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Hilary

Jane Eyre

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There only seems to be a thread about this in regard to its being post-colonial or otherwise. It surely needs a more general thread?! :confused:

 

I've just started reading it these last few minutes. I have seen a play of it but am unsure whether I have actually read it before. I thought I had, but a few pages in and I'm still not sure.

 

(really troubled by the 'its' in my first sentence. I'm having an apostrophe wobble and can't decide where it should go. Someone will know, I am sure...)

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:) I think it's its', Hilary, but I'm not 100% on that. David?

 

I love Jane Eyre. I only read it for the first time last year and it's the first classic novel I've read where the 'hero' is really quite dangerous, a bad boy, so to speak. I know Austen wrote bad boys, but not in the direct way that CB wrote Rochester. He's the mid-point between Darcy and Heathcliff for me.

 

It does have it's faults: it can be very melodramatic in places and the religious overtones towards the end grated on me, but it's such an exciting, romantic read that it's easy to firgive those faults.

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Should it not just be 'it' without the 's' ?

 

I have loved Jane Eyre for more years than I can remember, and it reads differently each time I revisit it.

 

In my pre- and early teens I was just interested in the love story, and for years the parts between Jane running away from Thornfield Hall, and 'hearing' Mr Rochester call her might just as well not have been written.

 

Gradually I came to appreciate the convolutions of the plot and the relationships between Jane, Mrs Reid and the Rivers family (Oh, but that set of coincidences must annoy Slow Rain!), and to see how life at Lowood School, and the time spent with the Rivers family contributed to the development of Jane's character.

 

I get quite annoyed at versions of the story that minimise or omit these parts.

 

I must read it again!

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No apostrophe needed to mark possession. The possesser is Jane Eyre and the use of 'its' refers back to that.

 

ETA - Though I am sure David will come back with something far more accurate...

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As regards the 'it' question, meg's got it right - there's not really a sense of possession in the sentence because of 'being', which gives a basic subject/verb agreement: it being post-colonial. If you'd phrased it as 'because of its post-colonialism' that would involve possession, in which case there would be no apostrophe. 'Its' is an exception to the possessive rule: it never takes an apostrophe to indicate that. 'It's' can only ever be an abbreviation of 'it is'.

 

As for Jane Eyre, yes, I enjoy it too, although I've always preferred Wuthering Heights in the Bronte canon. I find the characterisation interesting, complex and satisfying, and Rochester works well.

 

He's the mid-point between Darcy and Heathcliff for me.

 

I think that's an excellent way of putting it! The Brontes clearly liked their dark and brooding male protagonists (they had no time for Jane Austen, as it happens!) and I can relate to that.

 

I found the sudden shifting of ground when Jane goes away and the St John storyline unfolds a tad too jarring, actually, and there is something about the ending that I find uncomfortable. Yes, it all works in terms of a sin being paid for and so overcoming a seemingly insurmountable barrier, but all the same...

 

 

Is it actually a sliver of male pride that means I don't like seeing Rochester almost emasculated in his blindness and having lost a hand, being made dependent on Jane? Am I uncomfortable that Jane's 'destiny' is to look after Rochester? I'm not quite sure, but it leaves me uneasy!

 

 

A great book, though, skilfully told.

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Well, the ' sparked a discussion anyway. Thanks for your thoughts on that, I was really troubled. :(

 

I'm only a few pages in to Jane Eyre fresh from finishing Northanger Abbey and am finding the style more difficult to read and understand with the distractions of three children bimbling about the place. I had no trouble concentrating on the 'lighter' NA but JE was troublesome. Will have to wait until the peeps go to bed and have another go.

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Well, the ' sparked a discussion anyway. Thanks for your thoughts on that, I was really troubled. :(

 

I'm only a few pages in to Jane Eyre fresh from finishing Northanger Abbey and am finding the style more difficult to read and understand with the distractions of three children bimbling about the place. I had no trouble concentrating on the 'lighter' NA but JE was troublesome. Will have to wait until the peeps go to bed and have another go.

 

If you can get through Heart of Darkness, Hilary, Jane Eyre should be a piece of cake (well, a slight exaggeration perhaps).

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I *ahem* haven't finished Heart of Darkness yet...my other books arrived and I got distracted by 'something less boring instead' as the old tv programme used to say....

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There only seems to be a thread about this in regard to its being post-colonial or otherwise. It surely needs a more general thread?! :confused:
I'm sure there has been one before the crash.

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Hi Everyone

Lovely posts on JE. I'd like to add a bit to the conversation since this is one of my favorite books and I have read 2 bios and 1 fictionalized study of the Bronte family.

 

If i am repeating things you already know and/or discussed forgive me please I guess I missed that part of the discussion.

 

What I take away from the book is CB's (Currer Bell) talent and imagination to pen such a story based on little real life experience. The sisters were pretty much prisoners of their father and his cold world. CB knew about governesses because of her sister's horrendous experience as one. Thus after Jane goes through her painful experiences with her aunt/cousins; being sent to the 'Red Room where her kind uncle died; Mr. Brocklehurst practically kidnapping her to Lowood a prison indeed; the loss of her only friend and ally Ellen who showed courage and conviction that Jane was able to incorporate into her life. She became a teacher and then went on to be a governess.

 

We know that governesses had no standing on the social ladder. They were not considered servants and not considered part of the inner circle of the family she worked for. For Jane this was and wasn't a problem, especially since Rochester was so often away. Their love took time to blossom and was a difficult relationship. Rochester was considerably older than Jane and she was so innocent and vulnerable. Nevertheless after test after test the two declare their love and decide to marry. That's when the strange things begin to happen. Bertha is the madwoman in the attic, where wealthy families kept the insane, but she is also very smart and sly. She represents the larger mores of a gentleman not marrying beneath his station. She is dangerous as a marriage of that kind could be. She is also Rochester's secret and his burden.

 

Aside from Bertha's brother stopping the wedding the idea of gentry marrying a lowly governess was unheard of. Take her to bed ... oh yes that was allowed, but never raise her above her station. CB had a sense of these things and as the sheltered daughter of a religious fanatic at some point she has to bring religion into the story. Otherwise it makes no sense. As a Victorian novel it must be read with the standards of its time ... I know I sometimes want to insert contemporary actions into what seems so foolish and cruel.

 

Once JE leaves Rochester she is absolutely at the mercy of nature and her own demons. She is blown from pillar to post until she becomes of her new family. Now here is where some people get frustrated with the plot. But remember in Victorian gothic novels things like the lightening splitting the tree the night before the wedding or discovering St.John and his sisters are her distant cousins is exactly what Victorians expected to read. So when Jane "hears" Rochester "call her" CB wrote what she knew about the stories of her time.

 

When she comes home to him he is blind and can't use his right hand. This too is symbolic ... they couldn't come together as they were ... but now Jane is more mature and Rochester is no longer the moody and dashing lothario. They are on an equal footing and thus their love can now be expressed to each other honestly and to the public when they marry.

 

I apologize for this being so long and yet so many symbols and images left out. Some people see JE as a 'romance novel' which it is not, at least in the sense of romance novels in our time. Rather it is a complicated romantic novel

of great worth and remains one of the 19TH century's finest works.

 

If you got this far I hope you enjoyed my "lesson" lol lol lol I sorta get very excited about certain writers and their work. I hope you all enjoy(ed) JE.

 

GERBAM

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Just out of interest, why in books of this era do they refer to places as ________shire or the town of B__________. The Brontes all seem to do it and I've never known why. Does anyone know? I find myself trying to piece together all the clues to try to work out where they might mean and it detracts from the story! :rolleyes:

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Just out of interest, why in books of this era do they refer to places as ________shire or the town of B__________. The Brontes all seem to do it and I've never known why. Does anyone know? I find myself trying to piece together all the clues to try to work out where they might mean and it detracts from the story!

Several reasons, really. Firstly, it avoided the problem of having to be rigorously accurate, so if Austen had the ______shire Regiment visiting a town, there would be no danger of some smart Alec saying, "Ah, but they didn't, doncha know!" Research wasn't so easy then, especially if you were a woman!

 

Also, it avoided any hassle from people in said towns or in said regiments who might take umbrage at anything that seemed critical. This might have been less a problem for the likes of the Brontes, but there was such a large amount of satirical writing against the government, etc., that this became a key practice that authors often just fell into because everyone did it.

 

Finally, books such as Jane Eyre are passing themselves off as 'genuine' autobiographies, so if you veil the places involved it adds a gloss of authenticity, as if you want to guard the people involved in the story.

 

Generally, one of those habits that stuck!

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Thanks, Gerbam, for such a great explanation about GB. And also thanks to David, I thought something like this, as well. I've seen it with many authors from this period, Anthony Trollope comes to my mind even though he also invented a whole new county of his own.

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I picked up the Radio Times yesterday evening to see if there was anything worth watching - to find that I had missed all but the last few minutes of the 1996 film of Jane Eyre :mad:

 

I switched it on just as Jane is making herself known to the blind Rochester - just in time for the "Her very fingers!" "her small, slight fingers!" speech. Even those few words brought a lump to my throat.

Of course, they didn't make enough of that meeting - they never do, but I find it the most tender, moving and romantic scene in the book.

I want to linger over it, not dash straight on to 'Reader I married him', and the details of wedding, his recovery and domestic bliss.

 

But then, I'm a sentimental old fool :rolleyes:

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I think they have yet to make a good film version of Jane Eyre. The various version just now don't really do any justice to the book and the makers of these films tend to play heavy on certain aspects that tend not to be the important ones to readers. Maybe one day they will get it right.

 

I did see a good theatre production of it last year that was extremely powerful but even then it focused on the 'madwoman in the attic' and had the Bertha character thrashing about in the attic for the whole play, while the other action took place below her. It was as good as it gets, but still not quite there.

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Finally, books such as Jane Eyre are passing themselves off as 'genuine' autobiographies, so if you veil the places involved it adds a gloss of authenticity, as if you want to guard the people involved in the story.

 

Some of the places probably needed to be genuinely veiled. Charlotte based Lowood school on her own experiences at Cowan Bridge School. Four of the sisters, Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte and Emily were sent there as young children (Maria was 10, Emily was 5). Poor sanitation and poor food contributed to the deaths of the two oldest girls, Maria and Elizabeth, who were sent home with tubercolosis, of which they died a few months later. Charlotte based Helen Burns on Maria. She also based Mr Brocklehurst on The Rev Carus Wilson.

 

In case anyone hasn't seen it, I thought I'd post a link to a photograph of Charlotte, taken on her honeymoon. She based Jane Eyre physically on herself, calling herself plain, but I think she's pretty.

 

http://mick-armitage.staff.shef.ac.uk/anne/charlott.jpg

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Thanks for the photo, Amanda: I haven't seen it before! There's definitely something about her...

 

Jane Eyre is one of my (very) favourite novels and I didn't read it until I was 19 and studying it. Unlike reading Wuthering Heights for GCSE - which completely missed the strengths of the novel I later appreciated - studying critical readings alongside JE really made me fall in love with it! I think I was the right age to read it and it's probably the only book I re-read every year.

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Regarding the "-----shire" in these novels. I always thought it added to the story that place names were omitted. It allows the reader to superimpose their own geography on the story, and emphasises the 'anywhere-ness' of the tale, in that the story is one about people and can happen anywhere. It is much more freeing and allows the reader to breathe more of their imagination or experience into the book.

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I think they have yet to make a good film version of Jane Eyre. The various version just now don't really do any justice to the book and the makers of these films tend to play heavy on certain aspects that tend not to be the important ones to readers. Maybe one day they will get it right.
I agree with you - but - it's always nice to see Ciarán Hinds, so, of course, I prefer that version. :D

 

Thanks for the picture, Amanda, I hadn't seen it, yet.

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Could I go back a bit to the ending of the novel? (I checked the thread and I don't think we'd be duplicating - but please let me know if there's part of the discussion I've missed.)

 

What do people think about the conclusion to the novel? IMO, there's a part of most readers (including me!) who will be relieved and happy that, after all her trials, lack of status, betrayals and uncertainties, Jane finally ends her story happily with a subdued, somewhat humbler version of the Rochester we first met.

 

(That unforgettably direct "Reader, I married him.".... Even in its phrasing, Jane has become more active, less acted upon.)

 

But, being the "devil's advocate" a bit here, is the conclusion perhaps just a little too tidy? And/or hard to believe? Is it credible that the "Gothic", arrogant- but-suffering Mr. Rochester should find a gentler, more humble self, after the great fire at the Hall and his own blinding? And is it plausible that Jane should find him again, changed in physical and "spiritual" demeanour (lord, I'm acquiring her vocabulary in seconds!) - and in marital status?

 

It's the reunion which certainly Jane and Edward and probably most readers would long for; I'm just wondering if we have to "suspend our disbelief" in order to accomodate this triumph of love and loyalty. I think I understand that Bronte is working with and through the conventions of plot of her time ... and in fact including more "passion", and more support for the innate dignity and worth of women than many of her contemporary readers and reviewers were used to .... but I still wonder about Rochester, and whether the process which brings them together after so long is really plausible.

 

(Hoping that millions of CB/Jane devotees will come leaping to the defense of the ending!)

 

Another related question: about the strange cousin/cleric, St. John Rivers. WHAT is he doing in that last little section of the book? And Jane very nearly goes to India with him, although they both know she doesn't love him. Is Jane finally rejecting the extremes of service and self-sacrifice which have shadowed her (and other women of her time and station) all through the novel?

 

With Rochester I think I can work my way around to finding imaginative space for his transformation - almost a conversion.

 

But I really do find Rivers, (first name "Sin-jun"), an odd interpolation. What do other readers make of him? and of the conclusion overall?

 

Curious ...

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Finally, books such as Jane Eyre are passing themselves off as 'genuine' autobiographies, so if you veil the places involved it adds a gloss of authenticity, as if you want to guard the people involved in the story.

 

HI DAVID

I am perusing the Charlotte Bronte section of 'MADWOMAN IN THE ATTIC' by Gilbert and Gubar (I've mentioned this seminal book before) and nowhere is there any reference to JANY EYRE 'PASSING [iTS] SELF OFF AS 'GENUINE AUTOBIOGRAPHY'.

 

Can you explain how you came to this conclusion? Bronte research is a hobby of mine and I want to make sure I didn't miss something in all of my reading.

 

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE

GERBAM :)

 

PS

I STRONGLY RECOMMEND 'MADWOMAN ... ' TO ANYONE INTERESTED IN THE WRITING OF 19th CENTURY WOMEN.

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