Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre

Orphaned as a child, Jane has felt an outcast her whole young life. Her courage is tested once again when she arrives at Thornfield Hall, where she has been hired by the brooding, proud Edward Rochester to care for his ward Adèle. Jane finds herself drawn to his troubled yet kind spirit. She falls in love. Hard. But there is a terrifying secret inside the gloomy, forbiddin...

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Title:Jane Eyre
Author:Charlotte Brontë
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Edition Language:English

Jane Eyre Reviews

  • Cristin

    I could bang Mr. Rochester like a screen door 'till next Tuesday. That's not all I got from this book, honestly...

  • Vinaya

    5. Four hundred-odd pages of purely descriptive writing

    4. Overt religious themes and moral preaching

    3. A plain-Jane heroine who stays plain. No makeovers to reveal a hitherto hidden prettiness that only needed an application of hydrogen peroxide and some eyebrow plucking to emerge full-blown.

    2. The world is not well-lost for love. In the war between self-respect and grand passion, principles win hands down. Rousing, yet tender s

    5. Four hundred-odd pages of purely descriptive writing

    4. Overt religious themes and moral preaching

    3. A plain-Jane heroine who stays plain. No makeovers to reveal a hitherto hidden prettiness that only needed an application of hydrogen peroxide and some eyebrow plucking to emerge full-blown.

    2. The world is not well-lost for love. In the war between self-respect and grand passion, principles win hands down. Rousing, yet tender speeches do not make our heroine forsake her creed to fall swooning and submissive into her alpha's arms.

    1. NO SEX!!!

    When I was a little girl, I had a doll named Saloni. Now Saloni wasn't a particularly attractive specimen as dolls go, especially since, over the years, I had drilled a hole in her little rosebud mouth in order to 'feed' her, I had 'brushed' her hair till all the poor synthetic threads had fallen out and I had dragged her around with me so much, one of her big blue eyes had fallen off. But in my eyes, Saloni was the best doll ever created. She was my comfort, my mainstay in a world filled with confusing new things like school and daycare and other little people. Jane Eyre is my grown-up version of Saloni. Comfort food for my brain.

    There are two authors I will read over and over and over again, until the day I die. One of them is Charlotte Bronte, the other one is Georgette Heyer. I have read Jane Eyre a million times, but I never tire of the story. Every time I reach the scene where she professes her love to Mr. Rochester, I come out in goosebumps. Every single time. Age and experience have taught me to spot the flaws in the story and the characters. The ineffable belief in English superiority. The condescending attitude towards servants and people of the lower class. The ill-treatment of mentally disabled people. The almost Quaker-ish sentiments of Jane Eyre. But all of this detracts not a whit from one of the greatest love stories ever told.

    And there are a lot of things to admire in this book as well. Edward Rochester, ugly as sin, but powerful and dominant and unbelievably attractive in spite of his looks. A love that grows and strengthens on the basis of mutual sympathy, respect and a meeting of the minds, that a lot of our authors would do well to learn from. Jane Eyre, who does not think that her great love excuses acts of selfishness and immorality. Despite being drawn as a somewhat submissive personality, Jane manages to hold her own with quiet fortitude, never loudly asserting her intelligence or talent, but nonetheless displaying a strength of character that would put the Bellas and Noras of out time to shame.

    Jane Eyre would never, as I have said above, be a bestseller if it had been written in our times. And that is a loss we must take upon ourselves. That we have put such prime value on lust and looks and power that we have forgotten to be

    in our writing. There is a reason why millions of people the world over remember and revere a book written a hundred and fifty-odd years ago while the bestsellers of our times slip quickly and quietly from our memories. Jane Eyre is more than just a beautiful book about a love story that transcends all boundaries; it is a testament to the power of pure emotion, that can be felt through the ages and across all barriers of time and culture.

  • Sean Barrs the Bookdragon

    Jane Eyre is the quintessential Victorian novel. It literally has everything that was typical of the period, but, unlike other novels, it has all the elements in one story. At the centre is the romance between Jane and Rochester, which is enhanced by gothic elements such as the uncanniness of the doppleganger and the spectre like qualities of Bertha. In addition, it is also a governess novel; these were an incredibly popular type of stor

    Jane Eyre is the quintessential Victorian novel. It literally has everything that was typical of the period, but, unlike other novels, it has all the elements in one story. At the centre is the romance between Jane and Rochester, which is enhanced by gothic elements such as the uncanniness of the doppleganger and the spectre like qualities of Bertha. In addition, it is also a governess novel; these were an incredibly popular type of storytelling in the age and for it to be combined with gothic elements, which are interposed with a dualistic relationship between realism and romance, is really quite unique. The correct term for this is a hybrid, in which no genre voice is dominant; they exist alongside each other creating one rather special book.

    And this is so, so, special; it’s an excellent piece of literature. Jane’s journey is gut wrenching and emotional. Through her life she experiences real sorrow, the kind that would make a lesser person give up. She also experiences real friendship, the type that comes across perhaps once in a lifetime. But, most significantly, she experiences true love and the development of independence to form he own ending. I really do love this book. Bronte utilises the first person narrative, which creates a high degree of intimacy with her character; it makes me feel like I know Jane as well as she comes to know her own self.

    Jane’s a strong willed individual. From a very young age she had the clarity of intelligence to recognise the injustice that was her life; yes, she is narrating her story retrospectively, though she still had the perceptiveness to realise how mistreated she was. I love the pathetic fallacy Bronte uses at the beginning. The child Jane looks out the window, shielded by the curtain, and witnesses the horrible weather. It is cold and bleak; it is windy and morose; thus, we can immediately see the internal workings of Jane’s mind. The weather reflects her feelings throughout the novel, and at the very beginning the situation was at its worse. This can also be seen with the fire imagery that represents her rage when she is shoved in the red room; it later mirrors that of Bertha’s fury.

    Everybody needs love, children especially so. These early experiences help to define her later character, and, ultimately influence how she sees the world; she still hides behind a curtain in Rochester’s house when he flirts with Miss Ingrum. These experiences set her on an almost perpetual quest for love, for belonging and for the independence to make her own decisions. She finds friendship in the form of Helen Burns; she gives her some sound advice, but Jane cannot fully accept such religious fatalism. However, it does inspire her, a little, to continue with life; she realises, no matter what happens, she will always have the love of her greatest friend. Jane clings to this idea, but, ultimately, has to seek a more permanent solution to her loneliness. She needs a vocation, one that will fulfil her and give her life meaning; thus, she becomes a governess and crosses paths with the downtrodden, miserable wretch that is Mr Rochester.

    Sometimes I feel like Rochester didn’t know quite what he wanted. When he sees Jane he sees a woman with strength, blunt honesty and integrity: he sees an emotional equal. This attracts her to him, which develops into love. However, when he tries to express his love he does it through trying to claim her as his own. Through doing so, not only does he show the nature of Victorian marriage, he shows his own deep vulnerability. He loves her mind, her intelligence, and he too wants to be loved. He longs for it with a frightening passion. So, instead of doing things the way Jane would have wanted him to do, he overwhelms her with expensive affection. By doing so he almost loses her. All Jane wanted was his heart, nothing more nothing less.

    By showering her with such flattery and expensive items, he insults her independence. He risks destroying the thing that attracted him to her in the first place, their equality; their mutual respect and love. He takes away her dignity. I really don’t think the original marriage would have worked. Ignore the existence of the mad woman in the attic; I just think Rochester would have spoilt it. It would have become too awkward. They needed to be on the same societal level as well as one of intellect and character. The ending is touching and a little sad, but it is the only one that could ever have worked for these two characters. Without the tragedy there could never have be rejuvenation and the chance for them to be together on equal terms, no matter what it cost to get there.

    If that wasn’t enough reason for me to love this book, there are also elements of fantasy and desire. This is a realism novel, it pertains to credible events, but the suggestions of fantasy only add to the strong romantic notions. Rochester is enamoured by Jane; he cannot believe that a woman like her actually exists. All his misguided notions are brushed away in an instant. Whilst he views Jane as special, it is clear that he realises that other women may also have a similar rebellious voice, only hidden. He considers her an elf, a witch, an improbable woman that has captured his desire, his heart, his soul, his life. He knows he will never be the same again. From Jane’s point of view, her first encounter with him is otherworldly. She had grown bored with her governess role, and when she sees the approach of Rochester and his dog Pilot, she sees the gytrash myth; she wants to see something fantastical instead she finds her heart, which is something much rarer.

    Then there are also the feminist elements. Jane transgresses the boundary associated with her gender in the Victorian age. For a woman to be recognised as having equal intellect to that of a man was sadly a rare thing. Women could actually attend university, but the downside was they could never get the full degree. They could spend months studying, though never be recognised as actually having gained the qualification. It was just another attempt to keep women under the thumb, so for Bronte to portray the truth of Jane’s equal intellect is a great step for the recognition of women, and women writers. This book received a whole host of negative reviews at the time of its publication for this element alone. Stupid really, but that’s misogyny for you.

    Reader, I love this book. I really could go on, but this is getting kind of long. I hope I’ve made it clear why I love this story so much. I shall be reading this again later this year to correspond with my exams, which I’m already looking forward to- the reading that is, not the exams. I don’t think will ever have read this story enough though.

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  • Miranda Reads

    After she was orphaned, Jane Eyre was sent to live with her maternal uncle and his wife (Mrs. Reed). When her uncle dies, he forces his wife to swear to

    for Jane as if she was their own child.

    Unsurprisingly, Mrs. Reed is

    with this arrangement and does

    After she was orphaned, Jane Eyre was sent to live with her maternal uncle and his wife (Mrs. Reed). When her uncle dies, he forces his wife to swear to

    for Jane as if she was their own child.

    Unsurprisingly, Mrs. Reed is

    with this arrangement and does the absolute bare minimum towards Jane. She spoils her three biological children but sees Jane as a

    (despite ample evidence against).

    Jane is sent off to boarding school where

    than before (threadbare clothes, small rations) but

    for she has finally found what she's been missing.

    At the end of her time there,

    She takes a job for a Mr. Rochester and tutors his young ward, Adel.

    Only, when she arrives at the house, she starts to notice certain

    . The

    something is up and won't tell her. Mr. Rochester is hiding a huge mystery and despite the danger, and the difference in social standing,

    This is my third time through, and each time I am blown away by

    With every twist life hurled at her, Jane merely straightened her shoulders, adjusted her pack and trudged on.

    Each time I read this novel, I notice something different. This time, it was how much Charlotte Bronte slipped her own beliefs into the novel:

    Read by Nadia May. I may be the only one with this - but whenever I read a really old novel, I find it much easier to listen to (opposed to reading a copy). I spend less time puzzling out the language and unfamiliar terms and more time enjoying the story. I highly recommend listening to this book if you've tried reading it and just couldn't get into it.

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  • Nataliya

    Yes, I suppose you can view this book mostly as a love story. That's what I did at age 13 - but that's why I was left disappointed back then.

    Or you can view this as an story of formation of a

    , a nineteenth-century feminist, light-years ahead of its time. And that's what left my now-closer-to-thirty-than-twenty self very satisfied and, quite frankly, rather impressed.²

    Yes, I suppose you can view this book mostly as a love story. That's what I did at age 13 - but that's why I was left disappointed back then¹.

    Or you can view this as an story of formation of a

    , a nineteenth-century feminist, light-years ahead of its time. And that's what left my now-closer-to-thirty-than-twenty self very satisfied and, quite frankly, rather impressed.²

    When I read it for the first time as a young and opinionated teen, I thought Jane Eyre was a boring and meek protagonist, too clingy to her 'outdated' morals, too afraid to do what I thought was a brave thing to do - say 'yes' to the apparent happiness that poor tragic Mr. Rochester was offering.

    Sometimes life experience does matter indeed.

    Jane Eyre has a good idea of her self-worth. And she has a good idea about her own morals.

    Here is the prime example:

    The emphasis in this well-intentioned advice by Mrs. Fairfax is on the word MARRY. Ah, silly old lady, one may think, cautioning the young woman in such a prudish way. Ah, silly young woman, taking the advice of the old lady and acting prudishly. Ah, silly young woman, eventually rejecting the sincere love and offer of happiness for a seemingly prudish reason - not wanting to be a mistress. So old-fashioned and weak and caged-up, screamed my thirteen-year-old self.

    But here's the thing. It's not just for the moral lesson for the readers that Bronte has Jane firmly say 'no'. It's not for the sake of mere societal appearance. It's for the sake of Jane, and Jane alone. MARRYING governesses was uncommon. Having them as mistresses - probably not as rare. In her society, protecting her virtue and reputation was not only the matter of religious views or stigma - it was the question of her future, as she had nobody to stand up for her if her reputation was ruined.

    - the quality that she maintains through thick and thin, refusing to fall head over heels for love, refusing to let love justify all the mistakes and wrong choices, refusing to let love blind her to everything else that was important for her sense of self-worth.

    Jane refuses to take the steps that would destroy her integrity in her own eyes, and for that she has my strongest and most sincere respect and admiration. What Rochester did is unthinkable to her - not because of how others view it but because of her morals and convictions - and she shows unbelievable courage in sticking up for what she believes in, even if it is to her own material and soul-wrecking detriment.

    And I love her for this unwavering determination to stay true to herself!

    Despite self-proclaimed meekness, Jane Eyre is far from weak or scared. She has been forced to make her own way in life without the luxury of relying on a rich male relative - father, brother, husband. And she did this in the world where being attached to a man was the best choice for a woman

    .

    - setting out to have her own career in a male-dominated world, refusing to let a man rule her life (that applies to both Rochester and St. John here), and making statements that may have not had the most sympathetic audience back in her day:

    And here's what else I enjoyed about this book -

    the same tropes that we still heavily rely on in literature. Bronte gets rid of the 'faultless' heroine - instead of being perfect (or having an imaginary flaw, like many literary heroines are prone to nowadays) Jane has a real one (for her time, at least) - her occasional temper. And she is not beautiful - not fake flaws, either but a consensus by many impartial observers that she is not a beauty. And to take it a step further - Mr. Rochester, our romantic lead, is quite frankly, rather ugly. This is not a beautiful couple (and Hollywood managed to "fix" that in all the movie adaptations, by the way - a slap in Bronte's face, I guess?). Jane is not in love with a pretty façade of Rochester - since he has none

    And finally, the atmosphere of this story.

    So colorful, so vivid, so immersing - every room, every moor, every tree. Every description of landscape or interior actually serves a purpose to establish the mood of the scene, and it is very well-done.

    .................................

    All that said, I'm giving a condescending pat on the shoulder to my teenage self from the 'wisdom' of another fifteen years. Sorry, teen Nataliya, you little annoying know-it-all - you just needed to grow up to appreciate this story.

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