Monday, February 7, 2011

JANE EYRE Read-a-Long: Check-in #1

This post will contain spoilers about Charlotte Brontë's classic novel Jane Eyre.

I'm through the first 12 chapters of Jane Eyre after starting on February 1; the chapters are short and it's such a pleasure to read that my pace of 2 chapters a day has been easy to maintain. I think I missed one day this week but with only 38 chapters in the book, and 28 days in the month, I'm well-positioned to finish on time.

So far, we've seen Jane's loveless childhood with the Reed family, her school years at miserable Lowood, a charity school, and the beginnings of her time at Thornfield Hall, the mansion where she goes to work as a governess after spending time teaching at Lowood. Jane Eyre is not a book for people who were happy children. Jane is a misfit, a child at the mercy of hard-hearted adults who escapes into books. Jane's Aunt Reed treats Jane like a nuisance and a bother. Jane is her dead husband's niece, forced on her care; plain instead of pretty, headstrong instead of eager-to-please. She sends Jane to a school whose material landscape will match her aunt's emotional landscape. Gateshead, her aunt's manse, is luxurious but emotionally barren; Lowood is the opposite, intellectually and emotionally rich but a place where children starve and die for lack of basic food, clothing and shelter.

Thornfield looks to be a restful place, comfortable and opulent and also filled with kind people who like Jane and respect her, too. She settles in, gets to know Adele, her young pupil, and the housekeeper Mrs. Fairfax, who will become her main confidante.

And this is where I leave her for now. In a chapter or two she'll meet the dark and mysterious Mr. Rochester and the book will take an entirely new turn- the love story will commence.

I love this book so much and reading it is always such a treat. Tonight I'm reading a graphic novel, A Mess of Everything, by Miss Lasko-Gross, about another teen girl who feels like an outsider, whose strong opinions and outspokenness gets her into trouble and it occurred to me that every girl (and woman) who's ever felt like she didn't belong, and wanted to write about it, owes something to Jane and Charlotte Brontë; another great reason to read this wonderful book.

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9 comments:

Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

and that's why I went on my book hunt last Saturday. I purchased this book together with Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, The Adventures of Huckleberry Fin and 18 other books.

Currently, I am reading Pride and Prejudice

Lynne Perednia said...

While reading just the first two chapters, I've taken five pages of handwritten notes about Jane's circumstances. She hasn't even gone to Lowood yet.

I'd better start making complete sentences of those notes tonight.

The main thing is that reading Jane Eyre is a rewarding, rich experience.


Nana, what a wonderful haul of books.

virginie said...

I'll have to catch up! I hardly began my reading!

Rayna Eliana said...

I love this book, also, and have many copies with different publication dates and covers. I am a Jane Eyre-aholic.

Zibilee said...

I haven't started yet, but I am hoping to pick it up this week and get going! I just found out that this is one of my mother's favorite books, and I was so pleased!

Rebecca Reid said...

I'm very curious by this comment of yours: "Jane Eyre is not a book for people who were happy children." Now I was a very happy child, but I LOVE Jane Eyre.
You're definitely getting me craving a reread. I have fond memories of reading those beginning chapters when I was in eighth grade.

Care said...

I don't think I knew a readalong for Jane Eyre was underway! I wish I had signed up for this. It is on my list for this year but I am not in a position to try and play catchup. ENJOY!

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I haven't read this in years - oh, how I miss it! I wonder if I can move my schedule around a bit to join yet another read-a-long! :)

Erin said...

I'm not officially part of the readalong, but I just passed the halfway point reading Jane Eyre for the first time on my own. So far, I really do love it!