I have been wanting to reread Jane Eyre for the past few months. Also it was one of the books that I could find at the (small) bookstore that (sometimes) got me through college. In the past, if I attempted to read classics for fun it is just that – an attempt. It’s not necessarily because I didn’t like the book – I would read it in my free time and then I get busy, usually with school, and move on to other less fun things, like homework. So I was really happy that I got to read and finish Jane Eyre on my own time.
(this is not the edition I read – I read the Barns and Noble copy, but I like this cover)
I enjoyed the book more than when I read it in 8th grade. I had remembered a few scenes – more than I thought originally – and lots of pop and vocab quizzes from class, so needless to say, I was able to get more out of the book on my own when all I had to worry about was enjoying the plot.
I feel like when most people talk about Jane Eyre they talk about her as a strong female character. Although I feel like this topic can be overdone (and I don’t see myself as a raging feminist), it really is a large portion of the novel. After all, the book title is her name, and it did claim to be a fictional autobiography.
The first person narrative really displays Jane’s character beyond anything else in the novel. Everything the reader learns, from facts about Mr. Rochester, to suspicions about the servant, Grace Pool, is filtered through Jane’s lens, so we get her opinion on everything. And she does have strong opinions on religion, love, marriage, and female roles, – some that go along with her society at the time, and some that don’t. These give her a strong voice and make her a good match for the “dreamy” and dark Mr. Rochester.
Jane Eyre is a Victorian Gothic novel, so horror and love dominate the book. Jane’s life was never easy – ever – which is depressing, but it does strengthen her character a lot. Nothing went well for her for very long before some twist appeared, everything changed, and Jane dealt with it one way or another. Despite its seriousness however, I did enjoy the book. But that might just be because I’m a book nerd…