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.