Although I had intended to write a blog post in September about my decision to continue with further education (a rather significant detour from Management with Marketing (my undergraduate degree) to English (my current postgraduate subject)), it never materialised. As a result I’ve made infrequent references to my MA over the last couple of months, but never truly addressed it. Consider this aside as fixing that fault: I am currently studying for my Masters degree in English through the Open University. My reasons are many: I’m not ready to leave education, I love learning, I don’t yet want a “proper” job with grown up responsibilities, and I’ve always had a passion for English, reading, books and everything in between (this blog attests to that).
My 3rd book of the year and the 2016 Reading Challenge, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is fittingly also my 3rd book for my MA. Together with Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (which I have yet to read – but look out for my review in the next week or so) it will form the basis of my second essay for my postgraduate degree. I’m ashamed to say that until now I’ve never read, or even attempted to read, a novel by any Brontë/Bell. I’m glad I’ve now rectified that travesty.
Title: Jane Eyre
Author: Charlotte Brontë
Favourite character: Jane Eyre
Category: #17 A book at least 100 years older than you
“I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.”
Jane Eyre is a partially autobiographical account of author Charlotte Brontë. It follows unlikely heroine Jane through a period of ten years, documenting her life as a child, growing up an orphan whilst living with her aunt and cousins, being sent away to boarding school, and becoming an adult with her own beliefs and passions. Ultimately, it is a tale of love and loss, tragedy and bravery.
The characterisation of Jane, Mr. Rochester, St John and numerous supporting characters is fantastic. Despite this, I didn’t particularly care for the romance that developed. An everyday story though it is, every emotion felt by Jane is reflected through numerous metaphors (often relating to the weather and nature) which adds a certain effect to the dramatic element of the novel.
There are parallels to the Bible running throughout the novel which really aid in highlighting the time period in which it was written. Whilst much of the story was slow and descriptive (it does state autobiography in the title after all), there were plot twists that were truly shocking (as well as some that were blindingly obvious) that would be fitting for a modern horror or crime novel, and that is no bad thing.
Jane (and by definition Brontë and her sisters) is a true feminist of the 1800s: she is a free spirit, a strong, independent female protagonist. I’m glad she found her happily ever after.
I believe I would have loved this book more had I not been under a time pressure to read it (the same feeling goes for almost every book I’ve had to read for school throughout my entire education). I loved the characters, especially the supporting characters of Bessie, Helen and Miss Temple (Brontë clearly knew how to write strong, independent women of sound mind and judgement), and how the plot shifted from a dark, depressing and often unnerving read, to one filled with lighthearted scenes with a hint of humour. I’m interested to see what parallels can be drawn between Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea!
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