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Jane Eyre
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CLASSICS READS > Jane Eyre - *SPOILERS*

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Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) This discussion is for the September 2018 Classics Read of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. SPOILERS ALLOWED. For the spoiler free discussion, please see the Pre-Read thread.


Megan | 401 comments This was one of my favorite classics when I read it in high school. Looking forward to revisiting it with you all! In a side note, my favorite film version is the black and white one with Joan Fontaine and Orson Wells. The more recent one with Mia Wasikowska and Micheal Fassbender is good too, although it starts out with a very confusing flashback within a flashback.


message 3: by Abbie (last edited Sep 01, 2018 02:59PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Abbie (abbienormal21) | 279 comments Spirits podcast has an excellent Jane Eyre episode; it really made me itch to find a book club to nerd out about literature with other people again: https://www.spiritspodcast.com/episod...

I've read Jane Eyre a couple of times (in high school and college). There are parts of it I love, especially the bits at Lowood, but the section with St. John bores me to death.


Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) Abbie wrote: "Spirits podcast has an excellent Jane Eyre episode; it really made me itch to find a book club to nerd out about literature with other people again: https://www.spiritspodcast.com/episod......"

The part St. John bores me also. Otherwise I love it.


Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 1055 comments So is this a fun read, or classic literature? Or both? I'd argue both.

And if we do determine that it's supposed to have literary value, we're supposed to stay alert even in the boring parts... do you have an idea what the message or point of the part with St. John is supposed to be?


Abbie (abbienormal21) | 279 comments Cheryl wrote: "So is this a fun read, or classic literature? Or both? I'd argue both.

And if we do determine that it's supposed to have literary value, we're supposed to stay alert even in the boring parts... d..."


I'd say both, and I think a lot of "classic literature" can be really fun to read. Trying to understand the context something is written under certainly deepens the experience, but connecting with the characters or the story is what really makes a book stick with someone (which is why I loved the Spirits discussion so much--the host obviously found this book so meaningful). I remember feeling that way with Madame Bovary--yes, there was a ton of symbolism, but 16-year-old-me loved it for the drama!

I'll confess to not always being as alert during the St. John part, but I think it does serve as a different kind of test for Jane's principles and convictions. There is no moral reason for Jane to turn him down, but she doesn't love him, and even after all she's been through she holds out.


Trisha | 431 comments Megan wrote: "This was one of my favorite classics when I read it in high school. Looking forward to revisiting it with you all! In a side note, my favorite film version is the black and white one with Joan Font..."

My favourite version was the 1970 film with George C Scott & Susannah York.


Kerri | 702 comments I love the Masterpiece Theater version from 2007, but I haven’t seen the black and white one! Now I want to go find these other versions to watch :)


Renee (elenarenee) This is one of my all time favorite books.

That being said, I look at it different then when I first read it.

I no longer see Rothchild as a victim. Adult me sees the fact that he was a powerful older man who wooed a vulnerable woman.

Jane was isolated her whole life. She never really had love. She was vulnerable .He took advantage.


Yet it can be argued he was a product of the times. He didn't want to send his wife away out of kindness. He knew he was still married when he went to marry Jane,


I love this story but I don't find it as romantic as I once did.


Desiree Bell | 2 comments Growing up, I never had the opportunity to read this book. In school, Wuthering Heights (by Charlotte's sister) was instead mandatory reading.

I must say, that I truly enjoyed this read and felt great anticipation while turning the pages to discover whether Jane would ever allow herself to accept happiness. Having said that, I often found myself irritated by the protagonist's persistent internal conflict and relentless and stubborn self sacrifice with sole purpose in securing a favourable fate in the afterlife. I won't lie... I often thought to myself..."Seriously!?!"

Nevertheless, for me, this was a fun read. Dramatic, in Jane's every existential struggle and internal battle. Romantic, not only in the unlikely (for her time) love she found in Mr. Rochester, and that he found in her, but also in her unexpected ascends and descends in society all the while in search of love and acceptance.

While not all of it's subjects may appear relevant in a classical sense, to me, Jane Eyre can still be classified as Classic Literature presenting the following subjects which will forever breathe relevance;

- The human search for love and acceptance.
- The human tendency towards restlessness and struggles in finding contentment in our present states.
- Human confirmation to rules and regulations (Societal, Religious, Sexual, to name a few) in the interest of maintaining order in an otherwise chaotic existence.
- The internal struggle we all face if ever challenging the status quo.

Additionally, while many other topics may present as outdated in light of our modern society's progress, Jane Eyre could at very least be considered period piece and no less another victory for the Bronte sisters during a time when women were allowed to keep little in way of opinion.


Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 1055 comments Oh, Desiree, you sure do make me think it'd be worth my while to reread this again; you've convinced me that it is indeed a classic!


Desiree Bell | 2 comments Cheryl wrote: "Oh, Desiree, you sure do make me think it'd be worth my while to reread this again; you've convinced me that it is indeed a classic!"

Cheryl,

I'm happy to vouch for it, as I did truly find it enjoyable and had no difficulty in "putting myself in Jane's shoes," so to speak. But of course, that is only my take away.

To reply to your question about the "message or point of the part with St. John...

I felt that Jane continually strived to meet society's expectation of her being a God fearing woman. She went to great extents to adhere to what her faith deemed morally right despite what suffering it may have caused her. E.g. Leaving Mr. Rochester with nothing to her affect when learning that he is already married, despite to (as is written) "a lunatic." She returns at the request of Mrs. Reed on her death bed despite how ill she had treated her as a child.

Charlotte frequently alludes to Jane's internal struggle to follow the utmost Christian path at whatever cost despite her disposition, and more-so, despite the numerous temptations that cross her path.

To me, the relationship that develops between St. John and Jane builds to metaphorically draw the line as to how far Jane will take her sacrifices. In the end, Jane will sacrifice all save for love. She will not marry St. John because he does not love her, but would gladly take up missionary work with him... so long as he could love and accept her as a sister. I think that much of the religious sacrifices Jane makes are to gain love and acceptance from those around her, more so than a good standing with God. Being an orphaned child who was shown no love, she follows the only means she has been taught to gain it.

After all of her self sacrificing Jane begs direction from her creator. Had she not heard Rochester's voice the last night before St. John was to depart on his missionary work I believe she would have married at his request. Divine intervention shows her that she was right not to sacrifice love. So in a sense, doing good only out of obligation without feeling is confirmed as Jane felt, a "sin."


message 13: by NancyJ (last edited Sep 05, 2018 01:28AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) Desiree wrote: "Cheryl wrote: "Oh, Desiree, you sure do make me think it'd be worth my while to reread this again; you've convinced me that it is indeed a classic!"
.."


This is a great classic. No question.

Desiree, I agree with your overview above, and the comments regarding the significance of StJohn. I can't recall any details regarding which choice she would view as sinful. I think this section of the book was valuable partly because for the first time, people were treating her like family. She was able to use her mind, develop her sense of self, and make important decisions. It gave the book another layer of depth, and it revealed more of Jane's character. She gained more self-respect I think when she rejected the marriage proposal.

One of the most touching parts of the book for me was when she met StJohn and his sister. The people in the town were so harsh, and she had to sleep in a field. When she met them, she finally had someone treat her with kindness.


NancyJ (nancyjjj) Kerri wrote: "I love the Masterpiece Theater version from 2007, but I haven’t seen the black and white one! Now I want to go find these other versions to watch :)"

If that was the one with Ruth Wilson, I thought it was pretty good. I still see Rochester as Orson Wells though since he was in the first movie version I saw.


aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) | 568 comments Jane frustrated me as a character in her adulthood - so inflexible and righteous - but I think the book is a classic as well as a product of its time. She was a poor homely orphan in a time when poor orphans died young being worked to death or in losing heart to go on. Jane needed to feel she had value beyond being only a disrespected servant, since she certainly could not afford frivolity or the freedoms that being loved within a family could give. I liked the book until she reunited with Rochester and he had been blinded. That was simply corny to me.


Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 1055 comments That ending. I just don't know.
Is it a corny 'genre' HEA?
Is it deep and *L*iterary?
Is it both?


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Toni | 2 comments I’ve only skimmed through the comments at this point, but will read them more carefully once I am finished with the book. I’ve read Jane Eyre twice, once as a teenager and the second time about five years ago when I was in my mid 40s. I adored it for the romance the first time. Saw it with different eyes the second. This time, I opted for the audio version. Needless to say, there are numerous narrations to choose from, but I decided to go with Thandie Newton’s. All I can say is, it’s superb! I absolutely love it and listen to a couple of chapters nightly before bed. It truly enhances the experience. Looking forward to the discussion and approaching this timelines classic with a more critical eye.


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Aqsa (her_747) | 31 comments I absolutely loved this one! This was my first absolute fav book. I didn't wanna start it because of the cover but it proved me so wrong.
I have to read it again.


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Kirsten  (kmcripn) Aqsa wrote: "I absolutely loved this one! This was my first absolute fav book. I didn't wanna start it because of the cover but it proved me so wrong.
I have to read it again."


I am SO glad -- one of my absolute FAVORITE books of ALL TIME.


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Aqsa (her_747) | 31 comments Yes, me too!
I'm so so glad to have read it!
It's been 3 or 4 yrs now and my copy is in another country lol.
Maybe I'll reread it with you guys with an ebook :)


message 21: by Inna (last edited Sep 15, 2018 07:38PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Inna | 2 comments I’m almost through the entire book and I came here to vent because I’m so frustrated with Jane. I actually hate her! To inflict such pain on a person who was so kind to her and loved her so much... and then to leave him in a house with a homicidal maniac, not checking up on him for almost a year to see if he’s ok, all the while all HE did was worry about HER well-being. The only person in her miserable life who accepted and loved her, worshiped her, to be that cruel to him, not to mention the guilt I wish she would feel for what happened to him. I understand there were religious beliefs and her upbringing at play, but to me they do not excuse the cruelty or provide a logical reason for the extent of her actions.


message 22: by Aqsa (last edited Sep 15, 2018 09:30PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Aqsa (her_747) | 31 comments Idk I'm kinda rusty on it but It didn't sit well with me that he didn't tell her about his marriage even if his wife wasn't really normal and even if he didn't think that that marriage counted. So what if only he cared for her? That doesn't make anything alright for her.

I believe she was scared and afraid herself. She didn't have anything when she left, she had no idea where she was headed. So, if it was unfair, it was unfair to herself too. We can't blame her for what happened to him while she was absent. The fire wasn't her fault and neither was the loss he suffered.

And when everyone left him alone, she stood by him. Stayed with him. She could've married the clerk (Was it? I don't rem).
I guess if she had known about the incident, she would have come back way sooner.


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Aqsa (her_747) | 31 comments :)


Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 1055 comments Yeah, I really like your take, Inna, but I'm pretty sure that's not how the author intended us to read it.

Otoh, according to some scholars and literary writers, the author is the last person to trust about interpretations.

But Aqsa is right, as the book was written. They both had baggage: R's wife, Jane's vulnerability.

They both needed to shed their past and come back together cleansed and ready for a fresh start, otherwise they couldn't have an authentic r'ship.


message 26: by Jessica (last edited Sep 19, 2018 01:41PM) (new)

Jessica Ballance (jessileeb) | 5 comments What always struck me about Jane is her sense of integrity. It would have been easy for her to stay with Mr. Rochester and be his mistress, but no, she stuck to her scruples and left. It would have been easy for her to marry St. John (although becoming a missionary probably would not have been) but she did not love him. Love brought her back to Mr. Rochester, and because she did the right thing by leaving him when she did they were given the opportunity to get married and have a family.
I wish that it was a guaranty that the good and righteous always got their reward.


Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 1055 comments Jessilee wrote: "What always struck me about Jane is her sense of integrity. It would have been easy for her to stay with Mr. Rochester and be his mistress, but no, she stuck to her scruples and left. It would have..."

Good point. Almost like a fairy tale trope in that the good girl has the heart, and value, of a princess. And of course now that R. is blind, she'll always be 'exceedingly fair' in his mind's eye, at least symbolically.


Shamitha Surendran I read this book long long time back and am would love to read this again....


Shamitha Surendran Jessilee wrote: "What always struck me about Jane is her sense of integrity. It would have been easy for her to stay with Mr. Rochester and be his mistress, but no, she stuck to her scruples and left. It would have..."

This is such a beautiful way to interpret the book... :)


NancyJ (nancyjjj) Aqsa wrote: "Idk I'm kinda rusty on it but It didn't sit well with me that he didn't tell her about his marriage even if his wife wasn't really normal and even if he didn't think that that marriage counted. So ..."

I love this discussion. It's interesting that some are more critical of Jane, and some are more critical of Rochester. Rochester was wrong for not telling her about his wife, but you might argue that he did it for love. Jane's decisions might seem heartless, but they were based on her religious convictions.

They are both imperfect people in difficult circumstances, making decisions based on different values. I think this is what makes it good for discussions in bookclubs and classrooms. This book has remained a popular classic for 150+ years, perhaps because of the conflicting feelings it generates. It's considered a romance, but it's also so much more than we've come to expect from romance novels.

They've both dealt with unfair circumstances in life. She was treated harshly and unfairly as a child, and he was tricked into marrying a woman with a severe mental illness (the family limited their contact before the wedding). The unfairness is one thing that made me feel more sympathetic toward both of them. On the GreatReadsPBS show last week, they highlighted things that make characters more sympathetic right from the start. One was losing a parent. Apparently Disney figured this out early.


message 31: by Aqsa (last edited Sep 24, 2018 08:26PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Aqsa (her_747) | 31 comments Lol yeah apparently disney did.
Yes you're right. I couldn't agree more.
One often finds oneself defending both characters against each other. They were imperfect and both had their reasons for what they did. Some of which seemed wrong when considered from the other's point of view.

I have to read this again. Been too long :)


Craig | 17 comments The biggest impression the book left with me was the two breakup scenes. It felt very real and reminded me of breakups I’ve had. The person doing the breaking up tries to explain logically why they are doing it and the other person keeps asking why over and over. Granted the circumstances were different.

In the first breakup, Jane tries to explain why she can’t be Rochester’s lover because he’s already married, even though she admits she is passionately in love with him (not an easy thing to explain).

In the second breakup, Jane tries to explain to St. John that she can’t marry him because she doesn’t love him even though he explains logically why they should. (to me much easier for Jane to explain since I couldn’t believe St. John could be so cold-hearted).

The two breakups show both sides of her religious beliefs of marriage, you have to have ethics and love.


message 33: by Aqsa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Aqsa (her_747) | 31 comments You're right Craig :)

P.S. I don't remember St. John being cold-hearted (been a while since I read the book)


message 34: by Susan (last edited Oct 18, 2018 06:00AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Susan | 442 comments I really loved this book, and I think it will be one of my enduring favorites. I relate to what Jessica said about Jane's integrity. Even from the beginning, when Jane challenged her aunt Reed as a child (which I think was basically unheard of for the time), she really seemed to have such a strong sense of herself. I think Bronte's portrayal of Jane was far ahead of her time, and I loved seeing Jane grow from a desperate, sad orphan to such a strong woman. I really liked how Jane & Rochester were described as plain people, and their relationship as a meeting of minds and hearts, as well as how it defied class structure. As unlikely as that undoubtedly would have been in real life, it once again seemed very forward looking to me, and I can understand why this Victorian read still seems relevant today in many ways.

My least favorite part, like many others have said, was Jane's saga with St. John. St. John's behavior after Jane received and split her inheritance with her cousins was really upsetting to me, as he really seemed to me almost like a cult leader or abusive religious leader. He reminded me of people I've known in the past who confuse spiritual leadership with trying to "be the Holy Spirit" to other people, and are better left behind. St. John's coerciveness really seemed disturbing to me, and I struggled with how long drawn out it was. I think Miss Bronte really attempted to maintain a positive portrayal of St. John as a virtuous character, but I just couldn't keep going there. I had confidence Jane would deal with him, but in the end I was exhausted by it! I still found it such a great book though, and so glad this group gave me the push to read it :)


message 35: by aPriL does feral sometimes (last edited Sep 29, 2018 02:50PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) | 568 comments Miss Brontë had in real life a very religious high church father. Her father's duties would have been to attend to parish visits and vigorous policing of his daughters in their daily lives.

From Wikipedia:

"Patrick Brontë married Maria Branwell at St. Oswald's Church, Guiseley in 1812.

Patrick Brontë was the first of ten children born to Hugh Brunty, a farm labourer,[2] and Alice McClory, in Drumballyroney (near Rathfriland), County Down. At one point in his adult life, he formally changed the spelling of his name from Brunty to Brontë (see the article on the Brontë family for theories for the change).

He had several apprenticeships (to a blacksmith, a linen draper, and a weaver) until he became a teacher in 1798. He moved to England in 1802 to study theology at St. John's College, Cambridge, and received his BA degree in 1806. He was then appointed curate at Wethersfield, near Braintree in Essex, where he was ordained a deacon of the Church of England in 1806, and into the priesthood in 1807.

In 1809, he became assistant curate at Wellington, Shropshire, and in 1810 his first published poem, Winter Evening Thoughts, appeared in a local newspaper, followed in 1811 by a collection of moral verses, Cottage Poems. He moved to the West Riding of Yorkshire in 1811 as assistant curate at Hartshead, where he served until 1815. In the meantime (1812) he was appointed a school examiner at a Wesleyan academy, Woodhouse Grove School, near Guiseley. In 1815 he moved again on becoming perpetual curate of Thornton.

At Guiseley, Brontë met Maria Branwell (1783–1821), whom he married on 29 December 1812. Their first child, Maria (1813–1825) was born after their move to Hartshead, and their second, Elizabeth (1814–1825), after the family moved to Thornton. There the remaining children were born: Charlotte (1816–1855), Patrick Branwell (1817–1848), Emily (1818–1848) and Anne (1820–1849).

Brontë was offered the perpetual curacy of St Michael and All Angels' Church, Haworth in June 1819, and he took the family there in April 1820. His sister-in-law Elizabeth Branwell (1776–1842), who had lived with the family at Thornton in 1815, joined the household in 1821 to help to look after the children and to care for Maria Brontë, who was suffering the final stages of uterine cancer. Elizabeth decided to move permanently to Haworth to act as housekeeper.

After several attempts to seek a new spouse, Patrick came to terms with widowhood at the age of 47, and spent his time visiting the sick and the poor, giving sermons, communion, and extreme unction, leaving the three sisters Emily, Charlotte, Anne, and their brother Branwell alone with their aunt and a maid, Tabitha Aykroyd (Tabby), who tirelessly recounted local legends in her Yorkshire dialect while preparing the meals.

Brontë was responsible for the building of a Sunday school in Haworth, which he opened in 1832. He remained active in local causes into his old age, and between 1849 and 1850 organised action to procure a clean water supply for the village, which was eventually achieved in 1856.

In August 1846, Brontë travelled to Manchester, accompanied by Charlotte, to undergo surgery on his eyes. On 28 August he was operated upon, without anaesthetic, to remove cataracts. Surgeons did not yet know how to use stitches to hold the incision in the eye together and as a consequence the patient was required to lie quietly in a darkened room, for weeks after the operation. Charlotte used her time in Manchester to begin writing Jane Eyre, the book which was to make her famous.

After the death of his last surviving child, Charlotte, nine months after her marriage, he co-operated with Elizabeth Gaskell on the biography of his daughter. He was also responsible for the posthumous publication of Charlotte's first novel, The Professor, in 1857. Charlotte's husband, Arthur Bell Nicholls (1819–1906), who had been Brontë's curate, stayed in the household until he returned to Ireland after Brontë's death, at the age of 84, in 1861. Brontë outlived not only his wife (by 40 years) but all six of his children."


Susan | 442 comments That is a super interesting perspective on the story, April, especially on the character of St. John. Thanks for sharing!


message 37: by Kim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kim | 15 comments To me, the book was about Jane trying to reconcile convention and rules and what she has been taught 'is right', with her own sense of ethics and justice and what she feels 'is right' in her heart.

Mr. Rochester and St. John represent the opposites of that scale.

Mr. Rochester has, from what he tells Jane, always broken conventions. He calls his own past 'sinful'. But when we learn more it turns out his actions were directed by what he 'feels' is right. He has never intentionally wronged someone, he is charitable, he acts nice and respectful to people who are below him on the social ladder. He even takes (relative for the time) good care of the wife that he feels ruined his life.
St. John does everything according to convention and religion. As a parson, he does good work, because it is what his religion and function within it requires. But he is cold, he never shows real feeling for the people in his parish, and he has his eyes solely on his own vocation and goals.

Jane as a young girl has strong feelings of injustice, she feels it is not right that because she is a poor orphan, living on the charity of an aunt, she has to be completely submissive and take any abuse that comes her way. When she goes to Lowood though, she quickly learns that following the rules and trying to live according to convention earns her acceptance and a feeling of belonging, something she craves very much.

When she is at Thornfield, she learns to follow her heart again and disregard convention more (the relationship she builds with her superior would certainly have been considered unconventional), but that does not go so far that she is able to fully disregard it to have the love she finally knows. Later, with St. John, the pendulum swings back again and she conforms to his every wish for a good while because she again feels the need for acceptance by her new family, but it does not swing back far enough for her to disregard her heart in order to follow convention.

Although I was very happy for Jane that, when she returned to her love, all obstacles were removed and she could easily combine feelings and convention and live happily ever after, I think it would have been interesting to see what her choice would have been had the wife survived the fire, especially as she was now independent.


Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 1055 comments Wonderful insights, gracefully expressed, Kim!

Yes, that would be an interesting 'what if.' Would Jane & Rochester run away? Would they have hid the wife in an asylum? Would Jane have struck out on her own somehow? I cannot see her marrying St. John, but irl many women did have to submit to that kind of 'lesser evil.'


Megan Musser Finally finished reading this weekend and have a chance to catch up on the Spoilers thread.

A few things my copy of the book touched on that I found interesting that haven't been brought up yet:

1. Apparently, this was one of the first books with widespread popularity which explained at least part of the story from a child's POV (3 years before David Copperfield).

2. The contrast of fire with Mr. Rochester and ice with St. John, which also reflects the conflicting components of Jane's own personality.


Craig | 17 comments Aqsa wrote: "You're right Craig :)

P.S. I don't remember St. John being cold-hearted (been a while since I read the book)"


What I remember was St. John wants to be a missionary in India, he wants Jane to join him, he explains the only way she can do that is to marry him even though he admits he doesn't love her. He also admits that the work is hard, the environment is brutal and they most likely will die at a young age. Any easy No for Jane!


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Aqsa (her_747) | 31 comments Craig wrote: "Aqsa wrote: "You're right Craig :)

P.S. I don't remember St. John being cold-hearted (been a while since I read the book)"

What I remember was St. John wants to be a missionary in India, he wants..."


Yes, I remember now lol. It was an easy no. He just wanted company I guess.


Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 1055 comments Well, company, and a cook, housekeeper, nurse....


Megan | 401 comments I've always loved Jane's integrity and her deep sense of justice. She was really a firebrand under that meek exterior. After rereading, I understand why some people disliked her and were upset by her leaving Mr. Rochester. She had to though, she was afraid he'd try to coerce her to be his mistress, and she didn't feel that was right. Rumors about his mad wife could very well have followed them to Europe, if she'd gone along with his plan, and that would have had a negative impact on their social acceptance. I think she was afraid, too, that he would lose respect for her, just as he'd lost respect for his previous mistresses.

I think her journey and her family experience with St James provided time for important character growth for both of them. Jane finally gets to have a positive family experience, and, with her teaching job and her inheritance, gets to be independent, so she comes back to Rochester as an equal instead of a dependent. St James was definitely cold, calculating and ambitious. Spiritual bullies are some of the worst sorts, they justify the bullying because it's supposed to make the victim a better person. If she had stood up to him immediately, he might not have decided she'd be the perfect little wife/drudge. I was so relieved Jane maintained her integrity and refused to marry him.

I think Jane's leaving forced Rochester to realize he was being too pushy and needed to accept her as she was. And she didn't leave him alone with a madwoman, he still had his household staff. He also stopped pretending he didn't have a wife and tried to take care of Bertha. He really proved his great caring for those he felt responsible for in the fire, getting all his people out and trying to save Bertha.

It's an interesting question to wonder what Jane would have done if Rochester's wife had lived. If Bertha had survived, she probably would have been maimed and required nursing. Would Jane have nursed them both? I doubt she or Rochester would have been ok with institutionalizing Bertha, a nice room in the attic with a paid nurse was a much better situation than most mental institutions of the time.


NancyJ (nancyjjj) FYI Jane Eyre is in the Top Ten of the Great American Read. Today is the last day to vote for your favorites. Vote online, text, phone, twitter, facebook. Voting closes at 11:59 pm Pacific time (3am eastern)

https://www.pbs.org/the-great-america...

Others in the top ten include:

To Kill a Mockingbird
Pride and Prejudice
Lord of the Rings
Harry Potter


Jemma (captainjemima) I do agree that Jane is a strong, principled character who battles with her own ethics and beliefs. I also agree that she had to leave Mr Rochester in case he coerced her to be his mistress, and that she did the right thing in battling against St John's loveless marriage proposal.

I think the reason I only rated this book three stars is because I felt frustrated that nothing really happened. I know that's a terrible thing to say about classic literature because usually that is what happens - nothing much. I know that it was a study of Jane herself. However, after the peak of excitement at what happened with Mr Rochester and her having to flee and happened to find her lost family, things got very frustrating and felt "stuck". I kept hoping for something good to happen again. For me, the climax at the end of the novel being her marriage to Mr Rochester was most unsatisfactory; he hadn't treated her particularly well, he'd lied to her, and even if she loved him, my modern sensibilities wanted her to be the independent woman she could have been with her new fortune.

This book made me feel a bit grumpy because I feel like it had great promise but for me it fell down in the final third(?) or so.


Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) I finally finished the graphic version of this novel. I had read full-text version a few times in my teens and early 20's and have listened to an audio version at some point. I do feel that my perspective is different now. I used to be more in favor of the romance between Mr. Rochester and Jane than I was this time. Still enjoyed it quite a bit, but the trick of not telling Jane that he was married already is much less understandable to me than it used to be.

I do relish the information that is here about the time and place. The schools, poor relations, customs, mannerisms and other details of the times is major driver in making me want to read Classics.


Jemma (captainjemima) Thanks for your perspective reading the graphic novel, Joanna! It's interesting, too, to hear how your views have changed on Mr Rochester's deception. I also appreciated the heavy context used to do with the time period and so on - it really built the world for me.


Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 1055 comments It is interesting how our perspective changes over the years of our maturity, and how that changes our perception of books. Classics, especially, are re-interpretable... maybe that's one way to define them....


Renee (elenarenee) I agree. My perspective is so different now. When I was younger, I thought it was so romantic the Rochester wanted to marry Jane even though he was married.

I have lupus which leaves me unable to do many things. If my husband tried to marry someone else.....

Instead he helps me in every way he can. He does not care that I am different. That is much more romantic.


Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 1055 comments Yes it is. I'm grateful to him, too, that he enables you to visit with us.


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