January 2, 2012

Jane Eyre By Charlotte Brontë

Jane Eyre

First of all, this book is a classic. And I loved it.

I have read a few classics before and found a couple of them boring and lethargic. I have found joy in some, however, such as A Christmas Carol and, of course, Jane Eyre.

This book possesses highly advanced vocabulary, for speech was much more advanced in the 1800s (when the story takes place) than it is now. The book is, essentially, a novel concerning the finding of one's true self, although said theme is not particular to the main character (Jane), but to the secondary character as well. This book may not interest others my age, but I found it enlightening and quite entertaining.

Now for a (rather long) synopsis (excluding the ending of course!):

Jane Eyre is a miserable and under appreciated girl living with her wealthy aunt and cousins as a result of both her parents dying when she was very little. She persuades her cruel aunt to send her to school, for Jane despises her cousins and wishes very much to learn.

She goes to school, has a rough start, but eventually makes a friend by the name of Helen Burns. The school is dirty, and the supervisor brutish, but Jane learns quickly and grasps the concept that she will internalize more information if she behaves. But soon, Helen grows ill and is in danger of dying. Jane is forbade to see her, but sneaks into her adopted room anyway. Jane spends the night with her friend, and in the morning, Helen is found dead with Jane's arms around her.

Jane finishes her education and becomes a teacher at her school for two years. She then decides that her life needs change, so she puts out an advertisement stating that she is a governess and wishes to teach children. A couple days later, she walks to the nearest town hoping for a reply to her ad. Fortunately, there is a response stating that there is a young lady in need of a governess at a place called Thornfield.

Jane sets out to her new post. On the road to the manor, a man is thrown off his horse and Jane helps him back onto the beast. He sprained his ankle, but is otherwise unharmed. After this incident, Jane continues on her way to Thornfield.

Shortly after arrival, Jane realizes that the man with the horse is the master of the manor, Mr. Edward Fairfax Rochester. Mr. Rochester is not handsome, but neither is Jane for that matter. He has jet black hair, a prominent brow, and rather large eyebrows. The two talk occasionally and seem to get along well.

Jane's new position proves adequate for her skills. Her pupil (Adele) is very fond of her, and Jane gets along well with the other servants at the manor.

As time goes on, Jane and Mr. Rochester spend more time together. Jane is very learned, and Mr. Rochester yearns for someone to debate with, and someone with whom he can speak about complicated and difficult subjects of knowledge. Jane learns much about Mr. Rochester's character as he does hers. She finds that she is falling in love with him, but she is afraid of her emotions. It is also believed that Mr. Rochester is in the process of proposing marriage to a certain Blanche Ingram, a wealthy and beautiful woman. What Jane doesn't know is that Mr. Rochester loves her too.

As Jane readies herself for Edward Rochester's proposal to Miss Ingram, he readies himself for the act of admitting his love to Jane. When she finds out that he loves her, they plan to get married. Unfortunately for Jane, Mr. Rochester has a secret that threatens to separate them eternally.

The secret is discovered by Jane and admitted by Rochester on their wedding day. The two are still in love, but Jane sees fit to leave Thornfield, despite Mr. Rochester's protests. She leaves in the early morning, taking 20 shillings and a crust of bread.

Two days later, half-starved and playing the part of a beggar, she lands at the door of St. John Rivers and his two sisters, Diana and Mary. Their housekeeper won't admit her, and Jane faints of hunger on the threshold of the building. St. John happens to be arriving home, and saves Jane.

While recovering at Moor House (for that is the name of the house in which she stayed), Jane becomes good friends with Mary and Diana, but St. John remains distant and refuses her attempts at friendship. Through a letter divulged by Mr. Rivers, it is soon discovered that Jane's uncle (formerly married to her merciless aunt) has died and, consequently left her with 20,000 pounds. Upon Jane's questioning, St. John also tells her that her dead uncle was also his (and his sisters') uncle as well, therefore making Jane their cousin. Jane splits the money between the four cousins (herself, St. John, Mary, and Diana) and is temporarily happy.

Thinking that Jane would make a good missionary's wife, St. John asks her to marry him. I must make it clear that this proposal was made out of duty and not love. Although St. John is very good-looking, Jane blatantly refuses his proposal, seeing as she is still in love with Edward Rochester and that she does not love St. John in that way.

Jane begins to rethink her decision to leave Thornfield. But she decides to return only upon hearing Mr. Rochester calling her name, his voice whispering on the wind.

Jane sets out for Thornfield, not sure what to expect, but clinging onto the hope of seeing her love again.

Will he be there?

Will he be at Thornfield, yet married to another, namely Blanche Ingram?

Will he accept her even after she left him? What if he doesn't?

To all these things and more does Jane desperately seek answer. Whether you like it or not, upon reading this review, so do you.

Read Jane Eyre and find out exactly what is waiting for her upon return to Thornfield Manor.

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