Books Culture

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

23 September 2015
Jane Eyre

I finally finished reading Jane Eyre! Charlotte Brontë’s famous novel was published in 1847 but it is still widely read today. The book had been on my reading list for a while so I decided to get down to business a few months ago.

Résumé of Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre is the story of an orphan girl. For several years, she lives with her aunt – who begrudgingly took her in when her parents died – before being sent away to an orphanage where she stays for 6 years. Curious about the outside world, Jane then decides to become a governess for a little girl. Thus, she begins to discover society; its codes and obstacles as well as the many new opportunities that open up to her.

My opinion

Positive elements:

  • I enjoyed reading about a woman who is a feminist before the term even existed. Jane is independant, strong and refuses to compromise when it comes to her values and what she thinks is right. She might be an orphan – without money or relations – but she refuses point blank to be a victim.
  • Jane Eyre is a novel that makes you think about several subjects: the importance of school, friendship, family and marriage. I liked reading the different characters’ opinions on these themes.
  • The fact that Jane isn’t traditionally beautiful appealed to me. Her features are imperfect and that makes a big difference with the Jane Austen novels I know and love! Other characters in the novel were less than beautiful too, and I found that refreshing.

Negative elements:

  • I normally love big fat novels with a lot of descriptions, but this story was just TOO long winded for me. In the third part of the book, there is a 20-line description of a secondary character’s face. It took me several months to finish the book because to be honest, I got bored. So I read a few other things in between.
  • I wasn’t a fan of Mr Rochester. I just didn’t find him very interesting, even after having found out the full story of his youth.
  • The ending: I saw it coming a mile away. I guessed about 80% of the events in the last chapter, and even though you can guess the ending and still enjoy reading it, I just wasn’t convinced. I got the feeling that the loose strings were tied up too easily.

Over all, I think that I have understood why we are still talking about Jane Eyre today: it is surprisingly modern despite being set in 19th century England. But the story just seemed never ending to me – even though I absolutely loved Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, a 512 page novel about an orphan at about the same period – and I couldn’t get into the love story that makes up the better part of the second chunk of the book. I am glad that I have now read the novel but I am also relieved that it’s finally over.

What about you, have you read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë? Did you like it?

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  • Reply Nicole 23 March 2018 at 4 h 44 min

    A bit late for this response, but I am SO glad to stumble upon this post regarding Jane Eyre! I thought it was just me! While I find the actual story interesting and enjoy the plot-turn when we find out about Mr. Rochester’s secret wife, the story just slogs on in spots, then I lose interest.

  • Reply MG 14 October 2015 at 21 h 21 min

    I have read Jane Eyre and enjoyed it; I didn’t mind the predictability of events but like you, I thought it was all tied up a bit too quickly and easily… maybe a good thing as you found the book never-ending ? Aside from that, I think the theme of Jane’s strength and refusal to be a victim is successfully carried through right to the end. What I like about the book is the loyalty and compassion shown by Mr Rochester about a topic that was not really understood at the time the book was written. It was not dealt with in the way our modern society would, but it was probably the kindest solution for the times.

    • Reply Nathalie 27 October 2015 at 17 h 57 min

      I hadn’t thought about that last point: it’s true that Mr Rochester probably wouldn’t have had many other options at the time. Thanks for your insight!

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