Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre is a name I have always known, although in all honesty, I knew absolutely nothing about her or this novel. Nothing at all. It is amazing to me how little I actually do know about classic literature! Embarrassingly amazing. Why didn’t I read this in high school? I’ve said before that I don’t always understand what makes a classic a classic. I don’t know why this book is considered “better” than Wuthering Heights, for example, or Rebecca. They are all incredible to me! I can quickly become lost in any one of these worlds and live there quite happily for weeks at a time.
I can’t pretend to have much in common with Jane Eyre, certainly. Perhaps my own plainness. I was lucky, though, that my mother, grandmother and a few mean boys in my adolescence were the only ones who felt the need to point it out to me. Not like Poor Jane Eyre who couldn’t meet a person for more than a fleeting moment without them declaring her blatant homeliness. So, the fact that she held her head up at all is most impressive to me, but I am not foolish enough to think that is the reason for Jane Eyre standing the test of time.
I like the classic blueprint of romance and torment, dark castles and intrigue. I like that they obsess about ghosts and God and right and wrong. The tried and true rags to riches formula of independence and the power of love.
I did find the characters of this tale much more palatable than those of Wuthering Heights, and the story was equally riveting. I doubt if I would have chosen any of the paths Miss Eyre chose in her life and I know I would have but a fraction of her gumption and self-confidence. Not to worry, though, because obviously my differences and similarities didn’t keep me from encountering my own wild adventures!
I just continue to be so impressed at the imagination of a young woman more than one hundred and sixty years ago! And I can’t begin to imagine what went on behind closed doors at the Bronte house!!

No comments: