The Ebony Quill

Thoughts, reflections, and whimsies as I experience life

Reading Jane Eyre

Sorry for the delayed post; I’ve been under a spell for the last few days, fervently reading Jane Eyre.  I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and feel very connected to the protagonist, Jane.  Charlotte Brontë painted her characters beautifully, each with his or her own faults, history, hopes, and ambitions, and she shows the importance of taking control of one’s life and making one’s own decisions.  Jane’s respect for herself and strong adherence her principles defines her character and motivates her actions.  With several exciting surprises and plot twists, Brontë kept me constantly gasping, laughing, and sighing.

A movie adaptation of Jane Eyre was released earlier this year.  I am currently in the process of watching it, and thus far I am afraid that the movie version does not do Jane justice, or give her character the depth that I imagined she would have.  Mia Wasikowska may be a good actress in her own right, but I believe that the novelty of Jane was the fact that a young women of eighteen experienced emotions and events and made decisions likening her to a much more mature woman, and it takes a truly talented and experienced actress to be able to channel that mix of innocence and maturity of thought and action.  That being said, I have a more than a few complaints about the movie itself, and here’s where the Rant Begins:

I feel that the movie leaves out a great portion of Jane’s relationship with Mrs. Reed, her relationship with Helen Burns, and her eight crucial years at Lowood School.  Oh yes, I know that they can’t fit everything into a 2 hour movie, but the film practically flew over them in 20 minutes and skipped straight to Jane’s new situation as governess at Thornfield; no explanation, no narration, nothing.  And then there’s the whole love story deal.  Okay, I understand that audiences would rather watch the love story aspect of Jane Eyre than the serious, feminist facets of the tale, but Jane Eyre is not just a love story.  If it was, then Jane would have run away with Edward Rochester, traveled the world as his mistress, and would have been showered with all the things that she never wanted: jewelry, pretty clothing, luxury, etc.  And, on the opposite end of the spectrum, if it wasn’t at all about love, then Jane would have gone to India with St. John, a domineering man she could never love, regardless of how awe-inspiring he may have been.  No, Jane Eyre is about a young woman who adheres to her principles, her morals, and stays true to herself on the road to self-acceptance and self-respect.  A girl who waits for someone to accept her as she is: “a plain, Quakerish governess.”  Ultimately, that someone ends up being a newly humbled and wifeless Mr. Rochester.   Jane Eyre is a wonderful manifestation of the idea that if someone loves you, they’ll accept you just the way you are.  No changes necessary.  And that, at least, is my interpretation of it.  End Rant (sorry, I’m kinda passionate about these types of things).

Now to move on to another of the 15 books piled in a high, precarious tower on my bookshelf awaiting my attention.

***Oh, and more updates on the novel-writing process coming soon!  I’ve been terribly lazy lately–typical college student on break.  But I will let you know more about the trials and tribulations of an aspiring author (in-between my fantastic rants, of course)!


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