Steven's Reviews > Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre by Malvina G. Vogel
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Sep 17, 08

bookshelves: 1001, class, womenareamystery
Read in August, 2008

** spoiler alert ** I initially picked this book up because of its frequent mention in Irving’s “Cider House Rules” and its prominent placement on so many “best of” lists. As such, I had thought this book to be little more than a picaresque tale of a plucky female orphan who overcomes it all and finds success. Much to my surprise, the orphan section of the book occupied only about 1/4 of its plot and the book delved much deeper into gothic and romance genre tones than I had imagined.

The novel begins with Jane Eyre as a young orphan treated cruelly by her domineering family, especially her cruel aunt Ms. Reed. She is sent off for schooling at Lowood (far from the ideal English boarding school) and escapes death at the hands of a massive typhus epidemic. Jane eventually becomes a governess to a young French girl at Thornfield Manor. Her boss is the passionate Mr. Rochester, who is a bit cocky in that female English novelist male love interest sort of way, and he and Jane both fall in love and make plans to marry. Only problem is that Mr. Rochester is already married and he keeps his wife locked up in the attic, but that is okay because she is crazy. We know she is crazy because she likes to set fires to things and destroy wedding dresses.

Once Jane realizes she can’t marry Rochester she flees Thornfield and lives homeless and hungry until she is taken in by the Rivers family. She later learns these people are her cousins and she has inherited a large sum of money which she splits with these fine folks. Things are not all well though as her cousin St. John Rivers (good name for a clergyman) keeps pressuring her to marry him. Sadly for St. John Rivers, she still loves Rochester and she eventually goes to find him. He is now blind and is missing an arm because his wife burned down Thornfield Manor, but they still love one another.

The novel ends on an immensely hopeful tone, with its terrific first sentence of the last chapter, “Reader, I married him.” We learn that Jane and Rochester have been married for ten blissful years and they always have plenty to talk about. Rochester has even regained sight in one eye and is able to see the birth of their first born son. Just beautiful and terrific aww moments. One of the few books from the 1001 list that I have read thus far that makes you smile when you finish the last page.

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