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Jane Eyre Readalong – Jane as a child

As I mentioned in my previous post, I quite often forget the beginning of Jane Eyre when she is a child, focusing mostly on her time at Thornfield when I think about the book.

However, the beginning of the book, as told from Jane’s younger self, is very powerful. I think we get a better sense of Jane and her surroundings because of her youth. Maybe it’s because we assume children are more truthful, or lack the artifice and intelligence to dupe us. But there is definitely something more tangible about how Jane suffers emotionally and physically during her life with the Reeds. In particular, I was struck by this sentence:

“For me, the watches of that long night passed in ghastly wakefulness; strained by dread: such dread as children only can feel.”

That sentence really stuck with me. I regularly have nightmares and always have and while there are some from my adult dreaming life that scare the crap out of me, I don’t know that any of them have stuck with me as much as those from my childhood. There was something different about being afraid as a child – maybe it’s because you’re smaller and less able to protect yourself and lack the reasoning that’s often required to pull you out of your fright.

 

 

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Jane Eyre – Readalong!

Gentle Reader, I have started reading Jane Eyre again.

Jane_Eyre

Jane Eyre was, is and will always be my favorite book. I love it. I love reading it, I love thinking about it, I love to stare at it. I love to own a paper copy and an e-copy. I even own a copy in French. I don’t know why. I just… had to have it. I thought I would blog about it as I read it, and I invite anyone that wishes to do the same to join me.

 

Though I’ve read it many times, I’m always surprised when I start reading it again that I’ve forgotten exactly where it begins. I suppose I expect it to begin sometime at Lowood, the school where Jane is sent. But of course, the narrative starts before that so we can see Jane’s life living with her aunt, Mrs. Reed. We learn so much about Jane’s surroundings from this introduction. Her isolation, her fiery spirit and the constant onslaught of abuse from her cousin. I’m immediately sympathetic to Jane from this beginning. I think the thing that hits me the hardest is how matter-of-fact the entire set of characters seems to be about Jane’s treatment. The servants and the family think this is all fine and acceptable and that leaves me, as the reader, wanting to rally even more FOR Jane.

 

Reading this book again is always like coming home after a long day, putting on my most warm and comforting sweater and curling up in a corner next to a window. Outside there is a grey sky and I’m warm and safe, with a hot cup of coffee. That’s the feeling this book gives me.

 

If you’ve never read Jane Eyre, I cannot recommend it enough. If you HAVE read it, I invite you to join me and read it again!

Jane Eyre

To be frank, I can’t articulate many absolute favorites. If you ask me for my favorite movie, or song or ice cream flavor, I’m HARD PRESSED to name just one. I can give you a list of favorites NOW or favorites THEN or “This is my favorite eye shadow for 4 am because it makes me look NOT DEAD but this is my favorite for going out at night because it has sparkles.”

The exception to my rule is Favorite Book = Jane Eyre.

It’s been my favorite since I read it. I don’t even remember when that was, to tell you the truth. Sometime in University I think. it’s got EVERYTHING:

Romance! Mystery! Spooky happenings! Strong heroine! Snappy dialogue! Brooding atmosphere! Creepy Castle!

Did I mention the strong heroine? Jane Eyre is probably one of the strongest heroines, if not THE strongest heroine I’ve ever read. And she was written in 1847.

If you’ve never read Jane Eyre, here are some quotes from our dear heroine, Jane, to motivate you to pick it up:

  • “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
  • I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.”
  • “I am not an angel,’ I asserted; ‘and I will not be one till I die: I will be myself. Mr. Rochester, you must neither expect nor exact anything celestial of me – for you will not get it, any more than I shall get it of you: which I do not at all anticipate.”

And from Mr. Edward Fairfax Rochester

  • “You have saved my life: I have a pleasure in owing you so immense a debt. I cannot say more. Nothing else that has being would have been tolerable to me in the character of creditor for such an obligation: but you; it is different ;- I feel your benefits no burden, Jane.”

And the quote that has FOREVER RUINED ME:

  • “Because,” he said, “I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you — especially when you are near to me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous Channel, and two hundred miles or so of land, come broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapped; and then I’ve a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly.”

He. Should take. To bleeding. Inwardly.

RUINED ME, I SAY!

This truly is my desert island book, my “You can only save one book and must leave the rest” book, my “I’m feeling low and sick and need something to curl up with” book.

I think I need to clear my weekend to read this again.