Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
I resisted reading Jane Eyre for a great many years. Mostly because it was a cliché favourite classic among nerdy girls and I wanted to pretend I wasn’t one. I was more interested in devouring the stories written by self-centred men who went on travel rampages and alcoholic binges around the US and Europe. I foolishly thought it would be one of those staid, boring classics and somehow I had managed to associate it with the works of Jane Austen which I’m not that fussed on.
Jane Eyre is anything but staid – it is a simmering and brooding love story and a meditation on isolation and madness.
I love most of the works of the Bronte sisters – Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and Villette, are all great works in my opinion. These books are about struggles and revelations, and are highly original for the time they were written in. What stands out are the supernatural and mystical elements and powerful imagery, such as the ‘Red Room’ sequence as a symbol of insanity. I love the strength of character found in Jane, what she goes through and what she becomes throughout the course of the novel. She is a feminist heroine with her clear sense of self-worth and her striving for personal independence. She retains her dignity, despite the constrictions and boundaries of the time, and rises beyond them. Yes, this is a 19th century Victorian text, but it contains surreal elements which gives it a different twist. Dreams, premonitions and visions caterpault the storyline forward to an ending that is utterly satisfying for readers. I adore this book. 4.5/5