Friday, February 24, 2017

Jill's Library: Jane Eyre

It's finally Friday, loves!  And it's oddly warm today . . . not February weather at all.  It's difficult because, as much as I love birdsong and breezes and sunshine (cliched, I know, but true), I struggle with the reality that global warming is having such a big impact on climate conditions.  (I'm not just saying this because it's warm, either--global warming doesn't necessarily mean it gets warmer everywhere!)
But the fate of the planet momentarily aside, let's talk a little bit about books. Today's spotlight is on Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre.  It's one of the most famous novels out there, and I actually first picked it up about four or so years ago, when it became a way to escape the stresses of travelling one particularly muggy summer.  I of course intended to finish Jane Eyre right away, but somehow I left the last fifty or so pages unread, and when I discovered this a few weeks ago, I realized I needed to do something about it.  So now, after four whole years, I've finally finished it . . . and I'm sad because I miss it!

Picture from Bustle

For anyone who is unfamiliar with Jane Eyre, it's the story of a young orphaned governess trying to find her way in the dark moors and cold manors of 19th-century England.  Oh, and it's a bit of definitely a love story, too, famous for quotes like "I had not intended to love him."  (But you did, Jane!)  That said, it's also a bit scary.  Not horror scary, but spooky scary, much like Wuthering Heights.  Ghosts, crazy shut-ins, murder attempts . . . these aren't the first things that come to mind when you think "Jane Eyre," but the Bronte sisters don't shy away from eeriness.
Of course, when Jane Eyre is brought up in conversation (however often that may be), there are usually mixed reactions to it, with some disliking it as another sad Victorian romance and others having found solace in Miss Eyre as a friend.  I fall into the latter category.  Jane, reserved and plain as she may be, is a literary "bestie."   She is thoughtful, honest, and incredibly humble, and her ability to stick to her values and beliefs despite not being a "fighter" by nature is inspiring.  Because Jane Eyre is so character-driven, and because it's told from Jane's perspective, I think that her personality and beliefs (justice, equality, etc.) play a major role in my argument for why you should read Jane Eyre if you ever find yourself in the Victorian literature section of the library.  Adding to that, the very way in which Jane Eyre is written is in and of itself compelling, particularly when you think about how much of Charlotte Bronte's own experiences may have inspired it.  The tuberculosis outbreak at Jane's boarding school, for instance, hearkens to the illnesses plaguing the Bronte girls .... all of who died tragically young.

<3 Frances

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