Happy Birthday, Charlotte! And, Thanks For Writing Jane Eyre

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When I revisited this post today, with a picture taken in the bleakest days of February when I reread Jane Eyre, I thought the photo a little dark. Yet, it is perfect for much of the novel. So many parts of it are almost hopeless, and yet we read on encouraged by Jane’s courage and strength; the very moral fiber of her being sustains her. And, me.

We know the story, or at least are familiar with most of it. In the very first chapter, Jane is locked into a room, much like how her lover’s mad wife, Berthe, is locked into a room of her own. How can these two women be compared?

One is innocent and young, the other has gone mad. But they both love Rochester, and no story is as compelling, to me, as a love story. Combine that with the search for home, not only in the physical sense, but in a place to really belong, and you have a book which endures time as Jane Eyre does.

I was struck by the similarities between Jane Eyre and Rebecca this time around. Both of them have:

  • a dashing, dissatisfied husband looking for a tranquil wife
  • a mild mannered, soft-spoken, gentle new wife lacking confidence
  • a wild, bold, daring wife who’s no longer loved
  • a manor home with a stately name: Thornfield and Manderly, respectively

And, here are some favorite quotes:

“Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity, or registering wrongs.” (p. 82)

“But what is so headstrong as youth? What so blind as inexperience?” (p. 363)

“Thank you Mr Rochester; for your great kindness. I am strangely glad to get back again to you; and wherever you are is my home-my only home.” (p. 367)

Charlotte’s birthday was 200 years ago today, April 21. How well do you know her? Take a quiz here to find out.

 

 

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10 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Charlotte! And, Thanks For Writing Jane Eyre”

  1. Happy Birthday, Charlotte Bronte! There are so many unforgettable characters and moments in her novels. My favorite scene in Jane Eyre is Rochester’s first proposal.

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  2. Happy Birthday, CB!! I may not have enjoyed JE, but I loved Emma and Villette – two fantastic novels! I have to admit that I’ve never read Rebecca. I’ve been tempted to, but for some reason never gave in to that temptation. Perhaps its time to read it. I’m glad you enjoyed your reread of JE 🙂 And I agree, the darkness of the photo matches the mood in JE.

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  3. Great post on “Jane Eyre”. I like your comparisons to “Rebecca”. I have a fine, leather bound volume of JE from the Oxford Library of the World’s Greatest Books that is next up on my TBR pile. Be well and thanks again for writing one of my favorite blogs.

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  4. It’s a wonderful coincidence that The Wind in the Willows is a book I remember fondly from childhood (still have my copy!) and Jane Eyre is a book so many others remember that way, and that I’ve never read. Planning to remedy that soon,,,I love your comparisons with Rebecca!

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  5. Last year, I told myself I will read Jane Eyre. This year, I tell myself the same. I really ought to pick it up and start reading, especially since everyone near and dear to me tells me I will love it.

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