Throwback Thursday: Jane Eyre

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books. We choose a book we remember fondly and recommend to our adoring readers to add to their To Read Pile. Plus, we get to link up and all give our fellow bloggers some comment love. Win-Win! This week, I’m continuing my hypothesis about required reading for high school English, and it is this:

If you go back and read it as an adult, you will probably like it.

This week, I urge you to grab a copy of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. I actually never had to read this book in high school, but the first time I did read it was required reading in college. I loved it. I honestly think all women should have to read this book.

Jane Eyre

Why should all women have to read this book, you ask?

1. Jane Eyre is not pretty. She’s the narrator and main character of this book, and she’s not pretty. Not the “She thinks she’s not pretty, but everyone else thinks she’s drop dead gorgeous” variety so prevalent in modern day romance novels. Nope. On the whole, everyone thinks she’s ugly. If Jane were to trip and fall down the stairs, no one would think it adorable. If she wore only Chuck Taylors and t-shirts everywhere she went, no one would see it as quirky or cute. Granted, in 1847, she would be seen as a boy in those clothes. A bizzarre one at that. You get my drift. Jane Eyre is a plain and modest girl, and she’s totally cool with it. No pining away for beauty or fancy clothes.

2. Jane Eyre falls in love with a man who is not tall or handsome. He’s powerful in character. He’s witty. Mysterious. Smoldering. I mean, we are talking the Bronte sisters, here. They invented the smolder. He’s moody and brooding. But, we don’t have to read descriptions of his “statuesque” features in at-length detail. Fewer body part adjectives. It’s the little things, friends.

3. Jane Eyre desperately loves Mr. Rochester, but she doesn’t let her emotions completely control her decisions. In fact, she’s rather infuriating with her upstanding morals sometimes. However, you can’t help but respect her for sticking to her beliefs.

4. Jane Eyre is one of the best examples of a first-person female narrator. Sometimes I think we should go BACK to the 19th century for some better examples of women in literature. Jane’s got spunk and a good head on her shoulders. She fights a battle with her passion and her conscience, and it’s always a fair fight. Plus, almost every guy she encounters tries to control her, and she doesn’t allow it. If only she had some sort of martial arts training, the novel would have the whole package.

Along with this wonderful narrator and main character, Jane Eyre also has all the elements of a Gothic novel:

Spooky old house with a hidden secret wing/room/attic? CHECK!

Supernatural occurrences via landscape, turbulent weather, bumps in the night, etc.? YOU GOT IT!

Love interest with a concealed past and gloomy disposition yet on occasion explodes in passionate anger enough to keep you on your toes? RIGHTY-O ROCHESTER!

Scary monster with pseudo-vampirish traits (think actual vampires, not sparkly vampires)? ABSOLUTELY!

Granted, the book drags in places. Jane takes FOREVER to decide something and she gets a bit preachy and she’s way more forgiving than I could ever be (St. John, I would have disowned you). Still, the book has passion and character and depth and beauty. Also, as an added bonus, it’s a free download on your Kindle. So now you have no excuse!

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  1. #1 by Sarah @ Breaking the Binding on July 5, 2012 - 7:35 am

    I read “Jane Eyre” in college and I think I’m glad I didn’t read it any earlier. I don’t think high school me would have appreciated this book nearly as much as college and adult me has. Good choice this week!

    This has reminded me that I need to do a reread of some classics… Jane Eye, Presuasion, Pride and Prejudice. I should get on that soon.

  2. #2 by Lauren@The Housework Can Wait on July 5, 2012 - 8:11 am

    I came THIS CLOSE (picture me holding my fingers a fraction of a millimeter apart) to featuring this book this week, but I found myself with 10 minutes to write my post, so I picked one that I could be a little less wordy about instead (because I would have wanted to say all the things you said here!) I read it in high school, and it was one of the few required HS readings that I actually enjoyed the first time around.

    Great pick!

  3. #3 by kellywiggains on July 5, 2012 - 8:16 am

    I know what you mean. I’m glad I read this book in college, too. For my class, we also read Wide Sargasso Sea, which is about Bertha. Reading both novels for the same course was fascinating.

  4. #4 by kellywiggains on July 5, 2012 - 8:24 am

    Thanks, Lauren! I just reread it recently (free download on Kindle).

  5. #5 by kellywiggains on July 5, 2012 - 8:27 am

    By the way, my first comment was for you, Sarah. I’m not sure why my replies aren’t posting underneath their respective comments. Thanks for commenting, girls!

  6. #6 by Katie on July 5, 2012 - 9:45 am

    One of my all-time favorites! I fortunately discovered this book before we had to read it in school. I love how Jane thinks. I might have to go re-read it since its free on Kindle. Good choice this week!

  7. #7 by Melissa Joulwan (@melicious11) on July 5, 2012 - 12:06 pm

    Jane Eyre is my favorite book of all time; I read it at least once a year. And this post perfectly sums up why I love it so much. Thanks for this fun reminder!

  8. #8 by Jessica Howard (@quirkybookworm) on July 5, 2012 - 12:27 pm

    Funny! I just pulled this book off the shelf last night to start re-reading it today. I bought my copy when I was 9 at the Bronte Parsonage in Haworth, and I sneakily read it by flashlight even though my mom forbade it till I was older. 🙂

    I don’t think I’ve read it since I was 15 though, so I’m looking forward to reading it again!

  9. #9 by Colletta Miller on July 5, 2012 - 5:40 pm

    I love this book! I also watch each and every movie that comes out based on it 🙂

    here’s my post:

    http://collettaskitchensink.blogspot.com/2012/07/throwback-and-review-pile-7512.html

    Colletta

  10. #10 by Katherine Nabity on July 5, 2012 - 6:35 pm

    Read Jane Eyre in college and I think I need to give a re-read soon. Jane pretty much is the antidote to some of the more annoying modern tropes. Love your write-up!

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