I was sifting through some of my old posts and came upon my forgotten "Richard Armitage is my Rochester" post in which I shared my ideal cast of Jane Eyre. While Richard Armitage has always been (and always will be) without a doubt my exact image of Rochester, I remember running into particular troubles finding the woman--or perhaps I should say teenager--to play the beloved heroine.
In actuality, I must say that I embarked on the "search for Jane Eyre" three years ago after I put down the book for the first time. Since then, my mental image of the character has taken a permanent residence in my head, always lurking in the corners of my mind. Whenever I watch a movie, I keep my eyes open for the girl that might prove worthy of playing my favorite literary heroine. When walking the streets, I'm always an apt observer of the people around me, and more than once I might find myself examining someone and thinking "she has the physical makings of a Jane." Yes, I understand that this can be found creepy on many levels, but I'd rather look at it as the exercising of an active imagination.
Every avid reader has (or should have) a mental image of the main character(s) of the novel that either springs instantly or seeps slowly into their head. More often than not, that image remains tucked cozily in the corners of a reader's mind. If the reader just so happens to revisit the book that image reemerges, most of the time unchanged. As lovely as this experience may be (yes, I do call the work of the imagination lovely), the unfortunate problem with these mental prototypes are that they are rarely fully embodied on screen or--for that matter--at all.
|Rachel Hurd-Wood: the actress whose come closest|
to what I imagine as physical look of Jane.
|Abigail Breslin: I think she'll make a|
presentable Jane when she gets older.
My image of Jane Eyre is rather detailed, and this is the first time I've ever endeavored to type it out. As my fingers move across this keyboard, I can almost see her before me. I envision an eighteen-year-old girl; one who possesses a wiry and rather undeveloped physical build but whose countenance has an innate sense of maturity. She has the customary "Jane Eyre" box-brown hair, pulled into a neat and severe knot. Atop a circular and yet slightly angular face are large observant green eyes, naturally piercing and captivating. Their fixed gaze is both comforting and poignant in its intensity. Her face is pale, tiny freckles lightly and sporadically dotting her cheeks, though they may not be evident at first glance. Her lips, I imagine as thin with corners slightly upturned, painted with a perpetually forlorn smile. She is short, skinny, projecting a person that appears perhaps younger than her age because of her lack of curvature. The innocence and purity of her outward appearance is at direct variance with the knowing and jaded look in her eyes. From his place near the fire, Rochester observes her and notices the kinetic attraction of the opposition between the solemn calmness of her exterior and the sprightly vigor of her mind. Her words are sharp and at times incisive with their subtle sarcasm. Beneath the simplicity of her opinions lie a decidedly deeper cryptic message.
Her Rochester counterpart is the opposite of her in almost every way. Where Jane's features are soft and rather inviting, his are masculinely angular and (yes) morose. He towers above her, probably just eclipsing six feet while her petite form dwells in the area of 5'5. He has (as described in the novel) an athletic figure; solid and naturally strong to the point of intimidating. His dusky dark curls are windswept from frequent travel by horse, shadowing an already tanned (perhaps approaching olive-hued) face. He has thick eyebrows, knit together in a menacing embrace atop which the glowering haze of his troubling memories sit. Underneath those are penetrating and sullen eyes, so dark that one can barely tell where the iris ends and the pupil begins until holding them under close inspection. His nose is straight and decidedly strong-featured. Beneath those are the "grim" thin lips, set in a brooding line to complete his foreboding exterior. He is decidedly ugly in the eyes of society in the mid-1800s, but to Jane there is some kind of strange appeal to him. His foreboding physical appearance and his sardonic nature make him a dangerous sort of enigma; something about him is ominously attractive.
|Richard Armitage (picture from Robin|
Hood): my PERFECT image of Rochester.
Now that I've imparted to you my image of the legendary Jane Eyre (and her leading man), I'm giving myself a challenge. Most of you fellow Lit Lovers are deeply acquainted with the novel, reading every piece of Jane Eyre-related material I've ever written. Instead of keeping this mental "search for Jane Eyre" concealed, why not make good use of my quest and share it with my fellow bloggers? And better yet, why not allow these bloggers to embark on this journey with me? I love the feeling of coming to my blog and seeing paragraphs of comments lined up on my posts. I read each and every one of them and make it a point to reply. By sharing my search with you, I am both providing myself with a sort of catharsis and receiving the joy of interacting with you guys.
For the next few weeks, my "blogging doors" will be open to anyone who wishes to share their mental image of Jane Eyre (and/or Rochester). I urge all of you to write a description of your Jane whether it be as a comment to this post, or by submitting a guest post. My email address is available on my profile for those who wish to send me their description, whether it be only a sentence or paragraphs long. Along with that description, I would appreciate it if you also included your name and the name of your blog (if you have one). I guarantee that each submission will be posted.
So how about it, Jane Eyre diehards? Are you with me?
So how about it, Jane Eyre diehards? Are you with me?