he’s a bit of an ass and, again, for me personally, he’s no kind of attractive person (though it did help to picture him as Michael Fassbender who is like, insanely hot and manages to make me overlook personality shortcomings for a while). But at least he has a good reason to [SPOILER] lock his wife up in the attic. Though trying to marry Jane anyway is a real asshole move. [/SPOILER]

St. John on the other hand really is a dick.

But apart from the characters that where good even though I didn’t like them, the story mostly bored me. Brontë’s prose is too flowery for my taste and I just wished that everything was a little more concise. There’s just not enough that happens to justify the novel’s length.

Summarising: Maybe you like it better. But it really wasn’t my thing.


7 thoughts on “Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë)

  1. Pingback: Jane Eyre (2011) « Stuff

  2. Ha, that’s cool, a wish fulfilled before it was stated.
    Pity you didn’t like the book.
    I didn’t like Mr. Rochester either (and who could possibly like St. John). The whole romance story was beyond me. … But in my interpretation the romance was just the frame/excuse for the real story: Jane’s development and the way she thinks and notices things. And I always liked the lesbian-eros-thing she has first for her teacher and later on for her cousin.
    I’m not sure if my interpretation is valid.

    PS: And we have to read more classics and restart at least the reading part of our LG.

    • You should watch the movie (with Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender) which is like the good parts of the book distilled. ;)

      I have to admit that I didn’t see the whole lesbian love angle in this one, at least not in the eros sense, though there’s certainly philia and agape.

      I have a small book club with Flo on twitter – our first book is Wuthering Heights, which he has probably read already and I want to finish until the end of April. Wanna join in?

  3. Michael Fassbender is always nice.
    Philia and Agape, certainly. Now that you mention it, Jane is some sort of personified Agape, I didn’t see that before.

    But there was much of Eros in the double sense of the word. Eros like creating/fathering and like desire/inflamement/physical stuff. “The Eros of knowledge/science” and the Greek ideal of “love between men” both have this double meaning. (Or my mind mixes something up.)

    Bookclub: I’d love to join in if I can without twitter.
    Maybe you thought Mr. Rochester (Charlotte’s) an abusive ashole because the male character in Wuthering heights (Emily’s) is an abusive asshole? Haven’t read it yet, but that’s what I’ve heard.

    • I know I started with the whole philia and agape thing, but I’m not that certain about the love categories. But according to wikipedia, eros means passionate love, though it doesn’t necessarily have to be the love between two people. (You can passionately love an idea.) The love between two men part I wouldn’t know about. Or do you mean that’s another category, outside of eros?

      Not that it’s that important. ;)

      Book club: yes, you can join without twitter. We’ll probably not discuss anything on twitter anyway. Don’t know yet how it will work.

      And might be that I mixed up the abusiveness of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. I’ll find out soon enough.

      • No, I meant Eros.
        The German wikipedia even mentions the homoerotic part: The basic idea is that the Eros-desire-passion thingy makes the younger man strive for wisdom-virtue to be like his beloved older man.
        And of course it’s important, it’s kinky and educated. :D

        I already own Wuthering Heights but I’m not sure if I I’ll manage to read it in time. If not I’ll join in the book club for the next book.

  4. Pingback: Jane Eyre | kalafudra's Stuff

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