I don’t know how to review Jane Eyre because I’m sure every point in every other review has been covered. So instead, I’m going to tell you what I like about this classic and, in my mind, flawless book.
First of all, I like how the story is constructed and how each section, as Jane moves to a new place, also marks a change in her character. I like how Jane is portrayed as a young girl at Gateshead and how she rises above the conditions at Lowood. I like seeing how she develops her own set of principles and a modern sense of self there, standards that help carry her through the challenges at Thornfield and beyond. Themes of religion, social class and independence are built right into the characters and their beliefs and blend perfectly with this excellent plot.
I have always loved reading books with plots that revolve around old houses with many rooms and mysterious features. Thornfield Hall is a perfect example of a house like this. Who wouldn’t wonder what is going on up on the third floor? But the other homes in Jane Eyre are great too. Gateshead, with its interesting curtained window seat and the cozy warmth and simple furnishings at Moor House describe two different ways of living. The dark façade of the Lowood School immediately warns the reader of trying times inside. Equally thrilling is the crumbling house at Ferndean, surrounded by shadowy trees, just right for that scene.
The story of Grace Poole and Bertha and the secret behind the upstairs noises and disruptions are whopping plot developments. Every time I reach this part I’m amazed at Brontë’s imagination and how she is able to pull it off. This element of surprise takes the story to another exciting level.
I also really enjoy reading books that build the forces of nature into the plots and this happens throughout the story. I especially like the section that describes Jane as she flees Thornfield and the chapters while she is lost and destitute in the moors. Jane, though desperate for someone to save her, expresses both a resolve to survive and an acceptance of her fate. I think this must be a realistic way of thinking for someone on the brink of death.
I think the hints of a distant relative and the mysterious feeling between Jane and the Rivers siblings is another great plot development and I enjoyed figuring out the connection between Jane and these new friends.
Most of all, I love the relationship between Mr. Rochester and Jane! It’s so fun reading their conversations and seeing them play off each other. Mr. Rochester’s imposing personality is no match for Jane and it just feels right to cheer them on. This to me is the standard of all other romantic relationships portrayed after Jane Eyre was written.
One of my favorite scenes in the book occurs early, when Jane, just before she leaves for Lowood, reads her Aunt Reed the riot act. I felt sorry for Jane as a young girl at Gateshead and hearing her tell her aunt a thing or two feels just right. But my favorite scene is at the end because of the terrific release of so many worries and so much sorrow. To find happiness after seemingly endless struggles and catastrophes is a great way to end the tale.
This is another excellent book, well worth your time.
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