This book formally commences my five-year long engagement with The Classics Challenge of The Classics Club, hosted at A Room of One’s Own. Yes, it’s both a club and a challenge. We have a Goodreads group wherein participants get or receive an invitation once their list of classics is submitted as an announcement to take on the challenge.
So yes, I started reading this last Friday, Good Friday, the observation of the death of Jesus Christ. A reader not accustomed to reading classics might see this as a sort of penitence, but surprisingly, it is not. The other book that I was reading was more painstaking than this one for I found Jane Eyre easier to read.
It only takes a few pages to get used to the language, which is not too archaic and which could have been conversational if today can be rewound during the 1800’s. A proof:
“You,” I said, “a favorite of Mr Rochester? You gifted with the power of pleasing him? You of importance to him in any way? Go! your folly sickens me. And you have derived pleasure from occasional tokens of preference–equivocal tokens, shown by a gentleman of family, and a man of the world, to a dependant and a novice. How dared you? Poor stupid dupe!–COuld not even self-interest make you wiser? You repeated to yourself this morning the brief scene of last night?–Cover your face and be ashamed! He said something in praise of your eyes, did he? Blind puppy! Open their bleared lids and look on your own accursed senselessness! It does good to no woman to be flattered by her superior, who cannot possibly intend to marry her; and it is madness in all women to let a secret love kindle within them, which, if unreturned and unknown, must devour the life that feeds it; and, if discovered and responded to, must lead, ignis-fatuus-like, into miry wilds whence there is no extrication.
And since I am so inclined to add another paragraph, here’s what follows:
“Listen, then, Jane Eyre, to your sentence: to-morrow, place the glass before you, and draw in chalk your own picture, faithfully; without softening one defect: omit no harsh line, smooth away no displeasing irregularity; write under it, ‘Portrait of a Governess, disconnected, poor, and plain.’
So you see, Jane Eyre is an orphan who grew up under the “graces” of her aunt, Mrs. Reed. She was sent away to a boarding school, and with some hardwork and patience, earned herself a job as a governess in Mr. Rochester’s household. I really do not want to talk about that, mostly because I’d rather talk of something else and partly because that’s already self-evident in the passages above.
I love the novel already! I’m only halfway through it, but I know that I’ll give this a super stellar rating. The funny thing is that I’ve already seen the film adaptation last year, which I did not watch with much attention because I still wanted to read this, and I’ve already read Wide Sargasso Sea, a reading àpropos to finishing Jane Eyre, if one is inclined to find out more about the characters of this novel. And reading Jean Rhys’s work is an even bigger spoiler, I think, than the film itself.
This only goes to show that I don’t mind these spoilers owing to the fact, mostly, that I don’t mind spoilers at all, and probably that’s why I spoil too much. But that is beside the point. My point is that the novel still manages to be a real page-turner, no dull moments, even if I know how the plot will twist and turn. Yes, I didn’t really watch the movie, which was played on DVD by my friends during a gathering. I barely listened to it but I can’t keep my eyes off it. Probably that helped, because I could summon the images whenever I go through the dialogues.
It probably also helps that Mia Wasikowska plays Jane Eyre, and Michael Fassbender is Mr. Rochester. Oh Mr. Rochester!
Date Started: April 6, 2012. 10:00 PM. Book #19 of 2012.
The Classics Challenge: Book #01 of 75.