334 of 365 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do not miss out on this book...
You know all those 'classic' novels you read in high school? How many of them do you actually remember? Well, if Jane Eyre was one of those long-forgotten books, pick up a copy. To read it as an adult is a joy: it's a sweeping, disturbing, intense, thrilling, very romantic gothic love story, written in the voice of a very intense, almost claustrophobically...
Published on February 28, 2000 by Anne-Kari
90 of 101 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I love Jane Eyre but the Footnotes Ruined It
Don't get me wrong, Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books. However, this version of Jane Eyre has millions of footnotes so you are forced to constantly flip back and forth to see if the footnotes are saying anything useful.
When the character Adele is speaking paragraphs of French, they don't bother translating it for you but they will gleefully tell you...
Published on August 26, 2004 by Albert Einstein
Most Helpful First | Newest First
334 of 365 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do not miss out on this book...,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Jane Eyre (Modern Library) (Hardcover)You know all those 'classic' novels you read in high school? How many of them do you actually remember? Well, if Jane Eyre was one of those long-forgotten books, pick up a copy. To read it as an adult is a joy: it's a sweeping, disturbing, intense, thrilling, very romantic gothic love story, written in the voice of a very intense, almost claustrophobically self-aware young heroine. Jane is no Ophelia - she's a complicated, remarkable character, and a very strong female character in a genre that usually draws women as beautiful victims at best.
There's something for everyone in this book: Windswept castles, difficult and neurotic family members, dark secrets about tragic former lovers, good triumphing over evil, all that good juicy stuff that makes a great romantic story. What elevates Jane Eyre is Bronte's remarkable style & skill and her sharp and complex characterizations.
Trust me on this: If you don't remember it from your teens, you should give it a try now. Here is one novel that more than lives up to it's 'classic' status.
233 of 261 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece For The Ages - Superb!!,
Charlotte Bronte's first published novel, and her most noted work, is a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story. Jane is plain, poor, alone and unprotected, but due to her fierce independence and strong will she grows and is able to defy society's expectations of her. This is definitely feminist literature, published in 1847, way before the beginning of any feminist movement. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the novel has had such a wide following since it first came on the market. It is also one of the first gothic romances published and defines the genre.
Jane Eyre, who is our narrator, was born into a poor family. Her parents died when she was a small child and the little girl was sent to live with her Uncle and Aunt Reed at Gateshead. Jane's Uncle truly cared for her and showed his affection openly, but Mrs. Reed seemed to hate the orphan, and neglected her while she pampered and spoiled her own children. This unfair treatment emphasized Jane's status as an unwanted outsider. She was often punished harshly. On one occasion her nasty cousin Jack picked a fight with her. Jane tried to defend herself and was locked in the terrifying "Red Room" as a result. Jane's Uncle Reed had died in this room a little while before, and Mrs. Reed knew how frightened she was of the chamber. Since Jane is the narrator, the reader is given a first-hand impression of the child's feelings, her heightened emotional state at being imprisoned. Indeed, she seems almost like an hysterical child, filled with terror and rage. She repeatedly calls her condition in life "unjust" and is filled with bitterness. Looking into the mirror Jane sees a distorted image of herself. She views her reflection and sees a "strange little figure," or "tiny phantom." Jane has not learned yet to subordinate her passions to her reason. Her passions still erupt unchecked. Her isolation in the Red Room is a presentiment of her later isolation from almost every society and community. This powerful, beautifully written scene never fails to move me.
Mrs. Reed decided to send Jane away to the Lowood School, a poor institution run by Mr. Brocklehurst, who believed that suffering made grand people. All the children there were neglected, except to receive harsh punishment when any mistake was made. At Lowood, Jane met Helen Burns, a young woman a little older than Jane, who guided her with vision, light and love for the rest of her life. Jane's need for love was so great. It really becomes obvious in this first friendship. Helen later died from fever, in Jane's arms. Her illness and death could have been avoided if more attention had been paid to the youths. Jane stayed at Lowood for ten years, eight as a student and two as a teacher. Tired and depressed by her surroundings, Jane applied for the position of governess and found employment at Thornfield. The mansion is owned by a gentleman named Edward Fairfax Rochester. Her job there was to teach his ward, an adorable little French girl, Adele. Over a long period the moody, inscrutable Rochester confides in Jane and she in him. The two form an unlikely friendship and eventually fall in love. Again, Jane's need for love comes to the fore, as does her passionate nature. She blooms. A dark, gothic figure, Rochester also has a heart filled with the hope of true love and future happiness with Jane. Ironically, he has brought all his misery, past and future, on himself.
All is not as it seems at Thornfield. There is a strange, ominous woman servant, Grace Poole, who lives and works in an attic room. She keeps to herself and is rarely seen. From the first, however, Jane has sensed bizarre happenings at night, when everyone is asleep .There are wild cries along with violent attempts on Rochester's life by a seemingly unknown person. Jane wonders why no one investigates Mrs. Poole. Then a strange man visits Thornfield and mysteriously disappears with Mr. Rochester. Late that night Jane is asked to sit with the man while the lord of the house seeks a doctor's help. The man has been seriously wounded and is weak from loss of blood. He leaves by coach, in a sorry state, first thing in the morning. Jane's questions are not answered directly. This visit will have dire consequences on all involved. An explosive secret revealed will destroy all the joyful plans that Jane and Rochester have made. Jane, once more will face poverty and isolation.
Charlotte Bronte's heroine Jane Eyre, may not have been graced with beauty or money, but she had a spirit of fire and was filled with integrity and a sense of independence - character traits that never waned in spite of all the oppression she encountered in life. Ms. Bronte brings to the fore in "Jane Eyre" such issues as: the relations between men and women in the mid-19 century, women's equality, the treatment of children and of women, religious faith and hypocrisy (and the difference between the two), the realization of selfhood, and the nature of love and passion. This is a powerhouse of a novel filled with romance, mystery and passions. It is at once startlingly fresh and a portrait of the times. Ms. Bronte will make your heart beat faster, your pulse race and your eyes fill with tears. The Best!!
90 of 101 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I love Jane Eyre but the Footnotes Ruined It,
When the character Adele is speaking paragraphs of French, they don't bother translating it for you but they will gleefully tell you what's going to happen one-hundred pages later in the book.
Reading this version of Jane Eyre is like watching a movie with an over-enthusiatic friend who keeps talking through the whole movie and telling you what's going to happen. If you're going to read Jane Eyre, I would reccomend different version
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Abridged :(,
This review is from: Jane Eyre (Audio CD)I will agree that this performance is given with sensitivity to the voice of Jane Eyre and of Charlotte Bronte, but alas it's an abridged version. The above listing does not give any indication of this, consequently I was very disappointed when it arrived. I personally have no use for abridged books. When I pick up a book (print or audio) I want to experience the entire book. Abridged books always leave me feeling cheated, wondering what did I miss?
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! Loved it!,
Jane Eyre is an orphaned child under the guardianship of her maternal aunt. Not liked by her aunt and not able to get along with her cousins, Jane is sent to Lowood School for the children of the poor (it is a charity school) to be taught the fundamentals and, more importantly, to be conditioned for a life of poor expectations. Lowood changes the strong willed, impetuous Jane into a woman of uncommon restraint. When she accepts a post as governess to Adele at Thornfield Hall, she attracts the attention of Mr. Rochester, the master of the house, who has the desire to reclaim himself from a sordid past. He comes to believe that Jane has the power to transform him and help him to realize himself in the better light that he has not heretofore been able to achieve on his own. But his secrets are not far away and peculiar events at Thornfield make the reader question his advances. Sworn not to ask about who or what is in the room on the third floor, Jane's iron resolve begins to falter with the dreamlike romance and the reader begins to trepiditiously hope for her happiness. When Mr. Rochester is unable to keep his past under wraps, however, Jane is forced onto a path that will require all of her internal resources to survive but will ultimately put her in the position to make choices for herself rather than just choose among available options. The question is, with her conditioning, can she lead with her heart instead of her head?
My only legitimate greivance, and given only in the vein of humour, is that is seems like Jane would have taught Adele some English. The child speaks only in French and myself not being able to read French, I did not understand anything the child ever said. Luckily, her exuberance and intent still comes through and the reader can develop a softness for the child without understanding her dialogue.
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Story Sublime,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Of course, love stories are the common denominator of human existence and have been the subject of literature since mankind first put charcoal to rock, so the fact that Jane Eyre is a love story is nothing terribly significant. No, what makes this novel so special is the thoughtfulness with which its narrator, Jane Eyre herself, documents her love affair. She is extremely intelligent, she carefully analyzes her feelings and actions, and she is scrupulously honest with both herself and her reader. This is what sets it apart: it is the depth of these thoughts and feelings that make the novel interesting. Beyond that, though, it is the character of Jane, slowly revealed, that makes the novel a delight.
The plot is Jane's story. Orphaned, she is sent to live with her cruel aunt and cousins. At the age of ten she is sent away for good to a charity school, at which she gets her education, but which is run in such a miserly fashion that many of the students there actually die of disease and starvation. Jane survives, and at the age of eighteen, is able to secure a position as a governess to a child in a great house of England: Thornfield Hall. It is owned by Edward Rochester, the man who will become the centerpiece of her life.
How the two begin to slowly realize their affection for one another, how they then cautiously begin to act on their feelings, and how they must then surmount the obstacles in their path--both societal and self-inflicted--are what make up the bulk of the novel. There are at least a few surprises along the way. The strong-willed Jane's moral code requires that she respond to these difficulties in certain ways. It is to the novel's and the author's great credit that these decisions are never simply made; Jane agonizes over them in heart-wrenching fashion. As in life, the standards one chooses to live by can be difficult to maintain.
This defining tension is what drives the novel, but that it is delivered in such a skillful and assured way is what raises it to its lofty status. The dialogue, particularly, is fantastic. It is the stuff of an actor's dream: much of it can be interpreted in several different ways. Jane describes Rochester as being moody and tempestuous, and he often is, but at the same time--particularly after Jane agrees to marry him--he is hilariously wry and bemused. Jane comes across as being earnest and pleading, but she can be very playful and is often flirtatious. As mentioned above, these are deep, achingly human characters.
The setting is also very evocative. The English countryside, class system and moral understanding were obviously familiar to those who read the book in Ms. Bronte's day, and probably familiar to many of us in this day and age. Nevertheless, Ms. Bronte took the time to document these things carefully. The descriptions of Rochester's home, the lanes in front if it and its orchards and fields; the destitute and grimly cold school for girls; and the small country town where Jane makes the acquaintance of a small group of benefactors towards the end of the novel are all a testament to life as it existed at this distant time and age.
The novel is looked upon as a classic and should be. Ms. Bronte not only created a beautiful piece having to do with the nature of love--personal to her but universal in nature--but did so in such a spectacular way that she actually makes the reader feel this love, both for her creation, and for her.
68 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a young woman's book that transcends feminism and dogma,
By A Customer
This review is from: Jane Eyre (Courage Classic) (Hardcover)I first read this book when I was ten and reread it every decade as a special treat to myself. It is one of the great classics of English literature. It is, essentially, a Cinderella story, and I STRONGLY recommend it as an andidote to the Woman-Hear-Me-Roar (or is it "Girl Power"?) stuff being pushed on young ladies nowadays as a means to making the sex strong. The story begins when the heroine, Jane Eyre, is a young orphan of about nine, and follows her through school and her career as a governess in a wealthy but mysterious man's home. She falls in love, learns of an impediment to her immediate gratification, does the right thing and suffers for her pains, but in the end is rewarded for her suffering. Very irrelevant to the late twentieth century, obviously. Charlotte Bronte (the author) is frquently encountered around the same time in life one encounters Dickens--youth--but, like Dickens, she most definitely wrote for adults. Therefore, the book is probably a difficult read for all but the most tenacious middle schooler, but as it begins from the very real, very painful point of view of a powerless child, it has a good hook to draw in the young reader. Its literary style is Romantic, with the liberal use of semi-colons, inverted sentences, and detailed descriptions. This book is a MUST for all well-educated young ladies--the next step after Little Women and before the Jane Austen novels. And sorry for the gender stereotyping; I'm sure there are boys and men out there who read this book and loved it, but I never met one.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Bold New vision...,
This review is from: Jane Eyre (Movie Tie-in Edition) (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)I'm going to try to keep this short and sweet,I'm rating the movie-tie in edition not the story its self.
Now with Jane Eyre being my #1 favorite book of all time, I'm very excited about the new adaptation coming out next month. I thought this movie tie-in edition would be worth picking up, since it's suppose to have a ton of extras including the story behind the story, John Maynard on Jane's sexual awakening, John G. Peters on Jane's otherness etc(Which I found listed in the table of contents on bn.com). The extras and the nice cover were my only reasons for buying it, seeing as I already own a copy of the Barnes & Noble classics version of the book.
Now to my surprise and disappointment all the extras that I looked forward to reading seemed to be jam packed into two pages and not really all that interesting.But there is hope,if you buy the ebook version you get a copy of the screenplay by Moira Buffini(Which is why it gets 4 stars). In my opinion after reading the screenplay it is worth the $6.36 and a nice treat for those of us who are impatiently awaiting the release for this bold new vision on Jane.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I Must Resist Those Who Punish Me Unjustly...",
Charlotte Bronte's story begins with Jane as a young girl, living unloved and neglected amongst the untouchable splendour of Gateshead and the Reed family. Jane's only escape is in her love of books and learning, for her spiteful aunt and cousins have no control over the power of her mind - though reading must be done on the sly as John Reed will stoop so far as to deprive her of books he has no interest in himself. When such an event occurs, Jane summons up the spirit to defend herself against her cousin and is duly punished for it. Estranged from human company, her aunt orders her locked in the red room, the chamber in which her uncle dies and which holds imaginary horrors for Jane. This terrifying experience is the catalyst of her childhood which will be remembered in all frightening and unnatural occurrences henceforth in her life.
Relief from her extended family comes only when she is called away to school, and despite the poor living conditions and the zealous religious restrictions of Lowood School's patron Mr Brocklehurst, Jane finds a new outlook on life through her somewhat sentimental friendship with the pious Helen Burns. Amazed at Helen's patience and resilience with teachers that constantly heckle and beat her, Jane discovers Helen's devotion to God which puts to shame her own practice of fighting back at those who wrong her. An important stage in her inner growth, Jane takes upon herself Helen's teachings, survives illness at the school and enters the world as a governess.
It is here that the story begins proper (not that the proceedings are unimportant), as Jane takes up a governess position for the young ward of Mr Rochester at Thornfield, stretching her wings for the first time. Here she befriends the elderly housekeeper Fairfax and her young charge Adele, and finally comes to meet her master, the intimidating and elusive Mr Rochester. Sharing a prickly and awkward acquaintance at first, Rochester soon recognises the intelligence and wittiness hiding behind Jane's modesty and plainness. Respect turns to friendship, and from there comes the first inklings of love...
But something is amiss in Thornfield in the novel's most overtly Gothic thread. Jane becomes increasingly aware of sinister goings-on in the house: mad laughter rings throughout the halls at night. Mr Rochester's bedchamber is set alight and only Jane's quick action saves him from death. A stranger arrives at the house whose presence upsets Rochester and who is found badly wounded that very night. Jane suspects the quirky housemaid Grace Poole, but ultimately this mystery has a far more devastating answer, which once more upturns Jane's life and ambitions.
Charlotte Bronte's heroine is one of literature's most unique and introspective characters; an ever evolving and maturing individual, who constantly searches her soul and conscious for meaning and identity. Jane's self control is remarkable, as his her ability to rationalise problems and follow through with the decisions that she makes. By today's standards, where self-indulgence and reward-systems are the norm, Jane's state of mind is like a bucket of cold water over the head. When the moment of Jane's great choice comes, she reacts exactly as should be expected, not as some overly-virtuous, too-good-to-be-true Victorian girl. Unlike other heroines, who might be repulsed or frightened at Rochester's offer, Jane is very sorely tempted. It is from herself and the knowledge of her own weakness that she flees, not from Rochester and his pleas. In this moment the strength of her conviction and will-power is sure to impress.
It is important to know that this is not just a romance novel, though it is certainly the driving force of the latter half of the novel. What is most fascinating about the relationship between Jane and Rochester is the complex power struggle that goes on between them, something that often does away with romantic disillusions and deals with the practical and often uncomfortable components of attachment. Mr Rochester is Jane's employer, her social superior and a man considerably older than our teenage protagonist, yet Jane is constantly attempting to exert a sense of control over him and her feelings for him, knowing the cost that would come in succumbing to the man she describes as nearly taking the place of Almighty God in her estimation. The games they play with each other, the testing and the intrigues formed between them are riveting stuff and explore the darker power-struggles of male and female relationships that are almost always lost in typical romance novels. Bronte creates an astonishing amount of equality between the two lovers, for as the novel progresses Rochester becomes more and more reliant on Jane.
Jane Eyre is in many ways a feminist novel, addressing to its contemporary audience the drudgery and monotony of female existence that "confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags". Jane's `adventures' through school and into the world of employment, her experiences of passionate love and destitution in the wilderness, reflect Charlotte Bronte's own struggles in a man's world. Most (if not all) of the men that Jane meets in her travels attempt to control her in one way or another, and Jane is constantly fighting to walk her own path. As she says at the crucial point in her life: "I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself." The loneliness apparent in this passage, and the aloneness in which she spends most of her time is what makes the character of Jane so memorable - here is girl that has no one to look out for her but herself, and yet she keeps her kindness, faith and honour without falling into self-pity or bitterness.
"Jane Eyre" is one of those classic books that everyone's heard of - but it's up to you to take the next step and read it for yourself.
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent,
Jane, the heroine, is an orphan, being raised by her cruel Aunt Reed. Tired of her troublesome charge, Mrs. Reed sends Jane to board at Lowood Charity School, where she discovers a new way of life, sometimes as cruel as her time at Gateshead, sometimes full of friendship and laughter. Presently, she accepts the job of Governess to the precocious daughter of Mr. Rochester in Thornfield Hall, and falls in love. She discovers inner strength and self-worth through the redemptive power of that love.
Unlike the novels of Jane Austen, Bronte's heroine is from an underprivileged class, and the mood of this story is generally sombre. However, compared to 'Shirley', or Emily Bronte's masterpiece 'Wuthering Heights', 'Jane Eyre' takes what is essentially a sorrowful tale and imbues it with vivid, if brief, descriptions of happiness and love. A sense of belonging pervades the latter half of the story, thrown into high relief by several traumatic events, and culminating in Jane achieving her heart's true desire - a family of her own.
It's a more straightforward and rewarding book than most 19th century epics, and for that, it's a better way of introducing oneself to 19th century literature. Bronte's acute awareness of the complexities of human emotion is palpable, and her heroine Jane displays a sense of isolation and self-reliance not found in many other novels, contemporary or otherwise. This is the hook, this is what draws the reader to the character of Jane, she is hard and self-sufficient, without resorting to bitterness or introversion. This subtle contrast forces us to empathise with Jane's plight, and we are all the more satisfied by the story's end.
Basically a love story played out against the backdrop of harsh, austere 19th century rural England, 'Jane Eyre' is a book you will return to, again and again. It's romantic, gothic, sparse and, conversely, lush, and truly deserving of its status as Classic. Buy it.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (Paperback - May 5, 2009)