Jane Eyre Read Along: Week 4

Jane finally makes friends! Granted it takes becoming a beggar and several days with no food, but she does it. At one point, St. John tells her that she is a passionate person, and social, which until that point had not occurred to me. Jane, to me, has seemed to enjoy being an observer, but then I realized she needed people who were intellectually equal to her.

imageIt also makes a point about the time period that St. John suggests a lowly job will make her unhappy BECAUSE of its lack of socialization opportunities. Basically, the poor had lonelier, less social jobs, while wealthy women socialized professionally. Jane, as an in-between character, is able to show readers both sides of this, which is very cool.

Then she becomes a teacher in the town’s school for girls. Her benefactor, Rosamond Oliver, comes occasionally to help her teach. I love that she gets referred to as a visitress. There is much debate as to whether we should do away with words like actress and waitress and just make the masculine form of the word gender neutral, but visitress is such a cool word! I would love to walk into someone’s house and hear, “the visitress is here!” Geekettes, let’s make that happen.

This is followed by her only friends in the world becoming her family. This seemed a little contrived to me. It just worked out a little bit too well. However, along with this new family comes new money! Jane is rich! Color me jealous.

imageAfter a short happy time with her cousins, there’s a really creepy section where Jane’s now cousin, St. John, proposes to her in order to get her to go on mission trips with him. This is one of the only times Jane kind of concedes to someone else, which I think makes him even creepier. He knows he holds some power over her, and he abuses it and calls it God’s work. Honestly, I feel that the religious rants in this novel have been Charlotte BrontĂ« getting out all the Christian guilt she was raised with, as the daughter of a clergy man.

FINALLY, Jane runs to Mr. Rochester and they get married and live happily ever after. Except for his one hand and his eye. What I really like about this ending is it isn’t “proposal, final kiss, the end.” It’s Eyre telling the story from ten years into the marriage. I still can’t say I’m a fan of Edward Rochester, but because Jane loves him and is happy with him, I found myself enamored at the end of this book. I like that Rochester found some humility.

Overall thoughts on Jane Eyre:

The writing was unquestionably amazing. There were bits of conversation that dragged down the story, and a lot of God talk. I definitely understand now why people declare Jane an amazing female protagonist, but no one wants a Mr. Rochester the same way people want a Mr. Darcy. I intend to watch a few versions of the movie, and listen to the soundtrack of the musical now.

What do you think of the book? Love it? Hate it? Let me know in the comments!

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One thought on “Jane Eyre Read Along: Week 4

  1. The thing I love best about the ending of Jane Eyre is that Jane doesn’t settle for a relationship until it is an equal relationship.
    Even though she loved Rochester all along, she got up the strength to leave him, because she was unwilling to be his inferior (due to his wealth, his status as her employer, and the fact that she’d be a second wife while the first was still living).
    She goes out, proves to herself that she can be independent, earns some money of her own and returns to Rochester on more equal footing and without having to compromise her values.

    That’s a pretty strong message for women, not just in the 1800s but also today–you don’t have to settle just to find love. It’s still possible to find love while maintaining your values and independence.

    I, too, am not a huge fan of Mr. Rochester himself. But I was definitely satisfied by the ending.

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