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Past Group Reads > Jane Eyre

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message 1: by Jenn, moderator (new)

Jenn | 303 comments Mod
Please discuss Jane Eyre, specifically the beginning quarter or so of the book. I will break the book down into the chunks of chapters like I usually do within the next couple of days. Thanks for your patience!


message 2: by Malorie (new)

Malorie  (Firereader) (firereader2316) | 8 comments Just started reading Jane Eyre and wondered...what or rather, where is "L-" on page 34? Probably a stupid question I know but I've seen this happen where they start a word and dash it out in a few of the classics lately and wondered why they do that...


message 3: by Amanda (new)

Amanda (daughterofoak) I've wondered the same thing myself. I was wondering if it is the author's way of getting a town's name out of the way without having to put too much effort into creating an original name.
Unless it is a real name and they don't want the reader to know the place they are talking about. Which just seems strange to me.
Anyone know the real reason? It is something I've been thinking about a lot lately.


message 4: by Catherine (new)

Catherine (yarnmama10) I just did a quick Google search and came across this page where the redacted words are discussed.
http://english.stackexchange.com/ques...


message 5: by Malorie (new)

Malorie  (Firereader) (firereader2316) | 8 comments That helps some, thanks! I read using a Kindle and something I found interesting is that apparently a large amount of people have highlighted the same quote a ton so it pops up on my device and its on page 49, "what a singularly deep impression her injustice seems to have made on your heart!"... I don't really see that as highlight worthy but I could be missing something...


message 6: by Catherine (last edited Sep 08, 2013 08:11AM) (new)

Catherine (yarnmama10) Malorie wrote: "That helps some, thanks! I read using a Kindle and something I found interesting is that apparently a large amount of people have highlighted the same quote a ton so it pops up on my device and its..."

You're welcome. :-)
I am with you on the quote. I don't see anything particularly noteworthy about it either. Odd. I am not re-reading this with the group since I have read it several times so I am not sure where the note is from. Maybe it is significant because it is referring to the turning point in her life where she begins to learn deep mistrust because of her hard circumstances while at the school as a girl?


message 7: by Malorie (new)

Malorie  (Firereader) (firereader2316) | 8 comments Yeah I guess that could be it since that was Helen Burns response to Jane after she told her her story about her experience with her "benefactoress" (sp?) even taking that into account I don't consider it noteworthy but it is a keen way of speaking which might be what caught everyone's attention.

Does anyone else use a Kindle for their reading? It took me two years to give and get one because I didn't want to loose the feeling of holding a book, smelling it, and turning the pages but I have to say I probably wouldn't have read half the books and especially classics I have since I got it!


message 8: by Catherine (last edited Sep 08, 2013 04:08PM) (new)

Catherine (yarnmama10) Malorie wrote: "Yeah I guess that could be it since that was Helen Burns response to Jane after she told her her story about her experience with her "benefactoress" (sp?) even taking that into account I don't cons..."

Not a Kindle but I have been reading ebooks exclusively since late 2009. I bought the first Nook and have the NSTGlow plus a Nook HD+ and a Nexus 7. I use all of these for reading and don't miss reading paper books one bit. I love the convenience. I can use my Galaxy S3 in a pinch too! :-)


message 9: by Renee (last edited Sep 08, 2013 05:13PM) (new)

Renee Malorie wrote: "Yeah I guess that could be it since that was Helen Burns response to Jane after she told her her story about her experience with her "benefactoress" (sp?) even taking that into account I don't cons..."

I know what you mean about the feel of a book and turning the pages. I was really hesitant to get a tablet/e-reader also because of that. Unfortunately though, we don't have a whole lot of room for bookshelves to hold all the books I want to read so my husband and kids got me a Nexus 7 for Mother's Day. I've only read two books on it so far, but I'm getting pretty used to it and it's nice that it can hold hundreds of books that my house can't!


message 10: by Malorie (new)

Malorie  (Firereader) (firereader2316) | 8 comments How do you copy and quote someone?

I have the Kindle Paper White and I LOVE it! I've read TONS on it and I absolutely love how I can borrow books from my library on it. It completely opens up ones reading world being able to instantly download a book instead of having to drive to the library and return it and everything. I think it can really open up the literary world for millions if people are able to use this invaluable resource.
I had a couple seizures recently and won't be able to drive until march next year so I can't go to the library and spend time looking around unless my husband isn't working or a family member can take me so it has proved to be vital and priceless for me. My husband bought it for me used for my birthday in July and I think I've read at least 6 books on it since for free. I think it's paid for itself already!


message 11: by Beth (new)

Beth (k9odyssey) "Children can feel, but they cannot analyse their feelings; and if the analysis is partially effected in thought, they know not how to express the result of the process in words."

This is so true about children. I was surprised to see this in the book. You would see something very similar in a child psychology text today. I have see multiple adaptations but this is my first time reading the book and Jane Eyre is breaking my heart.


message 12: by Catherine (new)

Catherine (yarnmama10) Well I changed my mind about reading along. I had an 11 hour drive to make today and wanted a change from Sherlock Holmes since I am caught up and actually ahead on that, so I started listening to Jane Eyre. Oh my! I knew I really loved this book and I was reminded why today when I started it again today. You hit the nail on the head Beth about her breaking your heart. I quite agree. It is so sad that she is so alone and unloved in the world and judged so cruelly and unjustly.

That quote Marjorie mentioned is from a very moving dialogue between Jane and Helen and is in reference to Jane's bitterness toward her Aunt Reed's feelings about her. While at this point in the story and even later we are inclined to pity Jane, it is more touching how she matures and in the end it is Mrs.Reed who is even more deserving of our pity. She is a wretched creature full of bitterness herself and incapable of loving anyone. :-(


message 13: by Leslie (new)

Leslie I am also listening to this audiobook. I am about 70% through now and have some questions/comments. Is this discussion supposed to be spoiler-free?


message 14: by Malorie (new)

Malorie  (Firereader) (firereader2316) | 8 comments Page 148 - "the germs of love..." ... Cooties???


message 15: by Ruth (new)

Ruth I just started reading this last night at work. This was one of my favorites as a kid but I have not reread it in years. It's like visiting an old friend so far.


message 16: by Beth (new)

Beth (k9odyssey) Even though Jane is surrounded by illness and death at school, she has realized a level of happiness, friendships and an introduction to God. Chapter 9 was beautiful. A great beginning to my day!


message 17: by swwords (new)

swwords (-sww) | 19 comments I've read this sometime back, this time round I'm listening to it.

One of the things I find most striking is the contrast between Jane Eyre and Helen Burns.

HB is just calm and serene and takes everything in her stride, even when she is being punished.

JE is always fighting back, seems angry, almost wild. Almost like she's the antithesis of how a young girl is expected to behave.


message 18: by Malorie (new)

Malorie  (Firereader) (firereader2316) | 8 comments I think Helen symbolizes what we are supposed to be and act and Jane is how we all really are/act. Helen let it roll off and Jane has a great sense of justice and fairness. I can identify with both girls so I guess that means I'm a little wild too lol


message 19: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Helen reminds me in many ways of Beth in Little Women - whenever I hear the saying "Only the good die young" these two characters spring to mind. Do you think that it is awareness of imminent death which makes Helen so good, so patient?


message 20: by swwords (new)

swwords (-sww) | 19 comments Malorie wrote: "I think Helen symbolizes what we are supposed to be and act and Jane is how we all really are/act. Helen let it roll off and Jane has a great sense of justice and fairness. I can identify with both..."

Yes, of course.

And isn't it interesting that JE is driven by this and yet (in this part of the novel) she's perceived by most as someone who needs to be tamed. This kind of comes across as ironic when Mrs Reed and Mr Brocklehurst, both devout Christians, are stating that they are doing this to help her?

It's almost like Bronte is making a commentary about religion ???

Maybe I am wrong about that.


message 21: by swwords (new)

swwords (-sww) | 19 comments Leslie wrote: "Helen reminds me in many ways of Beth in Little Women - whenever I hear the saying "Only the good die young" these two characters spring to mind."

Now that you mention it I can see the similarities in these two characters.

Leslie wrote: "Do you think that it is awareness of imminent death which makes Helen so good, so patient?"

Could be or maybe not.
I didn't see any clues in the text to know for sure one way or the other.

So I think it's hard to say because HB could be this good and this patient regardless of her situation.

But then again, if there were any clues I could have missed it.

I guess this was not helpful, maybe someone else has found a clue to answer this question.


message 22: by Leslie (new)

Leslie swwords wrote: "...This kind of comes across as ironic when Mrs Reed and Mr Brocklehurst, both devout Christians, are stating that they are doing this to help her?

It's almost like Bronte is making a commentary about religion ???

Maybe I am wrong about that."


Also later on with St. John as well. So is the commentary that organized religion leads people to be officious? -- Helen & Jane herself are clearly devout so the message isn't anti-God in any way.


message 23: by Christine (new)

Christine McIntosh (queenxine87) I've never understood how family can treat family so horribly in these books. Is this a real observation of how families treated their relations who came to live with them? Children, no less?


message 24: by Malorie (new)

Malorie  (Firereader) (firereader2316) | 8 comments Back then I think it was easier for them to disassociate and act horribly because they used nurses and governesses to raise there children. They even used wet nurses for their newborns. They just didn't form that special parental bond with their own so how could they even treat someone else's child with any kindness? I know the point is that it's a child and that humans usually have a natural love and affection for little ones but I don't think it's always been that way especially with the rich.

As I always say, I could be wrong though =)


message 25: by Trudy (last edited Sep 15, 2013 01:17PM) (new)

Trudy Brasure | 28 comments swwords wrote: "Malorie wrote: "I think Helen symbolizes what we are supposed to be and act and Jane is how we all really are/act. Helen let it roll off and Jane has a great sense of justice and fairness. I can id..."

Spoiler alert! - my comment reveals a significant character choice/plot event....
I think Bronte is very definitely making a commentary about how religion is practiced by different characters throughout her book. It may be one of the most important elements of the book to really consider. And I have no doubt that it was central to Bronte's mind to point out to the socially-conscious Victorians that true religion isn't in showcasing your piety or in using religion to feed your ambition for greatness (St. John). Real Christianity or moral rightness is found more in the heart than the head. It's what you do and how you treat and think of others, not how strictly you follow the written rules. True morality is what you do and what you decide is right, despite the pain or inconvenience in may cause you. Jane Eyre is the epitome of a Christian woman in that aspect. She chose to run away from Thornfield rather than sully her morals - at great cost to her personal happiness at first.
My favorite lines from the book are actually from Charlotte's preface to the book: "Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion."
I think these themes can be followed throughout the book. Her insight shines a very piercing light into the self-satisfied and stuffy ways of many Victorians of her day. Her story challenges the reader to consider more than surface appearances and ritual. Who is truly moral in the book? What is the right thing to do? Who demonstrated great love?


message 26: by swwords (new)

swwords (-sww) | 19 comments Leslie wrote: "Also later on with St. John as well. So is the commentary that organized religion leads people to be officious? -- Helen & Jane herself are clearly devout so the message isn't anti-God in any way."

You’re right, neither of these characters come across as anti-god, but I think one of the themes in the novel is the irony of religion and being religious.

Trudy’s post above (which gives some of the plot away) explains it better where she also gives a quote from the book:
Trudy wrote: " … from Charlotte's preface to the book: "Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion.""

To me, it just seems like this is a theme that keeps appearing. (Another example is the scene with Brocklehurst’s two daughters visiting the school.)

Hence, it seems like Bronte is making a commentary on religion. Some time back I read “Becoming Jane Eyre”, a work of fiction based on the life of the Brontes, (I’m trying to remember it) I think in that novel her father was a parson / priest. Also, according to this work of fiction he and Charlotte were close.

I don’t think this novel is saying anything negative about religion, it’s just highlighting the irony. If that was Charlotte Bronte’s intention than for that time, I think, it was a brave thing to do.


message 27: by Beth (new)

Beth (k9odyssey) This is an absorbing story and I am really enjoying it.
Can anyone enlighten me on who the "men in green" were that Rochester and Jane refer to at their first meeting on the road?


message 28: by Catherine (new)

Catherine (yarnmama10) Leprechauns? LOL! I could be wrong but that's what I thought.


message 29: by Beth (new)

Beth (k9odyssey) I thought so as well, that they may be speaking in jest, but wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something.


message 30: by Catherine (new)

Catherine (yarnmama10) Yes, Exactly that. I believe if I remember correctly it was spoken tongue-in-cheek.


message 31: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Catherine wrote: "Leprechauns? LOL! I could be wrong but that's what I thought."

My thought was Robin Hood & his merry men...


message 33: by Jerilyn (new)

Jerilyn | 50 comments Trudy, insightful comment
I agree.


message 34: by Catherine (new)

Catherine (yarnmama10) Hmm..I hadn't thought of Robin Hood but that is an interesting thought as well.


message 35: by Fenia (new)

Fenia (fenivashkov) | 1 comments swwords wrote: "Leslie wrote: "Also later on with St. John as well. So is the commentary that organized religion leads people to be officious? -- Helen & Jane herself are clearly devout so the message isn't anti-G..."
I totally agree with you!! Charlotte Bronte in all of her books shows her respect to God and I believe her father being a priest had a lot to do with it since he was the last of the Brontes to die (lucky him) so its only natural that the two of them had such a strong bond. On the other hand you can tell that she also supports woman's rights in all of her books!! So maybe back then they thought that God and woman's independence were two completely different things and that's why she was sometimes accused of an anti-God theme. Also..Robin Hood being the green man?? hahaha that's...really not what I had in mind but its perfect!!


message 36: by Kara (new)

Kara (kara2u) | 0 comments Fenia wrote: "swwords wrote: "Leslie wrote: "Also later on with St. John as well. So is the commentary that organized religion leads people to be officious? -- Helen & Jane herself are clearly devout so the mess..."

I think that she is trying to point out the differences between those people who put on a religious front, who forget the meaning behind religion, and those people who truly do try to live a spiritual life. I think that Mrs. Reed, Brocklehurst, and St. John all have the outward appearance of being religious. However, each of the three falls short in some way. Mrs. Reed and Brocklehurst are the two that fall short in a malicious way. They abuse what they have for personal reasons. St. John has forgotten the love and compassion. It is a duty for him. So he also abuses what he has, Jane, but for the greater good.

On the other hand, Jane and Helen actually try to live according to their belief. Jane shows us the struggle and Helen shows us the acceptance.


message 37: by Trudy (new)

Trudy Brasure | 28 comments Exactly! Being Christian isn't just showing up for church, it's genuinely loving/helping others and doing what is right. Bronte is pointing out the ways some people of her age (and any age!) miss the defining essence of Christianity in their daily practice: love and compassion. No other trait is more important, and no substitution of other noble deeds and qualities can make up for a lack of it.


message 38: by swwords (last edited Sep 19, 2013 02:36AM) (new)

swwords (-sww) | 19 comments Fenia wrote: " ...So maybe back then they thought that God and woman's independence were two completely different things and that's why she was sometimes accused of an anti-God theme..."

Wow - now that's an interesting thought.


Kara wrote: "I think that she is trying to point out the differences between those people who put on a religious front..."

Yep, absolutely - Bronte illustrates this contrast and all the shades in-between well. Like Trudy says:

Trudy wrote: "Bronte is pointing out the ways some people of her age (and any age!) miss the defining essence of ..."

For me, what also gives this novel depth is Bronte also dots the novel with imagery of superstition and darkness. So, in a way, the story goes beyond the idea of religion.

I don't know, maybe I'm wrong about that.


message 39: by Denise (new)

Denise (dulcinea3) | 106 comments I don't think you're wrong; the novel is often considered somewhat Gothic, so you're right about the darkness.


message 40: by Tracey (new)

Tracey (traceypb) I have The Lifeboat to read with a friend from another group but I hope to read Jane Eyre before the end of the month.


message 41: by Janet (new)

Janet (goodreadscomjanetj) | 77 comments What an enlightened, incredible comment about women's equality for the period this book was written in. "Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a constraint; too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex." This was a very brave thing for Ms. Bronte to write at that time. Go Charlotte.


message 42: by Amanda (new)

Amanda (daughterofoak) For such an enlightened woman as Jane is, I just can't understand her fascination with Mr. Rochester. She hates unfairness of any kind and yet she is blind to it in him.
Maybe because he treats her as an equal and challenges her wits constantly?


message 43: by Trudy (new)

Trudy Brasure | 28 comments What do you see in Rochester that goes against Jane's principles of fairness?


message 44: by Beth (new)

Beth (k9odyssey) I think Jane, through her own suffering, sees through much of the ill mannered behavior that Rochester demonstrates. I believe she senses he is struggling with his own battles and behind his temper and bad choices in actions/friends, is a decent and worthy man. I can think of one thing he did that was pretty horrendous and I would have been much more angry than Jane seemed to be but .... I do not want to 'reveal the future' to anyone that has not read that part.


message 45: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Nelson I loved this easy & light read. Spoiler alert:


I absolutely love her ability to break her own heart in her own best interest - an ability every woman should posses. Especially how Bronte shows how her mind is completely on him, but how she forces herself to act against her every instinct.


message 46: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Tiffany wrote: "I loved this easy & light read. Spoiler alert:


I absolutely love her ability to break her own heart in her own best interest - an ability every woman should posses. Especially how Bronte shows ..."


I was wondering whether this behavior would be understood by young people today. (view spoiler)


message 47: by Beth (new)

Beth (k9odyssey) "I was wondering whether this behavior would be understood by young people today."

I think there are certainly women today strong enough to do what Jane did but perhaps not so much to avoid a state of sin (very serious stuff at the time this novel was written) but because of overall strength of character and avoidance of feeling defeated by dreadful cirmcumstances and/or what might appear to others as weak or submissive to a man who had been dishonest to her.


message 48: by Beth (new)

Beth (k9odyssey) I noticed that about 1/2 way through my free Kindle version of Jane Eyre, Mr. Rochester interchanges Jane with Janet. I was not able to find any references to her name being Janet earier. Just wondering if other printed versions also contain Janet, perhaps an affectionate name he calls her, or if it is a Kindle mishap.


message 49: by Christine (new)

Christine McIntosh (queenxine87) I don't remember him doing anything "unfair" but he did throw some douche moves throwing that party and bringing that ridiculous other girl around. The fortune teller scene was my favorite though.


message 50: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Beth wrote: "I noticed that about 1/2 way through my free Kindle version of Jane Eyre, Mr. Rochester interchanges Jane with Janet. I was not able to find any references to her name being Janet earier. Just wo..."

I think that it is in the text - I noticed it in my audiobook as well. Off to check my print copy... yes, it is in my 1960 print edition also.


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