It's been exactly two weeks since my last post and any other life sign from me. I do apologise, but there's a reason for my complete disappearance: I have been travelling England, from Gateshead to Morton, but Thornfield Hall was my favourite place by far.
For those of you not familiar with these names: during the last fortnight I have spent every free minute reading what I dare to call one of my favourite books ever, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.
This book! It's been ages since anything captured me so much, I even read during my piano lessons (don't ask me how that's possible) and I freaked out about it like other girls do about boygroups. Reading slump? What was that again?
There was hardly anything about this book not to love: the passionate and clever heroine, the stormy atmosphere, the mystery, the heartache, the lyrical yet fast paced writing and Mr Rochester of course, oh Mr Rochester!
I normally disapprove of books named after their main characters, but in this case I found it totally justified. Little Jane had my understanding when she hid from her cousins in order to read; by the time she hurt horrible John in defense against his attack with the book she had won me over. I could not get enough of Jane, especially since she reminded me to my immense surprise a lot of myself. Some friends who had read the book also noticed the resemblance; this went so far that I couldn't read in their presence anymore because of all the "Oh, she's exactly like you!", which was really nice considering that Jane is described as plain throughout the book (mind you, I am not saying they weren't right. I'll have to take it like Mr Rochester.) The good side is that I completely agreed with all of Jane's decisions and never got annoyed by them, not even by her hastened departure from Thornfield Hall; which brings us to Mr Rochester.
Leaving aside the fact that my fondness for Byronic heroes should probably start to worry me I cannot help loving this man! Some of his conversations with Jane are downright hilarious and had me laughing out loud. Which other Victorian gentleman discusses fairies with his daughter's governess in all earnestness? At other times he was so sweet that he became the subject of a whole lot of my daydreams. Of course the mysterious ambiance about Mr Rochester added to his charms, but that does not mean that I wasn't angry with him sometimes too, namely then when he needed Jane's help but didn't regard it necessary to impart her his secret (at that time I didn't know what a heartbreaking secret it was). I think I need not mention how shocked I was when I found out how injured he'd been in the fire and neither how almost physically relieved I was when he regained part of his sight.
Along with these two impressive characters came two other to join the Walk of infamy of my most disliked book characters ever. Perhaps you'll be surprised to find that none of the Reed family is included here, cruel as they were, but in my opinion Jane quickly grew so superior to them that they could hardly really harm her. Mr Brocklehurst in contrast I despised with all my heart, perhaps because not only strong little Jane but dozens of other poor girls were completely at his mercy; children whom he should have helped and provided for lovingly, instead he treated them doubtlessly worse than the pets of his own daughters, a fault of his character which did not blight his self-righteousness in the least.
The other man I was not overly fond of -though I didn't dislike him half as much as Mr Brocklehurst- is St John Rivers. He was so cold and hard, and while I (like Jane) admired him for his good qualities at first, his persistency in demanding Jane to marry him repelled me as much as his complete refusal of any other point of view than his own. Furthermore I found it rather presumptuous that he regarded Jane as more or less damned only because she would not join him in his missionary life.
Jane Eyre is a book that I see mysel rereading many, many times: I am already tempted to recommence it. I am thoroughly amazed how thrilling and yet romantic it is, and it has proved something essential to me: It is actually possible for a love story to have a plot.
This is a revelation some authors never had (yes, Jane Austen, I am talking about you!).