I. Can. Do. This.
I. Am. Almost. There.
Just. A. Little. Bit. Further…
I love Jane Eyre. There is not a single sentence in the entire novel that I don’t enjoy reading…and rereading…and then rereading again (like six or seven or eight times over!). Charlotte Brontë’s authorial voice is so beautiful and distinct; she writes so vividly and clearly that it is impossible not to visualize and imagine every single object and setting and character that she describes. She is a masterful storyteller, and I could sit down and avidly read the phone book if she wrote it (as cliché as this sounds, I swear I would actually do it!). I have read every single novel by Charlotte, I’ve read many of her poems and there is not a literary text on this Earth that I wouldn’t read if it had her name (or her pseudonym, Currer Bell) on it! (Sidenote: Charlotte and I are obviously also on a first name basis, which is a testament to how strong my feelings are for her!)
Having said that, my love for Jane Eyre stems mostly from my love for Jane Eyre in her adult incarnation (and, okay, it also stems from a passion for her Byronic love interest…but more about that in future posts…because once I start ranting about ER, I may not be able to contain myself and this post isn’t really supposed to be about him!). This is not to say that I don’t appreciate the beginning of the novel, when Jane Eyre is a ten year old attending Lowood Institution – honestly, these first few chapters of the text about Jane’s childhood are more interesting than most entire novels I’ve read. But let’s get real: the parts of the story about Jane’s infant struggles don’t touch or affect me as strongly as, say, some of the other more…what words shall I choose here?…romantic and intoxicating (World’s Biggest Understatement!) bits!
I haven’t been ten years old since…well in a really long time…so it’s a little bit difficult for me to connect on a profound level with the plight of a young girl. I usually like to imagine myself in the role of the main character, which is one of the reasons I’ve always enjoyed Jane Eyre so much – I mean, who wouldn’t want to imagine themselves with a man who is so brooding and mysterious and 1 million percent in love with them?! But I’ve never been quite sure how to envision myself in the life of the young Jane Eyre. I first read the novel when I was in grade 12, so I have always struggled with this…and, I must admit, I have always counted down the number of pages or chapters until Jane moves to Thornfield Hall and begins to narrate her adult life.
And right now, I am several chapters away from this. Mr. Rochester seems like such a dim, clouded image in the future. However, I have no choice but to just plug away, reading page after page and moving closer and closer toward my literary love. The thing is, I have sort of tried to devise a new approach for getting through this less stimulating section of the novel: I am a loyal friend; anyone who is friends with me knows that if someone ever hurt anyone I loved, I would crush them without remorse. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration (I’m a lot more gentle than this in real life!), but the fact still remains that one of my most important missions in life is to provide aid and support to the people I adore, specifically when they are overwhelmed by strife. So, considering that Jane Eyre is my best literary friend, it is my duty to learn about the injustices she faced in her childhood: it is my job to sit beside her in the red room at Gateshead Hall and assure her that there is no ghost to haunt her; I am obliged to walk to and from church in the bitter cold with her as she attends Lowood School; and it is my most significant duty to lie with her on the bed of her deceased friend Helen Burns and console her.
Basically, reading about Jane’s childhood not only helps me to understand her better, it also makes me a better friend to her. I got into enough conflicts in my Master’s for speaking about Jane as if she was a real person, but this is my blog and I’ll talk about her however I want – Jane Eyre is one of my best friends, and no good person would abandon their best friend in a time of need!
But seriously…how many pages do I have left before we meet ER?!?!
Girl with a Green Heart