Jane Eyre seems like an ordinary Victorian woman. But the fact is far from that. She hops along the border of extraordinary – in her resistance of authority, in her defiance of scheming relatives, in her unexpected submission to dominance and in her admirable strength when she wanders homeless burdened by a broken heart, fatigued body and overwhelming sense of loneliness.
The story of Jane Eyre is vast and picks up from the very beginning, her childhood. We are made accustom to the brutal way her evil aunt and cousins treat her; without any affection. She was sent off to Lowood charity school, a boarding school, where she was able to learn to her hearts content and found some friends in the folk there. Her quest for knowledge comes to a pause when she realizes that she would rather work as a governess and pass on her learnings than continue to learn with no purpose of that learning. And that’s how she makes the acquaintance of Mr. Edward Rochester, Adele’s guardian. Teaching Adele day and night, gives Jane the sense of independence and purpose that she sought when she was younger. But never did she expect that her master would truly wedge his way into her heart to such an extent that separation would be as shattering and irremediable as it turns out. An unsuspicious Jane discovers the reason behind late night calamities and disturbances at Thornfield. The secret chases her so far away that she finds herself at an unknown doorstep, almost dead and begging for a morsel.
I wasn’t intimidated in the least by the book but the size of the font kept me from racing through it. The simplicity and strength of character with which Jane Eyre has materialised left me awestruck. I didn’t agree with her decision to flee as even though Mr. Rochester is to be blamed for not being truthful, his mistake was not unforgivable. Running away from facing an obstacle didn’t suit her at all. This book reflects how one’s lifestyle shouldn’t be daunted by social status and wealth. Maybe if she had thought this through, the ending would have been different, better. But then again I feel that her time away was necessary to help her realize what she left behind. At times I was certainly disappointed with the meek way she subjects herself to St. John’s tyranny. Those times I only wanted to yell at her and ask her to grow a backbone. It’s evident that she is not a weak character and so her submission seemed fake and totally unnecessary. I don’t read a lot of classics but I really liked the way Charlotte Bronte writes. A lot of the imagery she used flew above my head despite how much I tried to grasp it. Nevertheless, it’s a book I will read again. If you haven’t already, you should too. I wouldn’t say its a light read, but was definitely worth my while.
Ratings – 4 stars on 5.