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.
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!