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Jane Eyre (Penguin Classics) Paperback – August 15, 2006
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"At the end we are steeped through and through with the genius, the vehemence, the indignation of Charlotte Brontë."
Cambridge Literature is a series of literary texts edited for study by students aged 14-18 in English-speaking classrooms. It will include novels, poetry, short stories, essays, travel-writing and other non-fiction. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
It’s the only reason I bothered to drag myself through the initial few chapters. And no, I am not saying it was all dreary, there were certainly sparks of excellence, but for the most part I was bored out of my mind.
So from that kind of a beginning to now, when I’ve finished the book, and I’m obsessed with it – it’s clearly been quite a turnaround, and now I can’t imagine giving this anything less than 5 glorious stars.
Sure, most of this has to do with a terrific second half, but in hindsight, I can see how the first half was as vital as the second to this wonderful wonderful story. Without the backstory, the second half wouldn’t have had the kind of impact it did.
This one truly is a masterpiece, but I’m getting ahead of myself, so let’s back up a bit here.
I know many people view this as an epic romance, a timeless love-story, and while it’s definitely one way of looking at it, I view this more as a ‘life story’. The tale of the evolution of a strong and independent female protagonist, a 19th century feminist, who was light years ahead of her time.
I do not think, sir, you have any right to command me, merely because you are older than I, or because you have seen more of the world than I have; your claim to superiority depends on the use you have made of your time and experience.
The author utilizes the first person narrative, which creates a high degree of intimacy with the character; it made me feel like I knew Jane as well as she comes to know her own self. And the more I knew her, the more I liked her.
I am not saying I agreed with everything that she thought or did. For instance, she sure had a strong moral compass, which is great, but was a little too preachy at times. And no, I am not judging her for that, just saying. At any rate, none of us can claim perfection, so I can hardly expect that from her.
Having said that, I do envy her strength of character in the face of tragedy and temptation.
Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be. If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth?
She did not to let love justify all the mistakes and wrong choices, and refused to let it blind her to everything else that was important for her sense of self-worth. And I LOVED her for this unwavering determination to stay true to herself!
I wish I could have declared with any degree of confidence that I would have acted in a similar manner too, but in all honesty, I cannot say that. Which is why I found her to be a very brave soul, to deny the first glimpse of happiness that she found in her life, which had so far essentially been one long tale of woe.
Read full review at SHANAYA TALES DOT COM.
"The Rev. Mr Brocklehurst speaks to Jane: `Do you know where the wicked go after death?' `They go to hell,' was my ready and orthodox answer. `And what is hell? Can you tell me that?' `A pit full of fire.' `And should you like to fall into that pit, and to be burning there for ever?' `No, sir.' `What must you do to avoid it?' I deliberated for a moment; my answer, when it did come, was objectionable: ` I must keep in good health, and not die.'"
No good outlining the plot - everybody knows about the mad wife in the attic - but it's the second half which has the surprises: Jane offering to go with the missionary to India, not as his wife but as his assistant, extraordinary for that day and age.
This is a really really good read for all ages; I get something new out of it every time. And a happy ending - what more can one ask?
I recently read Erin McCole Cupp's sci-fi retelling of Jane Eyre, The Memoirs of Jane E, Friendless Orphan. (It's available as a series of e-books - Unclaimed, Nameless, and Vanished - which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND.) After reading the modernized adaption, I was eager to re-read the original.
Here's where having a horrible memory pays off: I was able to enjoy details on the third go-round that I'd missed before or long forgotten. Additionally, reading Cupp's adaption brought new insights into the characters, circumstances, and salient points of Bronte's classic.
To me, Jane Eyre has what it takes to keep me re-reading. A strong heroine whose self-deprecation and poverty (not necessarily monetary poverty) make her relatable. A firm moral backbone. A bit of mystery with some surprising twists. And enough of the weird and eccentric to spark curiosity and interest.