Sunday, April 11, 2010

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

A fabulous, fantastic, engaging read! This book is so beautifully written with such rich imagery and dialogue that I got lost for hours at a time within the flow of its pages. I have no idea why it took me forty-odd years to pick it up. It's a lovely story.

Early on in the story Jane has it out with her evil aunt:

"Ere I had finished this reply, my soul began to expand, to exult, with the strangest sense of freedom, of triumph, I had ever felt. It seemed an invisible bond had burst, and that I had struggled out into unhoped-for liberty." pg.44

And then she is sent to boarding school where life was lonely and harsh:

"As yet I had spoken to no one, nor did anyone seem to take notice of me; I stood lonely enough, but to that feeling of isolation I was accustomed; it did not oppress me much. I leant against a pillar of the verandah, drew my gray mantle close about me, and, trying to forget the cold which nipped me without, and the unsatisfied hunger which gnawed me within, delivered myself up to the employment of watching and thinking." pg. 58

And then, she befriends a kindly teacher:

"And a tray was soon brought. How pretty, to my eyes, did the china cups and bright teapot look, placed on the little round table near the fire! How fragrant was the steam of the beverage, and the scent of the toast! of which, however, I, to my dismay (for I was beginning to be hungry), discern only a very small portion: Miss Temple discerned it too.
'Barbara', said she, 'can you not bring a little more bread and butter? There is not enough for three'" pg85

And so on goes the story through gainful employment as a governess, falling in love, running away, finding long lost kin, inheriting a fortune, and then returning again to marry her first love.

The only thing I had a teensy issue with (and this is probably just me and my lack of real-life conversational fortitude) was the seemingly never ending conversations Jane has with a.) Mr. Rochester when she decides to leave him, and b.) Mr. Rivers when she fends off his weird marriage proposal. Really, the point of these discussions was well understood after a page or two but they both went on for well nigh thirty pages!

But, no matter, t'was but a trifling thing.

"A splendid Midsummer shone over England: skies so pure, suns so radiant as were seen in long succession, seldom favour, even singly, our wave-girt land. It was as if a band of Italian days had come from the South, like a flock of glorious passenger birds, and lighted to rest them on the cliffs of Albion. The hay was all got in; the fields round Thornfield were green and shorn; the roads white and baked; the trees were in their dark prime; hedge and wood, full-leaved and deeply tinted, contrasted well with the sunny hue of the cleared meadows between." pg 286

Ahhh lovely.


Beth said...

“But, no matter, t'was but a trifling thing.” ;) Good one!

Perhaps it’s time for me to do a re-read? The way my memory is these days, I’d probably enjoy ALL those previously read books. And save money…

trish said...

Early 1800s English has a lovely lilt doesn't it? I drove my family nuts speaking to them thusly.

As for re-reading, I know a number of people who have read it more than once and they say they enjoyed it each time. There was always some new angle and detail that they missed the first time around.

Memory be damned, I say! Read it and enjoy it for the first time all over again.

Anonymous said...

Hiya Trish!

Just reading your back posts, I really enjoyed this book as well, have read it several times, it is right up there with "Rebecca" and my Mom and I have sat and WEPT profusely while watching the movie...I would read it again in a heart beat. So noble, and so lovely...something about a mad wife locked up in the attic....gah!


Trish said...

I haven't seen the movie yet but thanks for the warning - I'll keep a box of tissues handy!