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Jane Eyre
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Readalongs > Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (Pink & Jenny)

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Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments For our December Readalong of Jane Eyre.

Any preference on when to start?

Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 11562 comments Mod
Enjoy, this is probably my favourite Victorian classic.

Pink I'd prefer earlier in the month :)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments Great, I think I will probably be starting around the 4th or 5th. Really looking forward to this.

Pink Me too Jenny, it's been far too long sitting on my shelf already!

Pink Hey Jenny I haven't started this one yet, but will probably pick it up this weekend, or else start next monday (9th)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments I will probably be starting tomorrow, but since I am working like mad at the moment I'll be moving snale speed anyhow:)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments Pink have you started yet? (Or should I say have you continued starting? ;)) I am nearing my last 100 pages and it really has been up and down. I genuinely enjoyed the first half, but struggled with the middle part and I am fully aware that half of that struggle has to do with seeing things through the filter of Wide Sargasso Sea however I believe I would have struggled regardless, unfortunately though it is hard to know how I would have read this book without the input of Jean Rhys. I am so curious to hear your thoughts on it.

Pink I still haven't started! Sorry I'm behind with this, as I keep delaying it, but I promise to start soon. I don't know how I'll cope with the characters either as I already hate Rochester, just from reading Wide Sargasso Sea. Looking forward to finding out what happens though and I suspect my feelings will be as complex as yours.

message 10: by Pink (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pink I started this morning! I've only read about 40 pages so far and Jane is still a young child, but I'm enjoying it.

message 11: by Pink (last edited Dec 16, 2013 01:27PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pink Jenny, I knew it, I hate Rochester already and he's only just been introduced, ughh, please tell me he has some redeeming features to come.....though I can't push out my thoughts from Wide Sargasso Sea either

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments LOL. To be honest I realized that I can find some weird charme in his grumpy behaviour and his lack of filter of sorts. (this might be entirely due to Michael Fassbender's interpretation of him though) For me it got much worse later on. Oh so much worse. I hated the happy version of him. SO MUCH.

message 13: by Pink (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pink There's a happy version?! I must read more but it's making me sleepy this evening

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments It's brief but painful.

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments Pink, how are you doing with 'Jane Eyre'? Where are you at?

message 16: by Pink (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pink I'm still reading....he's just confessed his love and shown his softer side, wedding is planned for a months time, though Jane seems to have concerns already! No more rumblings from the attic at the moment! I'm really really enjoying it, though haven't had any time to read today as I've been working.

message 17: by Pink (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pink Jenny, I've finished....I really really liked it, much more than I thought I would. I never realised that Jane would be such a headstrong character. I'm not sure that I wanted her to end up back with Rochester, but I guess it would be difficult to comprehend her writing a different ending.

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments Great!! I felt the same, though I felt myself really struggle at times to shake the Wide Sargasso Sea lens I really ended up enjoying it. What did you think of the way Antoinette/Bertha was being portrayed?

message 19: by Pink (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pink I didn't get much of a feel for Bertha as a character at all. I liked how Jane accused Rochester of being cruel for abandoning her, though of course he had an excuse for that. I didn't really like Rochester much at all by the end, but I think that was partly to do with my impression of him from Wide Sargasso Sea.

Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 11562 comments Mod
Excuse me for butting in, when I studied Wide Sargasso Sea at A-level, I remember the teacher putting an adaptation of Jane Eyre as there wasn't much point starting Wide Sargasso because of January exams and resits. Anyways, most of us girls thought Rochester was almost an romantic hero and when we finished Wide Sargasso Sea, they all thought his character was seriously exaggerated but it wasn't until I read Jane Eyre when I realised that there was a cruelness to his character that Rhys did pick up on.

message 21: by Pink (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pink Glad to see your comments Alannah :) I think you were the same the as Jenny and me, reading Wide Sargasso Sea first, so we had pre-conceived ideas of Rochester before even picking up Jane Eyre! I thought that Bertha might have more of a part in the book, but I really admire how Rhys made a whole book based on her.

message 22: by Pink (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pink Halima wrote: "I love Jane Eyre! It's my favorite classic novel. Sorry for butting in out of the blue."

Glad to have your opinion Halima :) Have you read Wide Sargasso Sea?

message 23: by Pink (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pink Hhm well Jenny and I had both read Wide Sargasso Sea before Jane Eyre, which was the wrong way round! It was written in the 1960s and imagined the life of Bertha/ Antoinette when she was a girl and then married to Rochester. It gives her story a completely different light to the 'madwoman' in the attic and I'd definitely recommend it if you liked Jane Eyre, though it is very different.

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Halima - that's the way round I read them too. "Jane Eyre" was quite familiar to me before I'd even heard of "Wide Sargasso Sea" (which was written in 1966, by Jean Rhys, who has good credentials for it as she was born in Dominica.)

If you read it that way round, as you say, Bertha has a minor role. I'm not sure I got any impression of her at all really! For most of the book she is a mystery and whenever she is described you don't get any feeling of a real human personality trapped in there.

I do wonder if Rhys felt the same way; that Bertha was merely a plot device. She may have felt that Bronte missed a great opportunity and was so frustrated by the novel that she tried to put it right! She may have had a better understanding of brides from Dominica coming to England, for instance. At any rate, "Wide Sargasso Sea" is a great read on its own terms.

Do you think it "spoilt" the mystery element, reading it first, Pink and Jenny? I am not sure that before "Wide Sargasso Sea" became famous, the central mystery of "Jane Eyre" was so well known. Bronte certainly spins it out before she lets on, doesn't she?

Sorry, both, if you don't really think a discussion about "Wide Sargasso Sea" is what you want from this thread!

Shirley | 4177 comments Sorry to "butt" in, but I was wondering the same as Jean, that maybe it has spoilt the mystery element of Jane Eyre by reading Wide Sargasso Sea first? Of course, it's not really a question that can be answered, as you are not always conscious of the effect another book has - and you can't forget you have read it! I must admit, I am intrigued by Wide Sargasso Sea now, and feel I should read it!!

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments I am not sure I can really anwer that question, but I guess yes, the mystery of Rochesters secret was out long before picking up he book, which has less to do with Wide Sargasso Sea, and more with the fact that the story is so popular, you stumble over references or movie adaptations everywhere, so I knew the book pretty well before starting to read it, which somehow didn't seem to effect how much I enjoyed it though.

I agree Jean, I think Rhys' own cultural background might have also made her more sensitive to the way Antoinette/Berta was portrayed, as she was described in a way that quite happily seemed to re-inform stereotypical racial/colonist ideas. I really appreciated that the novel of Jean Rhys moved far beyond merely being a sequel to Jane Eyre but turned into a little masterpiece in it's own right.

I am probably going to be beaten for this and luckily no one forces me to choose: but if I would have to take a pick between both books, I'd pick Wide Sargasso Sea. (off she run's, quickly taking cover)

Shirley | 4177 comments Jenny wrote: "I am not sure I can really anwer that question, but I guess yes, the mystery of Rochesters secret was out long before picking up he book, which has less to do with Wide Sargasso Sea, and more with ..."

Ha ha, oh my goodness, Jenny, how could you??!!!

I definitely have to read it now!!!

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Jenny - erm... please may I come along and take cover too?!!! LOL

message 29: by Pink (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pink I agree with Jenny, that the mystery of Jane Eyre was sort of spoiled just from the story being so well known in popular culture, rather than from reading Wide Sargasso Sea. My opinions of Rochester were probably the most affected from reading the books in this order though, as I disliked him from Wide Sargasso Sea and continued to hate him through Jane Eyre.

I thought that I wouldn't like this book so much, because of all the feelings I was already bringing to it, but I found that I actually loved it. I'd definitely have to pick the classic, over the modern interpretation, though I really do like both of them.

message 30: by Leslie (last edited Jan 03, 2014 08:51AM) (new) - added it

Leslie | 15985 comments Pink wrote: "I agree with Jenny, that the mystery of Jane Eyre was sort of spoiled just from the story being so well known in popular culture, rather than from reading Wide Sargasso Sea. My opinions of Rocheste..."

I am even more intrigued now to read Wide Sargasso Sea… While I thought Rochester was taking advantage of Jane, I never hated him. Will I change my mind? I will have to wait and see!

Shirley | 4177 comments Pink wrote: "I agree with Jenny, that the mystery of Jane Eyre was sort of spoiled just from the story being so well known in popular culture, rather than from reading Wide Sargasso Sea. My opinions of Rocheste..."

That's interesting, I read Jane Eyre as an adult but somehow had never seen a film of it, nor did I know the story at all - so it was much better to read. I had a similar problem when I read Oliver Twist last year - although I enjoyed it - I'm sure it would have been better if I had known nothing of the storyline...

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