SeptembEYRE – Our First Week of Reading!

IMG_20130901_071408Oh, Jane, how I’ve missed you! As much as I love Jane Austen’s works, I think Jane Eyre is my favorite heroine ever. EVER. That’s quite a compliment and might change next week, but let’s go with it for now.

During this reread, I’m trying to discover just why I love Ms. Eyre so much. The first 11 chapters were assigned (that’s a terrible word choice) this past week and I flew through them in 1.5 days. These chapters cover Jane’s life from ages 10-18 as an orphan first in the household of her Aunt Reed – a major bitch – and then in Lowood School, a place for wayward orphans with no place else to go.

Jane is spirited, headstrong, and quick to act. She’s angry at her lot in the world – not so much her class or social standing – but rather with the evil people she’s forced to endure. She’s not meek at all. She prefers immediate retaliation and revenge against the wrongs done her than killing with kindness. Until she meets her dear friend Helen who teaches her all the things. I loved Helen and her death scene is just so moving.

Chapter Eleven brings us to Thornfield where we meet Adele and Mrs. Fairfax. Jane is taken with the house and its splendidly vast views. I like that Jane has worked on her own behalf to find herself a new position and has ambitions beyond her very insular childhood. We only have the vaguest notion of Mr. Rochester and only one instance of hysterical laughter so far. The foreshadowing is a little more overt than I remember.

Really excited to move forward in the story and continue down the path of madness that is to come! I’m remembering details in bits and pieces, but mostly the story feels fresh. I wish I had read Jane Eyre as a teenager in high school. I just think it’s such an immensely accessible Victorian classic – far more so than Dickens or Thackeray.

Onward we go!!!!

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14 thoughts on “SeptembEYRE – Our First Week of Reading!

  1. Definitely agree that this is a *very* accessible Victorian classic–reading it for the first time, I’m actually surprised it was never assigned to me in high school! Like you, I’m really liking Jane Eyre–what an opinionated (in a good way), fierce little girl. Looking forward to seeing her become an adult, but if the injustice she suffers as a child is any indication of what’s to come, I’m also a wee bit scared for her.

    • You know, I don’t actually remember too many particular details about her life/plot. I know the bigger stuff, but don’t remember how many obstacles she is sure to face. I want to push this on readers who claim Victorian literature is too high brow and hard to read.

  2. Onward indeed! I wish I’d read it in high school, too. Though, then I was still afraid of Victorian lit and flowery language and whatnot. Though I can’t help but think I would’ve still enjoyed it if only I’d tried. I remember my friend Erin reading and loving it then. Can’t wait to read/post more!

    • I was scared of the language in high school as well. It’s funny now when I reread classics I struggled with 10+ years ago and find them pretty easy to read. I guess that’s just what happens when you read ALL THE TIME.

  3. This is my first reading of Jane Eyre but I’ve heard the ‘vague rumors’ and I too felt the foreshadowing was quite overt, especially the reference to ‘Bluebeard’s castle’. (Coincidentally enough, this morning I read Thackeray’s Bluebeard’s Ghost, which made me smile in a nerdy-goofy way.)

  4. Poor little Helen Burns. She of the angelic nature, who blesses little Jane Eyre with some cool calm to quell her fiery temper. The little girl too good to live, the one who shone too brightly and too briefly, and never realized that she had done any of that at all. I can’t help but to always think of her so wistfully.

  5. Good afternoon, Brooke! 🙂

    I am celebrating being ‘back on schedule’ with the Septemb-Eyres!! Which is why I am dropping by to see your reactions! You’ll enjoy reading my post, because I, like you, love to trumpet a happy shout about the books that become nestled into my being!! 🙂 🙂 Helen’s death scene all but gutted me into oblivion all over again! 😦 😦 I was not quite prepared for this scene, and being that I come from the adaptation to the book, it was not something I was thinking would disturb me to the lengths that it did — when you read their friendship and how important and key Helen is to Eyre, at arriving at her life in just the right moment,… how can you not feel emotionally gutted!?

    I had my own fair share of frustrations in high school, which is why I didn’t read as many classics as I ought too, as I was knee deep in Crichton, Grisham, & Clancy! Laughs. Sci-fi and cowboy westerns were a mainstay as well! I think they fit my ‘mood’ of indifference! Laughs. I should have sunk into Victorian Gothic Lit!! Ahh, to look back,…

    I cannot say the language of the time put me off, as I did read quite a heap of Shakespeare whilst in school, and I was the girl who had to help her classmates with the interpretations! I loved his use of words to evoke haunting passages and to elicit emotion by the ink of this quills! In this way, I appreciate Bronte for giving us such a hearty reading!! There is everso much to ponder and absorb each step of the way!

    • My reading in high school was all over the place! I loved Stephen King and the Hannibal books by Thomas Harris (I think that’s who wrote them) – loved horror. Definitely didn’t read and enjoy Shakespeare in school – so kudos to you for being about to understand and love the man from an early age. Glad you got all caught up and are enjoying your reading. Jane’s so wonderful, isn’t she? Looking forward to continuing the journey!

  6. you can read Jane Eyre multiple times and still find something new in it. it has references to so many sub genres and so many themes. I read an interesting essay somewhere about the male/female dynamics and how Jane gets the upper hand of Rochester in the end

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