Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Amazon Synopsis: Bronte's infamous Gothic novel tells the story of orphan Jane, a child of unfortunate circumstances. Raised and treated badly by her aunt and cousins and eventually sent away to a cruel boarding school, it is not until Jane becomes a governess at Thornfield that she finds happiness. Meek, measured, but determined, Jane soon falls in love with her brooding and stormy master, Mr Rochester, but it is not long before strange and unnerving events occur in the house and Jane is forced to leave Thornfield to pursue her future.

This has been on my completed list for a ridiculously long time and for some reason I thought I had completed this review, but it seems I was absolutely wrong.

This is the first Bronte classic I have ever read and it was a fantastic one to start with. One of my friends is a huge fan of these sister authors (Emily, Anne, and Charlotte) so she was basically begging me to dig into their writing. Since finishing this one I have read Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte which is very similar to this novel in a lot of ways so be sure to keep track of my reviews for that.

When reading this book I knew exactly what happened. I own -and have watched- both the 2005 television show and the 2011 film so plot wise I knew exactly what was going to happen. I do not think it matters which way or order in which you experience the life of Jane Eyre since both experiences are great. When first picking up the chunky 400+ page book though I was quite worried about just reading what had been on screen and therefore finding it boring. I did not.

I feel like so much of this wonderful novel owes its brilliance to the characters featured within. Jane Eyre is followed from childhood in the novel and provides one of the strongest female characters in literature, in my opinion, despite being written during and living in a period of time in which women were in a more oppressed role. The characters independence and intelligence is bested only by her acceptance of her flaws. Jane understands she is not beautiful but does not let it dictate her abilities in a society where women are very much reliant on their appearance for advantage and use it as their most faithful tool (see Blanche Ingram as an example in contrast).

Jane's independent character and strong personality are what leads her to her relationship with the secondary main character, Mr Rochester. As a male lead he seemingly goes against the classic archetype of Mr Darcy or Pip characters who are made handsome by their wealth. He is described as not particularly attractive or nice yet once these two characters come together we are given a three dimensional relationship that rivals the more 'romantic' tales. They are both forlorn characters that feel like fish out of water constantly until in each others company. Truly one of the greatest literary couples. Their completion of each other made their interactions magnetic to read.

So that I do not bore you too much with my ranting on how great each character was written for their purpose I will just say that the writing of them all was never predictable or unnecassary.

The writing style was not to hard to process either. It was a beautiful prose and I really enjoyed the descriptions told in Jane's perspective. Though at times it is arguably pretentious it is also enchanting to get inside of Jane's head on her journey. If you have not read a lot (or even any) classics before this novel would be a great starting point.

It is not hard to see why this is a great classic novel loved by most. In the middle of the book I felt it dragged a little, hence the loss of half a star, but it truly is a great novel. I will be sure to check out more Bronte works.


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