Friday, December 01, 2006

Jane Eyre

It's been an incredibly busy week, but I managed to finish a second reading of Jane Eyre on Tuesday. I first read the novel while an undergraduate many years ago. I experienced the novel in different ways this time.

I was most struck with the independent, fiery nature of Jane. Written in 1847, there are passages like this: "Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do...It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex."

There is also the fabulous short sentence that begins the final chapter: "Reader, I married him." In the introduction to my edition, written by Joyce Carol Oates, Oates comments how this is significant - Jane does not say, "He married me," but "I married him."

Go Jane!


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