Hi everyone! As I had been feeling a little under the weather recently, I have mainly been reading some of my favourite books as pick-me-ups. One such novel is Jane Eyre, which I have read and re-read so many times my copy is falling apart. I’m sure everyone knows the plot; following Jane from her horrible childhood with her aunt and cousins to working as a governess under the charismatic Mr Rochester.
One of the reasons this is a favourite of mine is due to the characterisation. Jane is incredibly strong and determined despite appearances. She has to make tough choices throughout yet she always remains true to herself. Her words and inner strength, especially the line ‘I care for myself’, have always been a bit of a comfort blanket and were very uplifting in moments of insecurity.
Meanwhile, Rochester is ambiguous in nature, veering between hero and villain throughout. At points you like then despise him almost instantly; but very much like Jane you are under his spell. Despite never quite knowing how to categorise him, he still entertains the reader. Some of my favourite moments are when Rochester and Jane are together, their dialogue becoming almost like a sparring match. It is an enjoyable read, and one I can’t but adore.
However, despite being one of my favourite books, I’ll admit Jane Eyre does have some problems, particularly in the latter half. The ending wraps up a little too nicely and conveniently for me, and at some points I did cringe. This is especially true for the reveal about St John and his sisters. I also think the character of St John could have been developed more. Jane is supposed to be conflicted whether or not to marry St John; but I thought he was a bit flat and subsequently never saw any appeal in marrying him.
Jane Eyre holds up to numerous re-reads as I can well testify. The main appeal comes from Jane herself; her strength and determination I’ve always found inspiring. She is very much the heart and soul of the novel, and she lingers in the mind long after the novel closes. Whilst I do have problems with the second half and wish it was a little longer, my impression of the novel now is the same when I first read it over a decade ago; it thoroughly deserved to be ranked as a classic.
Jane Eyre is published by Penguin Classics and you can find more information here.