Miss Eyre, Governess with a Green Heart

I’ll try to keep this update short and simple (I feel like I’ve said that before!), because the main purpose is to share an interesting finding with all of you.

I’m right in the middle of rereading Jane Eyre: Jane has escaped Lowood school and she’s deep in the middle of her romance with Mr. (*swoon*) Rochester.  I feel right at home in these pages, finally, and it feels as though every sentence passes through my mind, my inner reading voice, with such fluidity and ease.  I never stumble as I’m reading – it is as though I understand the structure of Charlotte’s sentences instinctively (Perhaps from reading them so many times?) and I feel so warm wrapped up in Jane’s narratorial voice.

But I have started to wonder: why do I feel so comfortable amidst the heavy pages of Jane Eyre?  The text is not an easy one to read – like Dickens, Charlotte writes with detail, finesse and an astounding number of adjectives.  Her descriptions are lengthy, her sentences run for lines and lines, and her paragraphs are dense.  Yet, somehow, I have been able to comprehend her meaning without difficulty from the moment I opened the book for the very first time.

When I first read Jane Eyre and explored Thornfield Hall with my new literary best friend, I was in my final year of high school.  I had never read another Victorian novel before, so I cannot say that I was accustomed to the writing style of 19th century authors.  But, as I said, I jumped into Jane Eyre head first, and I didn’t drown…on the contrary, I thrived and I felt profoundly moved and alive for the first time in my English literature career.  I remember finishing the novel and knowing that Victorian literature was my passion – I was so sure of this that I immediately and eagerly picked up Tess of the D’Urbervilles.  And don’t get me wrong, I adore Tess’ story as well (as tragic and melancholy as it is)…I just never loved it in the same way as I love Jane Eyre and for whatever reason, I did not feel as connected to it.  I wrote a blog post many months ago expressing that Our Mutual Friend was one of my favourite novels of all time, and this is true; as far as literary texts go, Dickens’ last completed work is pretty perfect!  I still don’t feel as though I fit into the pages of Our Mutual Friend as well as I fit into Jane’s tale, however, and again, I have never been able to figure out why I am so taken by Jane Eyre specifically.

Until now, that is!  Maybe it took reading Jane Eyre for the billionth time to come to this conclusion, but I swear I’m onto something!  Get ready for this……

Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester have green hearts too!  And that is why I feel as though we are kindred spirits and understand one another so perfectly!  You require evidence?  Alright, here it is:

Edward Rochester: “‘I have been green too, Miss Eyre – ay, grass green…’”

Jane Eyre: “and now, at the first renewed view of him, [the germs of love] spontaneously revived, green and strong! He made me love him without looking at me.”

Do you see that?  At the crucial moments when both Mr. Rochester and Jane discuss and analyze their feelings, they use the colour green as an association for the strength and purity of their sentiments.  Is this a coincidence?  Sure, maybe…but it is a profound coincidence…and for me, it is an explanation for my appreciation for these characters and the world they inhabit!

Forever yours, in good green-hearted company,

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

my green heart

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9 thoughts on “Miss Eyre, Governess with a Green Heart

  1. I’ll never forget the first time I read Jane Eyre. It was in October 2000 and I was 11. We were going out for the day and my mum gave me Jane Eyre to read in the car. From the first page I had found a friend. I fell in love with both Jane and Edward.

    I am now 27 and have loved Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester for 16 years. I own 3 copies of the novel, two copies were given to me as gifts. My mum bought me one when our paperback edition fell apart from many rereadings. In June 2011, my aunt gave me a very lovely and old copy which she found in a vintage bookshop. It’s a 1935 edition, I love it! I bought my 3rd copy myself in March 2016 to celebrate the bicentenary of Charlotte Bronte’s birth. It’s a Folio Society edition and has got 9 illustrations in it, it’s gorgeous!

    Jane Eyre has helped me through illness, loneliness, high school, college and my disability. Jane has also travelled with me to France, Ireland, and Cornwall. Even when I go away I like to have Jane Eyre with me as I find comforting. Jane Eyre is my favourite comfort book.

    • Oh Kate, thank you so much for your comment!
      Your history with Jane is wonderful and so lovely! I am glad that she has given you comfort, as she has done the same for me. Jane is a very special friend to have, and I’m so happy that we have had the chance to meet (even if it’s only through the computer) because of her! x

      • Thank you for your lovely message Jane is a fantastic heroine and I love chatting to people who are passionate about her as much as I am. I could talk about Jane Eyre all day!

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