Tuesday 30 May 2017

Jane Eyre read along 2017

I have much enjoyed this book.  It went too fast really.  

Too begin a feisty girl, taunted and abused by her cousins, loathed by her guardian aunt (by marriage), sworn to keep her as her own, her dead uncle being the brother of her mother, are you still with me?  Sent away at 10 to a school for girls.  Its strict.  She befriends another girl of steel grit and strong faith.  Her faithful friend dies young, embraced by Jane whilst they sleep.  

Jane becomes a teacher at the Lowood school where she was sent.  She decides that she would like to change her lot and advertises for a governess position.  A lady replies to the advert and Jane takes the position as the governess of a young French ward of Mr Rochester.  

Mr Rochester being the man of the house and the lady, Mrs Fairfax is the house keeper who answered the advertisement.  

Jane falls in love with Mr Rochester, whilst he is entertaining friends at the house.  At this time, strangely the bedroom of Mr Rochester is set on fire, whilst he is in bed.  Jane hears what she thinks is giggling in the hall and tells Mr Rochester this when she saves him.  

One of the ladies who is staying at the house, he eludes that he would like to marry her.  Jane resigns herself to this fact, her being of a lower class than them.  She advises that if this is the case, she will move on to another house and that the ward should be sent away to school.  

After testing her to see her true feelings Mr Rochester proposes to Jane.  She writes to an Uncle in Madeira.  Small world moment, it is found that a man on the island is the brother in law of Mr Rochester and he had been married to a girl in Jamaica.  She is mentally ill and is the one who tried to burn Mr Rochester in his bed!  A representative and the BIL rush to stop the wedding and get their just in the nick of time. (that was lucky.  Phew for Jane)

After being propositioned my Rochester to be installed somewhere in France and be his mistress, Jane makes off in the night as she is a God fearing woman.  She gets on a coach, and gives the driver all of her money.  She then forgets her meagre belongings and is left destitute.  She wanders the countryside and comes to a village.  A moment of "there is no room at the inn" happens.  She sees a light in the distance and follows it to a small house.  Where a servant and 2 young ladies of the house are.  The servant goes to send her of with a flea in her ear.  The master of the house is coming home at that time and is a pastor.  He brings her in to the home as she is dead on her feet after not eating and wandering for 3 days.

He can see that she is well educated and has been given money by the local bigwig, whose daughter has designs on marry the pastor, to start a school for girls.  Jane takes the job of the teacher, giving a false name.  She writes to Mrs Fairfax to see how Mr Rochester is.

The pastor and his 3 sisters are living in the small house as they had lost all of the family money, having been the aristo's of the area for generations.  They were hoping to inherit a fortune from a relative who had made good abroad.  This relative has died and the money has been left to another.  The daughter of the relatives brother, the uncle of this family.  No one can find the daughter.  In the interim, the sisters take work as governesses.  The pastor is devout and wishes to go to India to be a missionary.

Jane having concealed her real surname, begins to enjoy her life as a school mistress.  The daughter of the big wig, calls on her and the school.  Jane drawers a portrait of this lady and her father wishes her to complete it as a painting.  The pastor visits Jane whilst she is still finishing the picture.  Jane has signed the picture with her original name.  The pastor snatches the name off if the picture and leaves.  

He then returns and confronts Jane, telling her the story of the uncle abroad being dead and leaving the money to another.  It turns out that Jane is their cousin.  dah da daaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!

Jane, overcome with the idea that she is now a monied lady, wishes to share the money 4 ways with her cousins.  Nice lady.  This happens and the sisters and Jane, give up paid work.  Whilst at home they all pursue further learning.  The pastor decides that Jane would benefit from learning Hindustani.  They carry on in this vein until the pastor is close to leaving for India,  he and jane take a walk and he, in a round about way asks her to marry him.  She asks him if he loves her and he says she will make a good missionary's wife.  Not what Jane is looking for after the powerful love she felt from Rochester.  She declines.

Whilst the pastor is away, having not heard from Mrs Fairfax as to their wellbeing, she decides to go back.  On arrival, she finds the house in ruins and burnt to the ground.  On talking to a local she finds out that he was seriously hurt when trying to save his mentally ill wife from the fire, as she throws herself off of the roof.  And he has moved to another of his houses.

She ventures to this house, that is in the deepest darkest wood and there she finds him.  Blind, having lost one eye and only being able to see light and dark in the other eye.  His hand was also amputated. He lives with 2 of his former servants.  Jane vows to never leave Rochester ever again.  They immediately get married. In time his sight partially returns in his eye.  

And they live happily ever after.

I liked it, it was a fast read and was routing for her to succeed. 

I would read it again.  8/10

I wonder why in the book she keeps saying, Dear Reader?  I am not sure I like that part.

The next read along book is Wuthering Heights.  It should be a quick read.  I hope you join in.


Janie Junebug said...

Jane Eyre is an important feminist book. Note that Jane only has true power after she has money of her own.


Sol said...

Hi Janie, there are 2 lines at the start of the book that really trumpet the feminist vibe to me. I will find it and post it. Hope you are well.

DUTA said...

Thanks for reminding me of the plot. I read this book (and the other ones on your list) in my.. early adolescence. We were avid readers then as there was no TV (only radio and cinema), no PC, and too cold to go out(Europe, at present I live in the warm Middle-East).
Wonderful, wonderful books.

Raybeard said...

I actually finished the next book, 'Heights', some days ago (and read another book since) and it is Emily B's which is now uppermost in my memory rather than Charlotte's. I'll have to gather my thoughts together and re-marshal my opinion of 'J.E.'. as it's fading faster than I thought it would. I shall return.

Sol said...

Hi DUTA, I came late to the joys of reading. I was a bit wild and prefered to be outside with my friends rather than expanding my mind. Hence I am reading them all now. Feel free to join in!

Hi Ray, I held back on the book post as Blackso was unwell. Life then got in the way and I was later than I thought I was going to be. I have also nearly finished Wuthering Heights. It is a short book. Looking forward to your thoughts on Jane Eyre

Raybeard said...

Okay, Sol. 'Jane Eyre' then. (3rd time round)

I felt the most successful part of the book was the initial pre-Rochester episodes. The writing throughout the novel is strong - but, dear me, talk about melodrama! The undisclosed mad wife in the attic, her attempts at arson, and the closing divulging of the ultimate conflagration with its devastating physical (and mental) effects on Rochester, all capped by Jane's revealing of herself as a 'good angel' - right through the book her own opinion of herself just teetered on the edge of becoming insufferable - who just very handily and unexpectedly happens to have become wealthy beyond measure, and finally marrying the one she'd been intended for all the while.
I can well believe that the novel kept readers of the time (and, indeed, ever since) engrossed with its 'thrills' and a glowing feeling of satisfaction at the 'happy ever after' conclusion. A lot of the denouement wouldn't have been out of place in what were once called 'penny-dreadful'comics. It all takes some swallowing - and yet it still manages to be quite rivetting.
I've got no complaints at all about the writing style (not something I can say about the next book, 'Wuthering Heights', alas - or rather three specific aspects in it). Command of vocabulary in 'Jane Eyre' is quite masterful. Characters are all well-delineated, their personalities drawn out more from their words and actions rather than direct descriptions.

It's a long read, though it hardly ever becomes tortuous. Would I embark on it again for a fourth time ? Sure!

Sol said...

Hey Ray, I always love your book reviews! Spot on, thought provoking. I much prefered this to Mansfield park or middlemarch. We are getting on to some more gritty ones that I am looking forward to reading.

Hope you are well and having a lovley time in the good weather

Raybeard said...

I'm okay, thanks Sol. Still keeping an ever-watchful eye on you-know-who who's still tottering about looking as if he's drunk, poor thing, but he hasn't had another nasty turn for over a week now. Trouble is, in this sunny, warm - or hot - weather he (as well as Noodles) wants to go outside and lie under parked cars for their shade, something he does every Summer. In his present condition he couldn't get out quick enough if he had to, so I've got to keep alert to that as well - and my nerves are shreds!
Apart from that all is fine, as I hope it also is chez vous.

I'm getting through another John Grisham at the mo. Always a pretty good read. But especially looking forward to 'Purple' time.

Sol said...

I am glad Blackso is well enough to go outside, the weather is so changeable. We need to start thinking more about the books we want to read. I will do a post on it tomorrow I think.