Year 9 Reviews of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
When my English teacher first announced we were to read Jane Eyre, everyone sighed and were not in the least excited. Reader, I was wrong. Strong, independent, and fiery characters such as Jane are ones that live in your mind throughout life; she had lived through neglect and abuse but learnt admirable qualities like forgiveness and rationality. The novel itself is vivacious and beautifully written, and explores themes of trauma, love, mystery and independence. Even if you don’t agree with all the choices the characters make, you can enjoy and appreciate the questions the book raises and the emotions it makes you feel. ‘I am no bird, and no net ensnares me’, is just one example of a quote that shows Jane’s unique persona, especially considering the harsher conditions women were condemned to; Jane Eyre is an icon, bold and not afraid to voice her opinions - something I believe we should all aspire to be.
I recall my first moments reading Jane Eyre, thinking ‘Well this is just another long classic, it’ll be the same as all the other classic books’. But, I was proved to be wrong. Jane Eyre is a book that covers almost all the themes in it; love, mystery, death and independence. The book had peaks and downfalls, especially with Jane and Mr Rochester’s relationship, but that’s what made it intriguing - a voice urging you to flick through the next chapters. In this book Jane gains her independence by being outspoken and quick-witted. I especially liked the part where Jane leaves Thornfield Hall, after Mr Rochester asks her to be his mistress. This was a powerful move, stating that Jane didn't rely on a man and that she made her own decisions. The ending, however, was a bit disappointing. Jane runs back to Ferndean Manor, where Mr Rochester is staying. They end up reuniting and getting married, even having a child a few years later. I thought the ending was cliche for a story that promotes feminism and independence.
1848, that was 175 years ago. Furthermore, it was the date the novel Jane Eyre was released. Though written so long ago, in a different era, this novel still resonates with so many people today. Jane’s story, although slightly dated - no one has governesses anymore, has lasted the gruelling test of time. That on its own shows the outstanding quality of Bronte’s words. Jane - the narrator and main character, whom the story follows - grew up a poor orphan and was eventually given her happy ending. The hope in her storyline allows readers to dream about how their life will be and actually believe those dreams may come true, and that there is a brighter future ahead. Everyone needs a little hope sometimes, and that’s what the novel gives to the reader.
The one thing I feel I must give Bronte credit for is the exquisite and expressive writing style in which she tells the questionable story with. Her beautiful long metaphors and descriptive paragraphs are dream-like, imaginative, and symbolic, which makes the perfect book to some. However, in my eyes, the plot ruins all of that. No matter how hard I try, I cannot look past the cliched encounters and predictable ending. From the moment Jane helps Mr Rochester after he falls off his horse, one can easily and surely predict that he will be the one she is to marry, and be correct. Watching Jane through the pages, once again being manipulated by Mr Rochester, is more suffering than I have ever experienced when reading any other book. Mr Rochester is not some tormented soul ,who has realised the error of his ways, no - he is a manipulative man, who, as Jane fully knows, has had multiple affairs, abandoned his child, and locked his wife in an attic for 15 years! Jane’s character arc made it seem as though she would amount to more than this man’s wife.