12 March 2010

Reader, I married him

"I knew that Jane Eyre would work its magic upon you someday."
~An Education~

If there were one book that both merits favorite status and guides my life path, it would be Jane Eyre. I have read the book multiple times and even wrote my thesis on it...but every time I read it, I'm struck even more to the core how much of a pioneer Charlotte Bronte truly was. It's the creation of Jane, not the spinning of the dark gothic romance between Jane and Mr. Rochester, that is the true feat here. I love the imagery of Jane's passion and desire for liberty as a bird beating against the caged walls of her chest.
I like to think that we've all felt out of place at times-- iconoclastic, yes, but also irreparably alone. I read about Jane sitting obscured by curtains in the Red Room, seeking comfort in a cherished book, and I can identify with the feeling of an interloper, an uncongenial alien finding a moment of refuge (only to have it be interrupted, too soon, by the jarring blow of reality). I too have felt the sensations of passion radiating out of my pores, threatening to inundate me and my surroundings. Like Jane, the restlessness was in my nature; like Jane, I assert my dissatisfaction with tranquility, believe that women do indeed feel just as men feel.
I've had my moments of restless pacing along banisters and rooftops, gazing out at the panorama before me and longing to be a part of it. Jane, in 1847 no less, opened up that cage for us. She allowed us not just to long for liberty but to make it our own. She allowed us to put our powers in play and in force. And she also provided transportation, on the wings of imagination, to English woods on rainy afternoons, comforted by a cup of tea and a warm shawl.
"I desired liberty; for liberty I gasped; for liberty I uttered a prayer; it seemed scattered on the wind then faintly blowing."


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tess said...

I love Jane Eyre. It is one of the few classic novels that really affected me. Jane Eyre is such a strong heroine, yet not perfect obviously. I love how she grows throughout the book and doesn't necessarily take the easiest way possible. plus her banter with Rochester is brilliant, one of the better couplings in literate. of course, these are all just silly ramblings from a girl who read this novel years ago, not someone who wrote her thesis on it haha