on March 22, 2004
I don't especially know why I picked "Jane Eyre" off my shelves recently. It had been sitting there since I read it when I was younger and whilst perusing said shelves for something to amuse myself with, I came across it. I thank the Lord that I did because it's been the best read I've had since "Girl With a Pearl Earring". The plot: compelling and captivating. The narrative: descriptive, philosophical, flawless. The charaters: both believable and lovable. I was so engrossed I found myself getting angry when plans went awry and on the verge of tears when they went right. I recommend that you DO NOT read this while you are young, as a previous reviwer suggested... I did so the first time around and in no way shape or form was able to appreciate its subtleties and sheer elegance to a thousandth of the degree I do now. It IS romance; but even if that's "not your bag", you'll enjoy the pure power of Ms. Bronte's work. READ THIS BOOK: you won't regret it. Definately in my top 5 of all time.
on March 2, 2004
Some say that I'm bias in this, but I have to say that I am not one to read romance novel. I'm just not. But I gave this book a shot.
A basic plot summary will give you a plain, unattractive young girl living under an oppressive aunt who sends her to a strict Christian school for the orphans. After years of suffrage at the school, Jane becomes a governess for the brooding Mr. Rochester, which she soon finds she has feelings for. But what about that Grace Poole, what is she hiding in the upstairs attack?
What seems like a mystery is over run by a prevailing romance between Jane and Mr. Rochester.
I won't divulge anymore of the plot. But I will tell you why I initially liked it.
Jane Eyre is the best example of the heroine I am most like. She is plain and simple and so am I. I connected well with the character. Quite often, I feel the heroes are too fake.
At its best, this is a story about two conflicting societies, the aristocracy and the middle class. Which is done in a rather blunt and humorous way.
But what I find enjoyable is the fact that if you take certain dialogs from the book completely out of context, it is quite funny. My friends and I have many a good joke because of it.
What I don't like isn't much, but it is where many books fail. The ending collapses the entire book. It felt pushed and corny. I thought it was the most predictable ending.
The entire story felt a bit contrive. But not as bad as Wuthering Heights by her sister, which I didn't even finish.
The book is pretty easy read. But read it while you are young like me (I'm in my mid-teens), or else, if you become an avid book reader, you will find nothing but faults.
on February 24, 2004
Do you really need a review of Jane Eyre from me? You do not. There are five hundred and fifty eight reviews of Jane Eyre here ahead of me, and in fact, didn't I already write one and forgot about it? I may have. I don't have the desire to sort through all the Jane Eyre reviews and see. But, the point is, the book has been thoroughly worked over by critics, scholars, Victorian-era enthusiasts, college-girl nymphomaniac readers, feminists, Bronte fanatics, and possibly even extraterrestrials who slipped some info-disc we shot into space 20 years ago into a Martian disc-player and sampled the complete text. I'm not sure, mind you, whether Isaac Asimov, or Oprah Winfrey, ever got around to jabbering about Jane Eyre, though they both seemed (Asimov), or seem (Winfrey), to know everything--but Asimov apparently did write about everything in his lifetime, and Oprah surely has an opinion...
Me? I loved the language...some of the most captivating, superb passages ever ensconced in a dusty old fiction they say we should read. The plot? Oh, I liked Daniel Deronda better...but then Daniel does more for me than this Rochester fellow, who's fairly transparent and yakkety, compared to DD. On the other hand, Jane herself has it all over what's-her-name from the George Eliot novel--she's morally grounded, fierce in love, a survivor, and not a shilly-shally-er when it comes to decisions--and has a name that doesn't flit from the mind a few months later (it's always easier to recall a character's name, of course, when it's the title of the book, except for that Jude fellow, who's last name remains Obscure).
The plot, meanwhile? Well, it's simple, and it follows Jane around wherever she goes, whether she's reduced to begging at doorsteps (leave it to Jane to uncover the hypocrisy of a series of Welcome Mats), or whether she appears to have finally got what she wanted from life (she even gets what she doesn't want: Money; such talent this woman has!). Or, does she? That would be telling. She's also good at hearing strange voices...whether they be creepy, maniacal voices from strange rooms in large mansions, or disembodied voices crying across the landscape ("Jane, HELP!"; she is a talent, this Jane!).
So what have I accomplished? I fear a backlash, but all I have tried to do is write the most irreverent Jane Eyre review around (though an Asimov critique may already have me beat), designed not to blend into the morass. It's a great book, okay? I can't give it five whole stars because I gave Daniel Deronda five stars, and Jane Eyre isn't as good as Daniel Deronda, so it follows that Jane Eyre gets four stars. What do you want from me, blood? And no, I am not reading The Eyre Affair next. I don't work that way. Well, okay, I am likely to read the novelization of the Brain Of Morbius before reading Warmonger, but that's Dr Who stuff.
on February 8, 2004
This turned out to be an exceptional book though I didn't think so in the beginning. By what seems the hundredth page, I had decided it was a feminine version of David Copperfield but not as interesting. By the hundred and fiftieth page, I was completely discouraged and was sure it had turned into the very romantic mush I detest (a lot of what she feels about him and what he feels about her, and so on). Somewhere soon after that, I fell in and was absorbed. It became a tremendously good book with a fantastic plot and a good pace. I read for hours and hours at a sitting enjoying every single minute of it and only stopped when something absolutely forced me. Excellent, excellent!
Jane Eyre is an orphaned child under the guardianship of her maternal aunt. Not liked by her aunt and not able to get along with her cousins, Jane is sent to Lowood School for the children of the poor (it is a charity school) to be taught the fundamentals and, more importantly, to be conditioned for a life of poor expectations. Lowood changes the strong willed, impetuous Jane into a woman of uncommon restraint. When she accepts a post as governess to Adele at Thornfield Hall, she attracts the attention of Mr. Rochester, the master of the house, who has the desire to reclaim himself from a sordid past. He comes to believe that Jane has the power to transform him and help him to realize himself in the better light that he has not heretofore been able to achieve on his own. But his secrets are not far away and peculiar events at Thornfield make the reader question his advances. Sworn not to ask about who or what is in the room on the third floor, Jane's iron resolve begins to falter with the dreamlike romance and the reader begins to trepiditiously hope for her happiness. When Mr. Rochester is unable to keep his past under wraps, however, Jane is forced onto a path that will require all of her internal resources to survive but will ultimately put her in the position to make choices for herself rather than just choose among available options. The question is, with her conditioning, can she lead with her heart instead of her head?
My only legitimate greivance, and given only in the vein of humour, is that is seems like Jane would have taught Adele some English. The child speaks only in French and myself not being able to read French, I did not understand anything the child ever said. Luckily, her exuberance and intent still comes through and the reader can develop a softness for the child without understanding her dialogue.
on February 8, 2004
It's true this book, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, is extremely boring for the first fifty to seventy pages, but the plot line needs that much set up because it is so difficult. Once one has made it past those pages, hold on for the ride of a lifetime because it is a complicated and complete novel. Charlotte Brontè is an extremely effective writer. Her explicit detail is apparent after the first page. She carries this aspect of writing throughout the novel in describing both her surroundings and the people she meets. Because of her writing style, one learns more about the characters in this novel than in most modern novels, this enhances the enjoyment and knowledge gained from this book. The detail used in this novel helps make it easier to relate to the main character Jane Eyre. Since this book is written in the first person, it is very important that one is able to connect with the main character who is also the narrator.
This novel's plot is so complex that one almost never wants to put it down after those first fifty pages. The setup, though boring, is completely necessary to the rest of the novel and the rest of the plot. The most important parts of the plot are often right after a slow spot in the book. I believe this is just to emphasis these points. Included in a way such as that is the portion near the beginning where Jane stands up to her aunt who she is living with. This part is the beginning of Jane's strong headed and straightforward attitude, which was very uncharacteristic of a woman at the time this novel was written.
Also, the time at Lowood Academy when Jane's friend Helen dies of consumption is one of the points in which the novel starts to slow down and an important item is introduced. Jane goes through many changes in atmosphere throughout the novel, some by choice, some not. This gives us more opportunity to relate to her because throughout our lives we all will have to deal with changes in location, surroundings, and relationships. The ways in which Jane reacts to her changes will in one way or another affect us for the rest of our lives. The plot has many different places where it is so entangled both by Jane's feelings and the actions of the other characters. This is to represent the times in our lives where things seem complicated.
It is easy to relate to the main character, Jane Eyre, which makes it a good novel to represent our life and take advice from. This is a classic because it has survived the trials and tribulations of time and is still considered an excellent book to take advice from and to learn about what has happened in the live of people of the past. Each of us can step into Jane's shoes at one point or another and see things as she sees them. It makes one feel connected to the novel and understand what is going on much better than a novel which does not have the first person interpretation and emotions in it. Because the narrator is a young girl growing up it is harder for males, such as me, to relate to portions of the novel, though it is just as easy to relate to other portions. Also, because of the difference in time periods, it is harder to relate to exact problems, though the problems can be generalized so as to be more relevant.
Overall, this novel is a great work in which many people can receive hours of enjoyment and thought. I would recommend this novel to anyone who is thought to be "mature" enough to read it with full comprehension because it is a novel that has bearing on many issues both of the mind and of the world.
on January 20, 2004
More than a simple love story, a gothic romance, a Victorian novel, or even a female picaresque work, Jane Eyre is, quite simply, a wonderful book. Written, as it was, in Victorian England by a female author, Jane Eyre has occasionally been pigeonholed as a garden variety gothic romance. It is much more than this, however: not only is it a genuine classic, it epitomizes its genre. There are several factors that set it above the pack. For one, it is extremely well-written: Bronte's characterization is masterful and the plot is well-developed. One comes to identify with the character of Jane, who narrates, and the other characters in the book, most of whom are well-drawn, rounded characters. The book also features other elements which are unusual for a book of its kind and which were genuinely new at the time. For starters, take its protagonist, the title character: she is not beautiful, like Edith Wharton's Lily Bart; she is not rich, like most of Jane Austen's female characters; she is not ambivalent and wish-washy like Kate Chopin's Edna Pontellier; she is not an intellectual. Jane is a well-drawn, rounded, truly believable character -- and a genuinely likable one. The reader comes to empathize and identify with her. Strong-willed, independent, and indefatigable, Jane is not a hard-to-like character like the aforementioned Edna Pontellier from The Awakening; the book could almost be called a female picaresque novel, were she not so practical and solid a character. Also setting the book above its ilk are several dark story details that set the book above the of the typical love story. Bronte also uses the book as a medium to criticize certain aspects of Victorian culture: the inhumane and non-emphatic treatment of the poor by the rich, the denial of the pursuit of happiness, the plight of orphans and other who had no well-defined place in society, the often cruel sternness of church and other authority figures, among much else. Bronte also pauses from time to time to take on spiritual and quasi-philosophical elements, which give the book an added depth and sophistication. With all of this, Bronte succeeds in bringing the book out of the sphere of mere feminist literature: its universal theme and eclectic contents set it above the works of Austen and Chopin, among others. Though many aspects of the novel show it to be a clear product of the Victorian era, the book, with its just-mentioned strengths, is a universal work that will endure for centuries yet to come. In this way, it is much more applicable to our present day than works such as, say, The House of Mirth, which deal primarily with ephemeral concerns. On top of all this, it is a wonderful and delightful read. What we have here is a true classic.
This is essential reading for any fan of romances, gothic literature, or Victorian literature in general; readers looking for a truly great and easily-accessible classic need also look no farther.
on December 17, 2003
Pride and Prejudice is a classic novel from the 19th century. It is by far one of the best books I have ever read.
The conflict that Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy go through is what makes this book such an exciting love story. I would say that the best chapter of this story is chapter 7 volume 1, where Jane goes to Mr. Bingley's on the horse and gets a cold. This is the part of the story were things start to change. One example of this would be the interest that Mr. Darcy starts to show for Elizabeth. This happens because Jane catches a cold on her way to the Bingley's house and Elizabeth goes to the Bingley's house to take care of her sister. As Darcy spends time with Elizabeth, he starts to show interest in Liz.
Another important thing about this book is that Jane Austen uses imagery very well to make us get into the book. I must say that there were times when I was caught up in reading since everything was well described. An example of Austen using imagery is when she describes what kind of people the Bennet's mom and dad are. For example, at the beginning of the story, the writer talks about Mr. Bennet and Mrs. Bennet and how different the two people are. In chapter 1 the author describes Mrs. Bennet as a foolish person and a fussy gossiper. Mr. Bennet is quiet and kept to himself. In chapter 4 we have a very good description of personalities in two different important characters, Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley. Mr. Bingley is cheerful and sociable while Mr. Darcy is clever but less tactful, and unlike Mr. Bingley he finds the people dull; in other words, he criticizes people way too much.
I would recommend this book for high school students because it opens your mind to new and real things. It teaches you, mostly girls, to value the liberties that are given to you. I say this because back then women didn't have many choices or liberties to do what they wanted. Back then women had to do what their husband wanted and now women have many liberties.
on December 6, 2003
The epic story of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte's 'poor and plain' 19th century heroine, is a rare and wonderful combination of intelligent prose and keen emotion. It's a sweeping masterpiece of a love story, and a book which, even now, remains as accessible and valid as it did upon its first release.
Jane, the heroine, is an orphan, being raised by her cruel Aunt Reed. Tired of her troublesome charge, Mrs. Reed sends Jane to board at Lowood Charity School, where she discovers a new way of life, sometimes as cruel as her time at Gateshead, sometimes full of friendship and laughter. Presently, she accepts the job of Governess to the precocious daughter of Mr. Rochester in Thornfield Hall, and falls in love. She discovers inner strength and self-worth through the redemptive power of that love.
Unlike the novels of Jane Austen, Bronte's heroine is from an underprivileged class, and the mood of this story is generally sombre. However, compared to 'Shirley', or Emily Bronte's masterpiece 'Wuthering Heights', 'Jane Eyre' takes what is essentially a sorrowful tale and imbues it with vivid, if brief, descriptions of happiness and love. A sense of belonging pervades the latter half of the story, thrown into high relief by several traumatic events, and culminating in Jane achieving her heart's true desire - a family of her own.
It's a more straightforward and rewarding book than most 19th century epics, and for that, it's a better way of introducing oneself to 19th century literature. Bronte's acute awareness of the complexities of human emotion is palpable, and her heroine Jane displays a sense of isolation and self-reliance not found in many other novels, contemporary or otherwise. This is the hook, this is what draws the reader to the character of Jane, she is hard and self-sufficient, without resorting to bitterness or introversion. This subtle contrast forces us to empathise with Jane's plight, and we are all the more satisfied by the story's end.
Basically a love story played out against the backdrop of harsh, austere 19th century rural England, 'Jane Eyre' is a book you will return to, again and again. It's romantic, gothic, sparse and, conversely, lush, and truly deserving of its status as Classic. Buy it.
on November 9, 2003
Concerning on English classic novels 'Jane Eyre' has a special place in my heart. This was the very first classic novel that I ever read in English. As I needed that for an exam, and didn't have enough knowledge for reading the original I was supposed to read an abridged version. And so I did. And I loved the book.
Years later, I decided to read the real thing, the original novel. Much to my surprised it turned out to be highly accessible, and as entertaining and a nice read as the abridged version. Moreover, in the original book I could find all the details, and were able to savor Charlotte Brontë's language.
Written more than 150 years ago, 'Jane Eyre' reads as fresh as a XXI Century novel. Brontë's use of language is vivid and remarkable. Her descriptions bring the book into life. We cannot forget that the book is the social portrait of the women in the writer's society. It shows how they struggled --and failed most of the time-- to reach a respectable position in the society.
Jane didn't have any attractive that was required in her time. She wasn't rich or even beautiful, although smart. But smartness wasn't a good thing for a woman in those days. She is even punished for having brains. She ends up being a governess, and end up having a humiliating experience, being forced to change places and even name. Ms Eyre is only noticed when she receives a heritage and becomes rich. And she does not let all she has suffered affect her.
'Jane Eyre' is a novel ahead its time. This book is about feminism much before the term was created. When Jane speaks to her aunt about her rights --can you imagine a girl speaking about her rights in that time-- she is doing what other women would do years later. Charlotte Brontë has managed to creat a strong and sad girl, who is trying to find her place in the world. With that, the writer made a book that will be read for generations to come --even if they read an abridged version before reading the unabridged book.
on October 25, 2003
I throroughly enjoyed reading Jane Eyre. Although it was quite lengthy, it was filled with suspense and excitement. I feel that Jane Eyre was a strong, independent and proud character which makes her a great role model for women and children. From when she is only ten years old she already possesses courage, honesty and generosity despite her unpleasant life. Going to Lowood School only adds to her miserable childhood, but somehow she has the strength to overcome it and move on. Even though she is a poor, unattractive woman in the Victorian era she believes in economic and social equality. When she meets Rochester he is amazed at her intelligence, wit and frankness and though he is a man, she is his intellectual equal. When she realizes she must leaves Edward, she is able to resist the temptation of being with him to uphold her strong morals. This is also a very commendable quality that Jane Eyre possesses. Through her determination, she is able to survive poverty and loneliness and find a home with the Rivers. Here she exhibits true generosity when she divides her fortune among her new found friends. Again, she resists the temptation of a good home and safety and leaves St. John to find her lost love. Jane shows compassion when she decides to stay with Rochester for he rest of her life, and nurse him in his unhealthy state. Reading about a woman like Jane Eyre is very empowering and it makes you want to be a better person. Cudos to Charlotte Bronte for a novel very (long and) well written.