Title: Jane Eyre
Author: Charlotte Bronte
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.
Disclaimer: spoilers while describing what happens through the book.
I have wanted to read classics for so long, to understand what is so special in these that so many people talk about it. Granted, many are like me too, not being able to finish reading them. I had started reading Jane Eyre quite a few months back but never finished it because it was not very interesting and doesn’t capture the attention. I had bought the book purely on impulse because the cover is pretty.
Now, let me sort by my reaction as I read the book. The book is divided into three volumes.
I was enthusiastic to read this with such a pretty cover, and a pleasing font, that I kept some arrow sticky notes with me and tabbed all the lines and paragraphs I liked. This went on for about one volume. After the first volume, it was pretty boring so I paused, thinking I’ll come back to the second volume after a break. That break lasted months.
About the story, it starts with young Jane Eyre who spend her early years with her aunt and aunt’s family, and was basically treated like Cinderella. After that, she was sent to a boarding school where she spent all her years, not even leaving during the holidays. She becomes a teacher in the same school and is there for a couple more years after which she takes up the job of a governess at Thornfield.
Jane is not a particularly beautiful woman. Mr. Rochester is quite not handsome, and that was one thing I liked in this book—both the main characters are not dripping with good looks. In fact, quite a few places through the book other characters comment on this. This volume shows Jane and Edward Rochester falling in love with each others’ personalities and mind rather than looks. Jane is a woman who does not apologize for being frank and giving comments. Mr. Rochester is refreshed by this.
Honestly, Jane was okay, but Edward was quite commanding and expected Jane to do everything he says. The way he speaks does not consider the other person’s choice. Everything he says could have been a question but instead it’s a statement.
When the romance started, I perked up, thinking it’ll become better and read it with reinvigorated enthusiasm. The language and way of speaking, though, dulled all of it. In the end of this volume, they’re almost married but some complications are brought up and it’s cancelled. This is the biggest volume.
Jane, who’s trust in Edward has now shattered, runs away. She makes another life and somehow, with some help, gets back on her feet. Briefly, there’s another love interest, but you can’t really call it that because the two didn’t love each other. It was something stupid which I could have totally done without.
If you get into Jane Eyre with expectations that it’ll have something different, forget that notion. It’s like any other book of a love story, only here there are lots of unnecessary parts (almost whole of volume one, to be honest) and dialogues and scenes, with characters whom you will mostly not like.
In the end, she goes back to Edward Rochester (who’s life has changed quite a lot in the meantime), they reconcile, and happily ever after.
I see nothing special about this book and I would recommend you to skip it. I do know that some readers really liked this book though, so it depends. If you want to read classics, you can give this a go.
For next month, I’ll be reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen as part of the A Classic A Month challenge.