The second volume of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre is still strictly from the perspective of Jane, herself; however, the reader gets a few more stories from other characters as they are told to Jane. The most important one being the secret Mr. Rochester finally reveals to Jane. Since others may not have read this novel, I won’t give it away. The one oddity about Mr. Rochester’s story is that I found it to be humorous. I’m curious if any other readers of Jane Eyre found something comical about this aspect of his past. For some reason, I’m not sure I was suppose to be laughing. As wonderful of a story as it is, I didn’t see it as a funny one – except for this part.
The brilliance Bronte puts into Jane as a character is in her ability to make Jane both reserved and passionate, both traditional and rebellious – at the same time. Jane, herself, gives the reader a clue to this part of her personality:
I know no medium: I never in my life have known any medium in my dealings with positive, hard characters, antagonistic to my own, between absolute submission and determined revolt. I have always faithfully observed the one, up to the very moment of bursting, sometimes with volcanic vehemence, into the other…
While the novel is a classic and has been made into at least a few movies, I was not aware of how Jane’s “romances” played out. I do know that it’s not simply modern day mystery novels that can keep me guessing on the edge of my seat. Nineteenth century British romances can do the same.
The final TBR Triple Dog Dare is sponsored by James at James Reads Books and here’s my final update. The Dare requires participants to read only books that they already have during January, February and March.
As I’ve said in previous updates, the number of books I’ve read during the Dare has not been staggering; however, I’ve read some books that have been on my shelf for a long time and thoroughly enjoyed them:
I just finished Jane Eyre yesterday so look for a post about Volume the Second in the next couple of days. In addition, I read the beautiful story “The Turkey Season” for the April edition of The Alice Munro Story of the Month so a post about that will be coming up soon.
Next up is Andy Weir’s The Martian and after that I’ll begin a book I just got in the mail: The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings -J. R. R . Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams by Philip and Carol Zaleski.
So how did you do with the TBR Triple Dog Dare? And what’s up for you post-Dare?
So far, what has made Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre great to me has been its perspective or, perhaps, “point of view” might be the better term. Bronte puts her novel firmly and confidently into the hands of her heroine using what is almost “stream of consciousness” before anyone had ever used the term (to my limited knowledge, anyway).
While Nelly Dean’s narration of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights is intriguing, Nelly knows significantly more about the inner thoughts and emotions of everyone involved in the story than is realistic. But I’m not sure complete realism is what Emily Bronte is going for in her only novel.
Charlotte, on the other hand, pulls the reader into one character and nothing in the novel is seen outside of the title character’s thoughts – at least not in Volume the First. I admit I’ve plunged into Volume the Second since starting this post and as the plot thickens, we get a little more point of view from another character. But I’ll save that for another post.
Here’s a nice example of Jane’s matter-of-fact practicality in a conversation she has with herself regarding her employer, Mr. Rochester:
“You have nothing to do with the master of Thornfield, further than to receive the salary he gives you for teaching his protege, and to be grateful for such respectful and kind treatment as, if you do your duty, you have a right to expect at his hands. Be sure that is the only tie he seriously acknowledges between you and him: so don’t make him the object of your fine feelings, your raptures, agonies, and so forth. He is not of your order: keep to your caste; and be too self-respecting to lavish the love of the whole heart, soul, and strength, where such a gift is not wanted and would be despised.”
I’m finding Jane’s conversations with herself to be quite enjoyable.
The final TBR Triple Dog Dare is sponsored by James at James Reads Books and here’s another update. The Dare requires participants to read only books that they already have during January, February and March. Only a few more weeks to go and while I can’t get too excited about how many books I’ve read during these months, the books I have read have been worth reading. In February, I completed Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, a classic that has been on my shelf for a long time. I’m glad to have added this to my “Books Read” list.
Currently, I’m in the middle of Emily’s sister Charlotte’s novel Jane Eyre. So far, I’m liking this one better but it’s taking even longer to get through it. Look for a post about “Volume The First” sometime soon. Reading the forewords and afterwords in these novels, has sparked an interest in the Bronte sisters. At some point this year, I might have to read a biography or two about this family of authors.
I received Andy Weir’s novel The Martian for my birthday last month so it will probably be the first book I read in April which at the rate I’m going will also be the book I read after Jane Eyre. If I, by chance, finish it before the end of March, my plan is to read some more Ray Bradbury short stories that are already on my shelf.
Are you currently taking the dare? If so, how is it going?