First of all, the Brontë sisters definitely had talent in their genes in order to have written such compelling stories. Now, I don’t want to compare them because Emily and Charlotte had different styles. The aspects they shared in common were creating characters who acknowledged their flaws and transmitting strong emotions. As for Anne, I still haven’t read any of her work, though I certainly look forward to it.
‘Jane Eyre’ is officially now one of my favorite novels and has been added to my list of books that must be reread. Jane is a character with whom I quickly empathized. The story is about her recounting her past experiences ten years after her marriage, starting when she was 10 years old. Just a brief summary: Jane had been an orphan since she was a newborn and never met her parents. Her aunt became in charge of her care (unwillingly) and didn’t treat her fairly which caused Jane to ‘misbehave’. Therefore, her aunt decided to send to her Lowood, a charity school for orphaned girls where she’d spend the next eight years of her life. But the story really begins when she leaves Lowood in order to become a governess in the faraway village of Milcote. Never did she expect to meet Mr. Rochester — the owner of Thornfield Hall and the legal guardian of the little girl who she’d be teaching. Being this a love story, yes they do fall in love but she ends up getting her heart broken. This causes Jane to leave Thornfield and head off to nowhere in particular. Just when she thought she was alone in this world, she ends up meeting a special group of people whom she establishes a close bond with. But Mr. Rochester never left her heart or her thoughts. Will she return and mend things with her old master? I don’t like spoiling it for anyone, though I’m sure most of you have read the novel already or have seen the film adaptations.
Charlotte Brontë did an excellent job describing the settings and the whirl of emotions that Jane experiments. I know some people dislike such detailed descriptions because they don’t really add up to the plot, plus all the bible citation now seems outdated (regardless of your religion, we have to give props to Charlotte for elaborating a thought-out plan that includes biblical verses and previous literature references in the precise moments). I personally enjoyed this book because I could easily imagine myself walking down the Thornfield garden or gazing at Morton’s rocky landscape.
Moreover, the characters made plenty of mistakes throughout the story, Jane included. There were many facepalm/eye rolling moments where I thought to myself “Jane, why are you doing this?”. But then again, she was young and naive and the story is precisely about evolving and learning. Not to mention, her opinions on gender roles were unconventional back then, making her an O.G. of feminism.
My only critique is the way the author decided to end the novel. The last two paragraphs were about St. John, which I personally felt it wasn’t that relevant. I would have preferred a couple of closing sentences about her husband or children, or herself even. But that’s just me.
Overall rating: 5/5
“The soul, fortunately, has an interpreter – often an unconscious but still a faithful interpreter – in the eye.”