I imagine, if you have been a reader for a few years now, you must’ve heard of Jane Eyre. It is “one of the greatest and most perennially popular works of English fiction” (to quote from the synopsis) for a reason. Perhaps, its popularity makes it uninteresting to some. Or maybe the story is known all too well. Regardless, I shall try to convey my thoughts on why this book should be read anyways.
Jane Eyre has an autobiographical touch to it. It is the autobiography of our protagonist Jane Eyre. We follow her around from childhood to adulthood learning about herself and her tragedies. It sounds like a simple work of fiction, in some ways it is.
We (my friends and I) read the easy english version of Jane Eyre when we were in Year 7, around 14 years old. We usually slept through the reading during that class but not when it came to Jane Eyre. Even the easy english version was gripping and engaging. Mostly, the mystery kept us going.
I remember thinking: Janet feels so real. It’s silly, I know. But I find that it’s easy for fictional characters to be flat, especially when the author really tries hard to make the characters seem flawed and ordinary. As much as I like ‘human’ characters, the author shouldn’t have to say it out loud.
Jane, although portrayed as a flawed being, is a very ‘three-dimensional’ character. Her narrative is engaging and while I vaguely dreaded the childhood part of her story, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the more I read, the more I wanted to know what was going to happen to her even when she was a child.
I must say, I am not a big fan of Mr Rochester. He does come around near the end when, you know, something happens. I am not keen on spoiling, so we will stop there.
Enough with the character analysis. Out of all the classics I have read, Jane Eyre was the easiest one to read. I haven’t read many classics, only some of the more popular ones such as Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, Great Expectations etc.
It is obvious by now that I knew what the story was about before reading the original version of it. I even watched the movie long before reading the book. I still found myself mesmerised by the narration and the story and found myself rooting for Jane and sometimes getting cross at her, but mostly rooting for her. It’s a great book, really.
It has an air of tragedy and melancholy. Tragedy isn’t necessarily my thing, but an air of melancholy is much loved. It might seem like a large-ish book but I don’t see why it shouldn’t be read by people who want to get into reading classics. You may like it too, why not give it a try?
While there’s a fair share of tragic events, Jane does have a few ‘victories’ here and there. I didn’t really like St. John’s lack of understanding at times and the whole page on their conversation about a certain thing bored me, so I ended up skipping that page. A book cannot be perfect, I suppose.
Regardless, if you are thinking about reading Jane Eyre, I suggest you give it a go. It’s worthy, unlike loads of new fiction that end up being repetitive and painful to read.