Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Charlotte Brontë’s undisputed classic has been sitting on my shelf for many years now, but despite the numerous recommendations I received and demands that I just read it already, I left it languish there for quite a while. You see, I really did not care for Charlotte’s sister’s book, Wuthering Heights, and I made the erroneous assumption that the sisters’ books must be similar. Not true in the least.

Brontë’s novel begins with ten-year-old Jane Eyre being sent away from Gateshead by her horrid Aunt Reed to Lowood School, where parson Brocklehurst demands piety of his charges but leaves them threadbare and hungry while his family lives in the lap of luxury. She eventually leaves Lowood School to become a governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage.

Because of my reservations, I found that this book was surprisingly enjoyable! The emotion conveyed within its pages is truly wonderful, and I found myself being moved by the story within the pages. I loved that Mr. Rochester and Jane both have their faults, are considered kind of ugly or plain, and how their characters evolved over time.

Historical context is something I struggled to keep in mind though. I was frustrated with Jane’s quest for independence because her moving from Mr. Rochester’s house to living with the River’s family didn’t really feel like independence to me. But then I realized that I was projecting my twenty-first century expectations on a woman living in the nineteenth century, and my frustrations with her were (mostly) dissipated.

This is the second book I read on my new iPad; the first was A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh. But this was the first novel I’ve read on an eReader and I found it to be a really enjoyable experience. My printed copy of Jane Eyre was, in part, part of the reason that it took me so long to read this book. The print was ridiculously tiny and it was a great strain on my eyes every time I tried to read it in print form. But with my iPad, I was able to increase the font and enjoy F. H. Townsend’s original illustrations.

Others’ Thoughts:

Book Mentioned:

  • Brontë, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. Salt Lake City, UT: Project Gutenberg, 2010. Originally published 1847. eBook. 718 pgs. ISBN: XXXXXXXXXXXXX. Source: Free download.
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6 thoughts on “Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

  1. Heh, those links to my posts! I know, I went a little crazy ;)

    I’m glad you enjoyed this one so much. I like that about ereaders too, the ability to change the font, etcetera. I really like my ereader for reading classics. Not that I have a fancy iPad or anything.

    • Just a bit. ;-)

      I love that I can download classics on my iPad (or the Kindle I would have gotten had my brother not received an iPad and my family not wanted to keep it ‘fair’) because I have so many classics and don’t have to worry about them taking up so much room on my shelves or in my backpack.

  2. I agree, sometimes it’s difficult to stop pushing our XXII century view on books… I wonder what readers in 100 years will think of our books. What will they find annoying and shocking?

  3. I read Jane Eyre first, and erroneously assumed Emily’s book would be like Charlotte’s. :-)

    This is one of my favorites.

  4. I only scanned your review because Jane Eyre has just taken up residence on my nightstand. I’ve gotten this far in life knowing only the bare bones of the plot, so I don’t want to inadvertently learn something about it before I read it myself! I am, however, really happy you liked it and am looking forward to reading it all the more.

  5. I’ve really got to reread this! I love it so much. I’m glad you finally got through it and enjoyed it. I too didn’t find much in Wuthering Heights. I had to read it no less than three times for various classes and it never moved me in any way whatsoever.

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