Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Jane Eyre

I've fully realized that despite my best efforts, I'm writing to no one. I have absolutely no followers and no comments on any of my posts. Why do I still continue to blog then? In all honesty, it serves as an outlet. It's nice to feel like someone is actually listening to me even though in reality no one actually is. Whatever...

However, that’s not the point of this post. The point is to express the fact that I have once again read “Jane Eyre” for the thousandth time. I read PARTS of it almost every week, flipping through different sections and skipping to the ones I find relatable at the time. My obsession with Jane Eyre might be edging on unhealthy. I view it as my own personal Bible. It is very seldom that I do not have a copy of Jane Eyre handy in my backpack, packed in my suitcase, or sitting on my nightstand. I never tire of reading it because there's always something new to discover that wasn't there before that makes me even more passionate about the book.

The problem is that, despite my intense love of the novel, I've still been unable to answer a simple question that EVERYONE always asks me..."Why Jane Eyre?"

It's a very sensible question and at first glance, it seems easy. But I've yet to be able to put it into words. In fact, I've never truly stopped to consider it. Why “Jane Eyre?” There are equally beautifully written English Lit novels out there. Why not Jane Austen? There are many people who faithfully follow her. Why not "the Age of Innocence?"...Why not "North and South?" These are all books that I've read and deeply enjoyed. Yet, why did none of these succeed in surpassing “Jane Eyre?”

Perhaps it's the fact that "Jane Eyre" has been with me since childhood. My mom bought me the abridged version when I was only ten. Even then, I was always transfixed by it. The whole story line was interesting to me, even though completely out of the norm to a ten year old child. Yes, the fact that I have a history with Jane Eyre may majorly contribute to my obsession with it now. But though that serves as a contribution, it does not constitute why I’ve found continuous enjoyment in reading it.

I bought the original version when I was in 13, just entering the eighth grade. I couldn't have come across Jane Eyre at a more perfect time. I was reaching that point in my life where one goes through the infamous "awkward phase." I was a loner for the most part. I was underdeveloped, quiet, nerdy, and as a whole I had absolutely no sense of self-identity. I was searching for the merest shred of esteem and self-efficacy. What better time to read a book about a teenager self-described as "poor, obscure, plain and little?"

I read the book and came to the strong conclusion that, despite the obvious differences in age and time period, Jane Eyre and I led a similar life. She was alone, inexperienced, and feeling the same restlessness and unrealized passion that I was. She didn't know anything about the world. Jane, like me, was just a teenager finding her way around the playground of life.

I've read Jane Eyre multiple times since then and seen every adaptation. I've reviewed the newest one. But it was upon seeing this new version and rereading the wrinkled book filled with dog-eared pages, underlined sentences, and scribbled margins that I realized "Why Jane Eyre."

But it wasn't through rereading "I must have you for my own" or "reader, I married him." It wasn't by imagining Edward Rochester’s voice in the romantic lines that I had always held dear to my heart. It was through the dead end of Chapter 27 when Jane Eyre leaves. It’s when her heart is filled with sorrow and her spirits are at their lowest.

And why does that matter? Because up until this point, Jane Eyre was a romance to me. Yes, I always put up the argument that I like Jane because she's "independent", but the true focus of my obsession was the love story that, to me, had always served as the core of the novel. No.

"Why Jane Eyre?"

Because Jane Eyre is a role model to me that no nonfictional character could ever be. I live in a world where I'm constantly taught to chase love down, find it, and embrace it. People always emphasize that "love is stronger than anything." Jane proves otherwise. Jane Eyre makes a mockery of those words by saying that her will is stronger than anything love can throw at her. That's why Jane Eyre. I've read countless other romances of English lit. But in not one of those novels did the heroine choose to walk away when the man she was in love with was lying at her feet, begging her to stay with him and succumb to a life of immorality.

"Jane Eyre" stands out in a crowd of timeless literature because its main character is not dynamic. At least, not in the normal sense of what a dynamic character is. Elizabeth Bennet was forced to humble herself and admit to her prejudices as well as accept Mr. Darcy with all his proud flaws. Jane does not need to humble herself, but rather learns to build herself up and acknowledge her worth. She inspires Mr. Rochester to rise to her standards.

Margeret Hale has to question her previous opinions and learn to acknowledge her vulnerability. Miss Eyre never questions what she in her heart knows is right, even when it may require her to put her selfish desires aside. She never acknowledges vulnerability as an option and fights it even when Mr. Rochester is trying to wrench it out of her.

Countess Olenska agrees to an affair and by the time she backs out, the sin is already committed. Jane refuses to even commit the sin. She would never risk her moral integrity. Her passionate nature bends toward Mr. Rochester, but it also gives her a strong will and desire to respect herself.

Jane Eyre is not merely independent. That word is an understatement. Independent is having your own opinion. It’s being able to pull out your own chair and open doors for yourself. Jane strikes me as indomitable. Jane is mighty. She recognizes that she has worth even when those around her don’t see it. When she receives strong persuasive arguments from the man she loves saying “what would it hurt to live with me?” her conscience screams “I must respect myself!” She does not allow herself to be changed. What I love about Jane Eyre is that she laughs in the face of a chauvinistic, hierarchical world and says "This is who I am and I have no intention of changing. Deal with it."

Jane Eyre is the type of woman I aspire to be.

That’s why “Jane Eyre.”  


  1. I'll be your first follower!! I too, love Jane Eyre, but putting it into words is often difficult. Keep writing! I'm reading it!!!

  2. Thank you so much for your comments! I really enjoyed your review of the movie as well and I'm glad to hear that SOMEONE is reading my stuff lol.

  3. I only just found your blog and immediately added you to my to follow list. It's always great to find fellow Jane Eyre obsessed! And you write so eloquently about things that are so near to my heart.

  4. I'm very glad that you found me. I too am always happy to meet people who have the same passion for Jane Eyre that I do. Fill free to comment and read as much as you want. Thank you very much for your comment. :)

  5. I'm glad I discovered your blog (through a link on imdb) and I've enjoyed reading through your articles on Jane Eyre! It's nice to read thoughtful and passionate words on my favorite novel. I also fell in love with the 2011 film and I'm counting down the days until it comes out on DVD.

    Looking forward to reading more!

  6. I too am glad that you found me! I had no idea that I was even connected to imdb ha ha. As always, I'm extremely excited to come in contact with someone who says that "Jane Eyre" is their favorite novel! It's the book that inspired me to give blogging a try in the first place. I'm glad you're enjoying what you see and please comment on whatever you want. I love to hear new opinions. :)

  7. I love your blog! I first read Jane Eyre when I was 11 after I went on a trip to Haworth aged ten with my primary school, soon after this my mum bought a copy in 2000 and recommended it to me. I fell in love with the book as I was in the car, I remember not being keen on Rochester because of the way he deceives Jane but as I got older I understood Rochester more and more and fell head over heels in love with him. In September 2000 I started high school and I was bullied which made me very unhappy so Jane became my best friend and as I thought myself plain I could easily understand what Jane meant when she wishes she were pretty.

    Jane Eyre has also distracted me from my disability and has made me believe that a man will love me for who I am despite my disability like Jane love Rochester even though he is blind. It also taught me to resist temptation and I was amazed at how strong Jane was in leaving Rochester even though she loved him so much, I remember thinking how hard that must have been.

    The reason I love Jane Eyre so much is because Jane stands up for herself and overcomes ever obstacle that people put in her path; I also love her morals too and I also like the fact that she is plain but is such a strong heroine. I love the language in this novel and think it is beautifully written.

    Another reason why I love it is because there is a brooding, dark, blunt, rude but a very passionate and gorgeous hero in the novel (what woman doesn't like one of those?!) which is Mr. Rochester who loves Jane for who she is, is very kind to her and treats her like an equal, I know that he has his faults but I can't help but fall for him! I also find him a very sympathetic character because he has a lot of very unfair things to deal with in his life.

    My favourite parts of the novel are:
    When Jane and Edward first meet
    The first conversation they have
    After Jane saves Edward from the fire
    The conversation they have when Jane leaves the drawing-room
    When Jane finds out Edward is the gypsy
    When Jane asks Edward's permission to leave Thornfield Hall
    When Jane returns to Thornfield Hall
    The proposal! (This part is so passionate and romantic!)
    When Edward is explaining everything to Jane after their interrupted marriage and is trying to convince her to stay with him (I nearly cry when I read that part!)
    The reunion of Jane and Edward

    Every time I read Jane Eyre nowadays I still feel like Jane is my friend telling me everything about herself, I love to read it in bed where I can get cozy and fall in love with the novel and Mr. Rochester all over again! I also have Jane Eyre on audio disc as well it's lovely to listen to when I am unwell or the weather is bad.

    I will love Jane Eyre forever and it will always be a very special novel to me. It is my favourite novel too! People think I am obessed with Jane Eyre too but they don't understand how wonderful the story is! I have two copies of Jane Eyre and I have one beside my bed always.

    Kate, aged 22 Leeds, England

    I can't wait to see the new film!

  8. That was a beautiful comment. It seems that you love all the same things about Jane Eyre that I do. People think that I too am obsessed, and maybe I am, but what is the problem with it. I too have two copies, on of which is always in my possession whether it be in my book bag, on my night stand, or just in my hand. I'm sorry to hear that you were bullied. High School is a harsh world. But I'm glad that you found solace in a book. I too do the same things. When I'm having a bad day, I can always go home and read my troubles away momentarily. I'm glad you found my blog and thank you VERY much for your comment. It means a lot. Also, I'm glad to meet someone from Leeds! Perhaps you could help me with my "Intricacies of Accents" post! :)

  9. People have called me obsessed with Jane Eyre or have asked me, "Why do you love the novel so much?" The answer is simple. It is because it's a beautiful love story and I love all the characters, especially Jane and Edward Fairfax Rochester. Jane is a poor, plain and unloved orphan who overcomes great difficulties but triumphes in the end by marrying the love of her life. Every time I read Jane Eyre, I always discover something new within the story. I don't care if I am obsessed with it, "what's wrong with loving a novel anyway?"

    My two copies of the novel are very different. The first one looks like this: [IMG]http://i1102.photobucket.com/albums/g459/kate891/07084047565.jpg[/IMG] and this is what it looks like inside: [IMG]http://i1102.photobucket.com/albums/g459/kate891/JaneEyresmallcopy.jpg[/IMG]

    The second one is a copy my auntie bought for me at antiques shop. It was a complete surprise to me. She said she thought of me when she saw it. It is a pre World War II copy she told me, it has a blue cover and has good sized print which is easy to read. The copy smells very old but it's comforting smell it is very personal to me because it is from another Jane Eyre fan. She gave me a big hug and said, "Enjoy reading it, Kate." My auntie loves Jane Eyre as much as I do! We talk about our favourite parts of the novel and it is lovely to talk about Jane Eyre to a member of my family.
    For my 21st birthday, my Aunt and Uncle bought me audio dics of Jane Eyre as they know it is my favourite story. [IMG]http://i1102.photobucket.com/albums/g459/kate891/jane-eyre-unabridged-3.jpg[/IMG] this was a surprise to me as well. I've even got an Jane Eyre cup. [IMG]http://i1102.photobucket.com/albums/g459/kate891/JaneEyrePenguinBookscup.jpg[/IMG]

    On Friday 27th August 2010, my parents took me to Haddon Hall which is where the Jane Eyre '96, '06 and '11 were filmed. Haddon Hall is a beautiful place! As I am disabled and in a wheelchair I thought I would not get to see very much of the inside of the Hall but one of the women who works there asked me which Jane Eyre version was my favourite and I told her it was the Toby Stephens/Ruth Wilson one and that I was a massive Jane Eyre fan she said 'The Toby Stephens/Ruth Wilson version is my favourite too.' She then introduced me to her boss, Polly who was there when the 2006 Jane Eyre was being filmed so she told me some wonderful Jane Eyre facts! They also showed me the kitchens, Rochester's study, where Jane plays the piano, the staircase where Jane walks down in her wedding dress, the doorway where Jane & Edward kiss in the rain, the chapel and Bertha's tower. Polly told me all about how the fire was filmed and how it took the crew two hours to get the owl to fly past the hall! She showed us a big picture of the fire scene! I saw Jane's bedroom window too and Polly told me that I had entered the way where Edward rides off followed by Pilot. I loved every minute of it, my Mum did too, my Dad took many photos of the Hall. Mum and I got very excited. I had a lovely day and got to see more than I thought I would thanks to the kindness and generosity of the staff at Haddon Hall.

    Jane Eyre is my 'comfort book' and I sometimes read it with a nice of tea or in bed where I can be all cosy and warm.

    How old were you first read Jane Eyre and what made you fall in love with it?

    Kate xxxx

  10. Sorry the pictures didn't work!

    Kate xxxx

  11. That sounds like so much fun! I wish I could do the same. I hope to spend a semester of college in the UK, so hopefully when I'm there i'll get to see all the places (such as Haddon Hall) where numerous novel adaptions were set.

    I read the unabridged version when I was thirteen. I guess what really drew me to Jane is that she's really only a teenager. In today's world she's only a senior in high school. To see how she copes with abuse and neglect from her family and continues to grow and see worth in herself is amazing. While everyone else tells her that she's insignificant, she insists on dominating and never compromising who she really is. Even when she finds Rochester, she makes it clear to him that she is his equal and to accept her is to accept her flaws as well. She's only a fictional character, but I think girls should seek to model themselves after her.

  12. It was a lovely day at Haddon Hall! I would like to back one day. It has such a magical, warm and cosy feel to it as around the Hall. I hope you get the chance to go one day, you'll love it. I agree with everything you say about Jane's character. She is a fantastic role model for women.

    Did a member of your family recommend Jane Eyre to you?

    Kate xxxx

  13. Thank you. :)

    My mother always encouraged me to read whatever it was I set my sights on. From the minute I learned, I became obsessed with it. When I was still in elementary school, my mom went out and bought me a whole collection of abridged children's literature classics such as Pride & Prejudice, Alice in Wonderland, The Last of the Mohicans, and Jane Eyre. For some reason I just loved Jane Eyre more than all the others and I used to carry my little abridged version around everywhere. Then somewhere out of the blue when I was thirteen I was in the book store and just so happened to come across the original and pick it up.

    My family never really influences my reading selection. I'm the type of reader that just goes into a book store with no idea of what I'll come out with. I just grab and take whatever really catches my eye. Jane Eyre just so happened to catch it.

  14. Love your comment! I was 11 years old when I first read Jane Eyre. We were going away and I get very bored in the car so my mum gave me the paper back copy of Jane Eyre she owned at the time and placed it on my lap. From the first page I loved it! It grabbed my attention. My mum often passes me one of my copies when I'm upset or ill. I often forget my worries when I read it. When I can't sleep I read it, I once read parts of it at 5:00am! It sounds crazy I know! I read it many times a year. Edward Fairfax Rochester my favourite hero in fiction! I love this blog because I can talk about Jane Eyre as much as I like. Thank you.

  15. You are very welcome. Thank you for tuning in.

  16. Bit tired so I will be watching Jane Eyre '06 on DVD tonight. I need a Edward Rochester fix.


  17. I, like you have no reason behind my passion for Jane Eyre (and Charlotte Bronte,) other than that I can identify with her, I have read the book at least twice a year for the last 40 years or so and never tire of it. I feel deeply for Edward and "understand" him, I love that part of Yorkshire, my ancestors lived only a few miles from Haworth and when I finally went to the area 10 years ago I felt a deep belonging that must be genetic, cos I can't explain it in any other way.Sadly I have still to visit Haworth, but my friend, who we stay with is taking me when we visit next time. I'm reading Vilette at the moment and love it as well, though it's not to the same extent as JE. I have JE in audio form, book, video, DVD on my phone and on my kindle and never tire of this amazing and wonderful story

  18. I reread Jane Eyre while I was on my holidays earlier this month and it was a treat to relive my love of the story and fall for Edward Fairfax Rochester once again