09 August 2015
Charlotte Bronte:Jane Eyre
I am catching up with classic literature in my more mature years, having not been exposed to many of the classics in my early life. This novel, published 170 years ago, transfixed me with its prose, emotions and structure that revolutionised the art of fiction as we know it today.
As with most people nowadays I had been exposed to the story through movies and mini-series but didn't realise how much I was missing by not reading the author's actual words. Jane Eyre is written in the first person as a young Victorian woman who suffered in her childhood but eventually gained a fine education, found good employment and surprisingly someone to love her (the famous Mr Rochester), only to have her happiness taken away at the altar. She runs away, finds herself and her family again but cannot totally break her feelings for Rochester.
Charlotte Bronte weaves a novel of strength and length that lays bare the soul of Victorian England through the eyes of Jane Eyre. There is vivid description of the ways of life of the poor and the rich, the morality of the time, including their approach to the role of women, religion, wealth and class. Bronte gradually unfolds the story of Jane's life, struggles and emotions in an intense and spellbinding way and brilliantly uses coincidence and spiritual connections to tell her story.
To me Jane Eyre is one of the most honest and good characters in fiction. I read/listened to the book as an audiobook and the skills of the narrator, Emma Messenger, brought the book to life in an emotional and compelling way. 5 plus stars.