Sunday, October 20, 2013

'Jane Eyre,' the becoming of a Woman

Jane Eyre is one of my favorite novels of all time.  It is by far one the books that reflects some aspects of my life in their truest sense.  I fell in love with this book when I was barely out of high school.  I re-read it a couple of years ago and it was one of my first reviews for this website.  I cried deeply in so many places of the novel.  I felt this book to the core of my being.

I have decided to re-read this book again to help me gain some insight into my own growth in life at a point in my life that is heavily reflected in this book. 



Jane Eyre's character begins as a young girl who is very angered by the outside world.  Her being is fermented with tumultuous emotions about the condemnation of individuals and the suffering within the life which people earth.  She struggles to find the right reaction: tranquility or heavy action, in revolt and rebellion of it.  With a tinge of feminism, she opens the subject of cultural expectations society places on what women 'ought' to do.

What I have appreciated the most about Jane Eyre is Charlotte Bronte's ability to unveil the humanity within all of us.  Mrs. Reed treats Jane Eyre as if a person with no feelings, someone who ought to withstand every bit of humiliation and abuse, 'without one bit of love or kindness.'  This has struck me as the most powerful theme of the book.  How many of us have encountered others who have absolutely no regard that we are humans, that we do in fact have feelings, that it can destroy us to be treated without the least bit of love or kindness.  We all experience treatment from the ones around us as if we can and should live so, move on as if we are devoid of any humanity to feel the mistreatment, the humiliation, the condemnation  the punishment, the disregard.  Jane Eyre's journey in overcoming the pain of these events is just absolutely profound.

This is the reason I wanted to read this book again.  My intention is to read it again with a closer look at Jane Eyre's triumph over these unjust actions against her. How do we act or react to those who are cruel with us?  How do we become richer rather than bitter?  How do we build our character rather than let the suffering defeat us into a mirror image of our unjust?  We are imperfect human beings, just as Jane Eyre is to the core of her being, and yet what is it about Jane Eyre that gives us so much spiritual power to elevate ourselves even past those moments?

Through these kinds of struggles we often find ourselves utterly alone.  Many times this 'loneliness' seems more like a curse than a blessing, but even in Jane Eyre there is wisdom in solitude and a solitary life.  It is, in fact, an opportunity to become our truest selves, in the most respected sense, and in the most tranquil. It is in these moments we become one with our beliefs and principles, and there is nothing stronger than being unified with yourself - to do right by you.  "Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation; they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise to mutiny against their rigor; stringent as they; inviolate they shall be."

Finally, Jane Eyre reminds me so much of myself.  She's angered, and just absolutely in disbelief and outraged that people can be so cold and terrorizing towards others.  She is of a true good heart.   Through all of the injustes, she remains so, and finds solace in being herself.  It's through this conclusion that she steps into her final stage of evolution, to be with the one true man of her life, Mr. Rochester.  One of the most beautiful love stories you'll ever read, full of struggle and imperfection, in complete destruction at moments, and yet "absolutely bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh."




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