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.