Russell's Reviews > Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
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Oct 14, 07

Read in May, 2006

I commenced reading this novel with the idea that I had read this before fixed in my mind. It is in my nature to re-read books, so I thought nothing of opening the pages and immersing myself in the flow of the story.

Imagine my surprise, Reader, when I quickly discerned that I had not, as I previously imagined, been acquainted with the characters that adorned the pages. I was at a lost on how my memory had failed me, but I quickly rallied and applied myself to the task at hand.

My enjoyment of the book grew as the plot unfurled, the characters were pleasing to myself, their cares and concerns resonated with the inner workings of my own character.

Ahem. Sorry. I’ll stop channeling Bronte.

This was a story of passion, of grace, of human longing to love and to be loved in turn. It was Gothic, it was Romantic, it is a true classic. Sure, it played on not just one typical plot but two, the marriage plot and the inheritance plot, but they worked. Bronte teases one, and then the other, into fitting her characters’ story deftly leaving the core to to play out properly. The core story is of Jane finding someone to love and who loves her back for herself.

Bronte’s other characters are written just well enough to have them not be just caricatures and a few shine on their own, but they all pale to the effort she puts into Jane and Edward Rochester. Rochester fits more along the lines of the Romantic Hero. Far more than Heathcliff. Of course, Heathcliff was the anti-Romantic Hero, so I guess anyone not him would be more Romantic Hero-like.

Rochester is complex character. Bronte sets him up quickly and then lets him him loose in the story. He’s a powerful force, and it takes all of Jane’s willpower to stay independent of his will and drive. That she does it is a given, how she manages it is one of reasons I kept reading it.

I think that the story is better suited for teenage girls than any other group. This doesn’t dampen the enjoyment at all for anyone else, but I think a teenager would really like this book. (If you could pull them away from the cellphone, or IM, long enough to get them started. Maybe bribery?)

I also think that Jane Eyre is more universally appealing than Wuthering Heights, although both books are classics and are well deserving of the title. Wuthering Heights is for a more refined and discerning taste. (He says, adjusting his ascot and peering down from his jeweled pince-nez.)

If you haven’t read this, or haven’t read it a long while, I recommend it.
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Gail Excellent review! I share many of your thoughts on Jane, but I'd recommned it to those a bit above adolescence. You didn't say anything, I noted, about St. John. He struck me as the worst sort of religious zealot, confusing his own ambitious needs with God's needs, and demanding that others accede to his (i.e., God's) plans for them. What did you think of him?

Russell Gail, I'm glad you liked my review!

I think you summed up St. John perfectly. He seemed to me not much more than a foil for Rochester and maybe a caricature Bronte was skewering.

Kipahni while I can't say that I liked the book, your review almost made me want to read it again.

message 4: by Holly (new)

Holly I loved the way you mimicked Bronte's writing style at the beginning of your review!
I read this about 9 years ago (I was a teenage girl - just like you recommended) when I was 15....and I've been calling it my favorite book ever since, even though many of the details are lost to me now. Reading your review reminded me of why I liked it so much. The characters of Jane and Rochester were so well developed.
When I get the chance, I want to read it over again. I think I'll get more out of it now that I've matured some.

Nathalie I am currently reading this. and I totally loved your Bronte-esq intro!!

Alice Excellent review in voice and tone!

Michael I get what you say about you thought you had read it before. Same with me with "1984." As for Jane Eyre...I am an almost 60, heterosexual man; I finished the book this very morning and loved it. I've read most of Jane Austen's work too. Maybe I'm acknowledging my feminine side....or maybe I just love the use of the classic English language...mgc

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