Monday, June 13, 2011

I Just Finished Jane Eyre

A few weeks ago I saw the movie Jane Eyre and many of you were surprised I had never read it. Franky I find it less surprising that I simply never read it than that I never didn't read it for a class. But that is irrelevant now because I just finished it. It's a great book and I love it. The 2011 movie is nice Jane Eyre in short-form, but (like everyone always says) there's much more to the book.

I am a great lover of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen, etc. But I don't always feel like reading old-fashioned things. If I were in the mood for old-timey language I would (and should) read the scriptures. But when I read Jane Eyre I remembered stuff like that endures. I'd forgotten, which is weird because in graduate school they told us like every day.

Jane Eyre makes some pretty big decisions based on her values. I share her values so I thought she made good choices. I wonder if someone who doesn't share her values thinks this book is dumb or pointless or a book about how oppressive societal and religious conventions are. Jane (spoiler) won't marry or live with her true love, Mr. Rochester because he is already married to a crazy lady. It all kind of turns on that point. But Jane also realizes that if she lives with him as his mistress, he'll get sick of her like he got sick of his other mistresses. One thing Mr. Rochester loves about Jane is her goodness and strong will. If she loses her integrity she won't be the same person. I always think about this kind of thing when a man leaves his wife for another women. The other woman knows the man is not a faithful guy because he left his wife for her. You'd think it would be a turn off. I guess women who have affairs with married men have lower standards than I have.

There are many beautiful scenes that should be quoted at length here. In fact, this should be more academic and precise and I should try harder to articulate what is good about Jane Eyre. Nevertheless, there are certain perks to having a blog instead of a PhD and off-the-cuff bullet lists are one of them.

Best things About the Book Jane Eyre, Bulleted:
  • Ghosts and the possibility that Mr. Rochester has a vampire hidden away on the 3rd story
  • A happy ending--a happy, crippled, burned, consummated ending
  • 2 ugly people find true love--that's rare
  • The figurative string tied on one end to Mr. Rochester's rib and fastened at the other end to Jane's
  • Forgiveness instead of vengeance, although vengeance is awfully tasty too
  • Saying no to St. John. That guy was a weirdo
  • Getting a ton of money in the end for doing nothing. Lucky Jane
  • Jane is smart and plucky. Good for her
  • Partial return of eyesight!
I also really love Jane's description of her marriage in the end. Sometimes when we are poor or very close to being poor I think, "Well, even if we lost our house and everything Christian and I would still have interesting conversations." Jane's relationship with Mr. Rochester seems ideal:

"I have now been married ten years. I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth. I hold myself supremely blest—blest beyond what language can express; because I am my husband’s life as fully as he is mine. No woman was ever nearer to her mate than I am: ever more absolutely bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh. I know no weariness of my Edward’s society: he knows none of mine, any more than we each do of the pulsation of the heart that beats in our separate bosoms; consequently, we are ever together. To be together is for us to be at once as free as in solitude, as gay as in company. We talk, I believe, all day long: to talk to each other is but a more animated and an audible thinking. All my confidence is bestowed on him, all his confidence is devoted to me; we are precisely suited in character—perfect concord is the result."

And now without further ado, a playlist of songs from Mr. Rochester to his dear little Jane. Blogging perk! 


  1. I am happy for you. And for ugly people who find true love. This is the playlist I've been waiting for. Now I can bring you the FIVE film versions that I own and that I made Cody watch after we got married. It's kind of the burned/blind part of me that he has to pretend he likes.

  2. #17 is one of my favorite songs ever. we played it at our wedding. sigh...

    also, in the movie i was so confused by the pronunciation of "st. john." i thought his name was "sinjin" the whole time. if i were well-read i wouldn't have made such a silly mistake.

  3. I love Jane Eyre and have for many, many years - since I first read it in high school.

    It truly has endured - for me anyway.

    Not sure about the playlist - culturally relevant songs are out of my purview.

  4. Anonymous10:30 PM

    I am so pleased you approve of Jane. Isn't she rad? Jerri

  5. Anonymous12:32 AM

    I bet a lot of people would write better college essays if they thought they were writing a blog post. (Or maybe not. It's an interesting question to me.)

    I've often thought I'm pretty safe from ever even being tempted to have an affair because a) I'm only attracted to men who are good husbands to their wives, which means they'd never leave their wives for me or even pay more attention to me than to their wives, and b) I could never respect or admire a man who would make overtures to me, a married woman.

  6. Excellent point about having a blog instead of a PhD. With a playlist, no less!

  7. Nothing like a playlist to conclude an essay on a classic novel. Once I played an Indigo Girls song in a graduate school class to make a point.... it was not as well-received as it might have been on a blog, though. But anyway, I love Jane. I picture her being beautiful despite the description of her as plain because I am truly that shallow.

  8. I wish Topher and I knew that we were choosing when it was time to decide between a PhD and a blog, because you and I both know things would have turned out A LOT DIFFERENT.

    I really like that quote. It's very touching.

  9. Since you just read "Jane Eyre" you should now check out "Wide Sargasso Sea". It tells the story of the mad woman in the attic that he married first and is a really interesting counterweight to Jane.

  10. I love the end of the book with Rochester looking at his baby son and being able to fully forgive himself and live a better life.

  11. I agree with everything you said. Good book, good values, very satisfying.

    Your playlist is fantastic!

  12. I second that emotion (to quote that other great literary figure, Smokey Robinson). This made me tear up a bit. Now I know what to write in Todd's Father's Day card, because I won't remember that for our next anniversary. And if you love Jane Eyre a little Netflix the most recent British version. The actress is indeed plain and small and I love her the best.

  13. You crack me up and I miss you! What is with this post every 10 days thing??? That doesnt work for me! I want more funny... : )
    BTW I quote your "My body runs on diet coke" line all the time. I still laugh when I think of that post.

  14. Jane Eyre is my absolute favorite book. That reminds me that I haven't read it for awhile. Maybe since last summer. Now you need to watch the other Jane Eyre miniseries that they showed on Masterpiece Theater. I own it if you want to borrow it, which will give me an excuse to see you in person again.:)


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