My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Jane Eyre is categorically divided into three parts (at least my copy was). One was the self-titled character’s life under the roof of her Aunt Reed. Another phase in her life happened at Lowood School as both student and teacher. The third and last part in this amazing read saw our Jane Eyre installed as Governess and later School Mistress.
Jane Eyre is a somber tale for the most part, traversing the trials and tribulations of a poor destitute orphan girl tormented so by her cousins and aunt. We are taken through her rise from an enfant terrible of great infamy to a respectable learned young lady.
Her turbulent love for a worldly man twenty years her senior casts her hitherto carefully structured life into upheaval, births passions in her breast that she never knew to possess.
From a slanted perspective, the second part in Jane Eyre reads like a retelling of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast only that Jane is no Beauty much as her love interest, the venerable Mr. Fairfax Rochester is a true representation of the Beast in physical appearance, vitality and wild animal passions. One is reminded of how the Beast falls in love with Beauty, how she isn’t repulsed by his looks or intimidated by his gruff manner as one would expect; how the Beast wastes away when Beauty desires to return to her family. It would come as no surprise therefore if Charlotte Bronte drew inspiration from a fairytale for her classic novel that possesses power enough to wring tears from rocks
“If others don’t love me, I would rather die than live –I cannot bear to be solitary and hated, Helen. Look here; to gain some real affection from you or Miss Temple, or any other whom I truly love, I would willingly submit to have the bone of my arm broken or to let a bull toss me or to stand behind a kicking horse, and let it dash it’s hoof at my chest—“the pubescent Jane Eyre talking to her first friend in the world.
Having read Jane Eyre in my teens, it is only in retrospect that I realize how this novel impacted my outlook on life from that age till now. I suddenly saw religion (at that time regularly forced down my throat like literal daily bread), love (or the lack of), friendship and loneliness as a thing shared with this phenomenal fictitious character brought to life the more I read about her. My English and Literature compositions took on words such as; by the by, whence, hitherto, perchance… to the bewilderment of my teachers. My writing style took on a certain aura reminiscent of the classic novels I read (which style I eventually shed)
How time flies. More than a decade later and Jane Eyre is still as potent as the first time I sat down to read it. Maximum ratings for the brilliant work of genius that is still thrilling literature fans across the world even in its 168th year.