Oh, 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!!!!