Book Review: Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre
Author: Charlotte Bronte
Genre: Gothic Romance, Fiction
Source: Personal Collection

Jane Eyre is one of my favorite novels, and it is a story I find myself revisiting annually. Each read through I discover new elements- I follow in love with new passages, understand Jane in new ways. Bronte’s novel has grown with me. When I read the novel for the first time I was ten, I fell in love with the romance of the language and the time period. Later I re-read the novel for a class assignment- I discovered much as we analyzed poignant passages. Now reading the novel again for pleasure, I find myself understanding Mr. Rochester, he is so much more than the arrogant lover I remember. Bronte has developed a true gothic romance, complete with beautiful settings, religious undertones, passionate romance and a mysterious attic secret.

Jane is an orphan, the only family she knows doesn’t want her and she is sent to live at Lowood school. The school, while providing her with a good education, is a cold and cruel place. After living most of her young life at Lowood, Jane decides it is time for her to see more of the world. She takes a position as a governess at Thornfield Hall, and for the first time in her life Jane feels truly happy and comfortable.

Nothing in Jane’s life up until this point has been easy and when she finds herself drawn to Mr. Rochester she is immediately wary. Jane is a woman of high morals- she always does what she believes is morally right, even if it means unhappiness for herself.

I had not intended to love him; the reader knows I had wrought hard to extirpate from my soul the germs of love there detected; and now, at the first renewed view of him, they spontaneously revived, great and strong! He made me love him without looking at me. (Chapter 17)

Despite Jane’s misgivings she has fallen deeply in love. It isn’t until the day they are to be wed that Jane discovers Rochester’s dark past.  Jane unbending in her beliefs is forced to make a heart-wrenching decision.

Charlotte Bronte wrote in the poetic yet sometimes cumbersome prose of her time.  If you are up for the challenge of the language you will find that Bronte’s descriptions bring Jane’s world to life.  Bronte isn’t one to only focus on the beauty in life, she tackles difficult issues –- the question of passion versus morals, and that of woman’s independence and strength in a world dominated by men.

I love this story because of Jane’s passionate and independent spirit. Bronte wrote this novel in a time when female authors were rarely published. She creates a smart, courageous and passionate character who does not rely on her looks to make her way through the harsh world. From what little I have read about Bronte and her sisters, I believe that in part, Jane is modeled after herself.  This is a deserving classic, and in my opinion a must read!

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One Response to “Book Review: Jane Eyre”

  1. anumati66 Says:

    Hi
    in my online adventures i came across to your review on Jane Eyre,it is written very nice ,i liked it ;since i write review as well,it would be nice to see you on my blog.
    Of course our styles are different,it is not obstacle of being closer in our common sympathy of writing reviews and loving books.
    here is link
    http://slavicavista.wordpress.com/2009/10/28/jane-eyre-as-i-love-her/

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