Everyone has those moments when they are proved wrong by a particular experience and as expected some or the other old adage holds true all over again. Recently I started reading the novel ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte and by the time I finished it the quote, ‘Never judge a book by its cover’ seemed to have come to life. I picked up the novel with some trepidation and apprehension, as having read the abridged version earlier, I was not very fond of it and had my misgivings as to whether I would finish it. Considering I had no choice but to read it (the novel being a part of my TY potion) I began what I deemed to be a long, stretchy read. Little did I expect that this was going to be one of the most powerful and influential novel I would ever read.
Jane Eyre is a classic insight into the life of a simple, plain but passionate and self-respecting Jane, the main protagonist of this book. It is brilliant because of the sheer way in which Charlotte Bronte delves into the psyche of the Victorian Age in England, thereby questioning the existing social norms for women of that time. This she does through the character of Jane and in doing so; she puts forth her own views on the various, mostly queer and orthodox rules, conditions and beliefs that were prevalent in 19th Century, England. That’s why Jane Eyre is so much more than simply a coming-of-age or a romantic novel as most people call it. It is a sharp but subtle satire of society.
Right from the beginning the author establishes Jane as a passionate character who is head strong and will not submit herself to anything unjust. There are several parts in the novel that highlight how forward and fearless Charlotte Bronte was of her times. But one particular part that stays with me is where through Jane’s mind, Bronte asserts that women are not solely meant for sewing and knitting and that is not wrong for them to explore their other faculties.
There is no denying the fact that the novel is also a tale of a true and undying love between Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester. In this book, the author very powerfully showcases a love so enduring and truthful that questions the hollow notions of the money minded women of the Victorian Era. First, by showing a romance between a mere governess and her master, Bronte broke the conventional mould of governesses and then towards the end- the way Jane accepts Rochester, despite his blind and crippled condition- Bronte told the world that if love is what is there between two people, it will be all they need to survive.
For all of these various reasons, it’s hardly surprising that Jane Eyre is a book that will always remain etched in my memory as a strong example of love, feminism and passion. It’s with a slight sense of wonderment that I come to terms with the fact that it might be one of the few classics I will end up reading all over again!