It is almost an obsession how much I love this book. As you can see, I even bought gloves from Storiart (https://storiarts.com/products/jane-eyre-writing-gloves) with the text of Jane Eyre on them because I love it so much.
Every year or two I will read this amazing novel, and with each new read I find something else to love about it. This year, I treated myself to a beautiful hard-copy edition of this glorious book to read from – and it was worth every cent! The pages were weighted so nicely, the font was just to my liking, it made my Jane experience that much more fulfilling than any other year.
Why do I love this story so much? My partner asked me this as he viewed my new copy (I have about four other copies, as I said – it’s an obsession). Where to even begin!
Jane Eyre is a character who I feel connected with to my very soul, I feel like her character was written precisely to speak to me as a kindred spirit. Her fierce independence and want to be herself. Her adamant stance that she would rather be happy with herself and lonely, than to be someone else, is a trait that I live by.
“I can live alone, if self-respect, and circumstances require me so to do. I need not sell my soul to buy bliss. I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all extraneous delights should be withheld, or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give.” – Jane Eyre
Many women reading this from the time it was written, would have read those words and felt them. How amazing it is to be whole in ourselves and not give parts of ourselves away just for acceptance.
“I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.” – Jane Eyre
I love this quote, because we must be able to love ourselves most. We cannot be happy with others if we are unable to be content with who we are. It is a trait that I wish to uphold, and Jane always inspires me to keep to my course in this.
Mr Rochester steals my heart with his love of Jane, his clumsy ideas at how to make her love him are delightful – and his despair at his life’s choices are heartbreaking. Obviously, being a modern day reader, I need to cast my mind back to the idea that once married you are in it forever. That notion is hard for me to accept, but it creates such a conflict for the characters that it is a wonderful plot device.
There is little credit for Mr Rochester in him taking Adele as a ward and having her educated, but to me it is a lovely added trait to his caring nature that he wants to explore further with Jane.
I really dislike St John Rivers, I find him too harsh and stern. However, the description of his controlling nature over Jane is fascinating to read. Charlotte Bronte captures the essence of a relationship in which a woman feels she cannot say no to anything asked of her, for fear of the disappointment or anger at her doing so. There are only a few paragraphs, but they are very poignant, and if Jane weren’t so strong in herself, then her outcome would have been very different.
“As for me, I daily wished more to please him; but to do so, I felt daily more and more that I must disown half my nature, stifle half my faculties, wrest my tastes from their original bent, force myself to the adoption of pursuits for which I had no natural vocation. He wanted to train me to an elevation I could never reach; it racked me hourly to aspire to the standard he uplifted. The thing was as impossible as to mould my irregular features to his correct and classic pattern, to give to my changeable green eyes the sea-blue tint and solemn lustre of his own.” – Jane Eyre
In this way, the reader can see that Jane has had other options for love and prospects – which makes her choice of Mr Rochester all the more pleasing. It’s pleasing because she chooses him for his matching of mind to hers, and that she does so from the position of an experienced place. She has experienced love where it is not enough to be herself, compared to the love she knows from Mr Rochester where he wants her to be nothing more that who she is.
I admire Jane, and I adore Charlotte Bronte for bringing this amazing character to life for me.