Recommended Reads (3/3): Jane Eyre

With winter break just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to pick up a book and spend some time relaxing and reading – especially when the hectic pace of the holiday season gets a little too fast. A novel that I have found especially good is Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. Although old classics are usually stereotyped as “dull” and “wordy,” I feel that this particular classic – one of my personal favorites – is not boring or overly descriptive in the least. Rather, Jane Eyre captures and keeps the reader’s attention with both the writing style and the storyline.

Jane Eyre is the story of an English girl who experiences an abusive childhood, a passionate, heartbreaking romance, and ultimately, true happiness. As a child, Jane lives with her relatives, the wealthy Reeds, who abuse her both verbally and physically. She is more than happy when she is sent to a charity school, where she commits diligently to her studies and becomes a tutor by the age of eighteen. After finding a position at Thornfield Hall, Jane meets Edward Rochester, the wealthy and mysterious master of the house, and develops a passionate but suppressed love for him. After a complex string of events, the two become engaged to be married, but a dark secret comes to light that leaves Jane heartbroken, but more determined than ever to find her own way in life. The themes of gender roles and love play enormous parts in Jane Eyre. Jane consistently shows herself to be a strong feminist, resisting any male attempt to repress or control her. She is determined to keep her independence intact and will only marry a man who is her equal. To this dominating theme of feminism – groundbreaking in literature at the time – add the heightened intensity of Jane’s private consciousness and the motifs of Gothicism and romanticism and you get a classic filled with suspense, passion, and a story that is sure to excite your imagination.

(Copyright 2015 Rebecca Xi)

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