3.07.2011

study a bit

mental note: be jane eyre.

(my Jane Eyre-ish watercolor tree)

After I finished reading W&P last month I felt like I needed a mental break. I picked up Jane Eyre, which I last read during a summer break between junior and senior year in high school. What I remembered: Mr. Rochester - hot, mysterious and rich. Jane - poor and plain, but beguiling with her sketchbook and witty conversation. Just like Sixteen Candles minus the grandma! Totally the best kind of story for a teenage girl to read. I remembered being really into how romantic it was, but feeling disappointed at the end that Edward got disfigured when his crazy wife torched the house. My 16-year old self felt it should have ended in a more outwardly happy way.

So anyway, reading it this time around was a whole different experience. I like to think that as a 34-year old I'm bringing a little more to the table (although that sometimes feels debatable). This time, while I still found the whole Rochester/Jane dynamic wildly romantic, I loved Jane. How did I miss her on that first read? There was this scene in Mr. Rochester's study where they were talking one night, and Jane says to him, basically, right is right, and wrong is wrong. You can dress something up however you like, but at the end of the day you can't change a lie into a true thing before God. I loved Jane's refusal to compromise on what she knew to be true, even at huge cost. Man! I hope I and my girls can be brave like that. I think if you believe in God, it clarifies a lot about life that otherwise gets murky. Jane had a lot of clarity. My chosen faith is mormonism, and I've spent a lot of time and prayer figuring out what I believe, because it's hard work to really live a religion. I hope I am moving towards clarity, too - trying to act on what I feel to be right even when it's hard (work in progress).

Another thing I found myself loving about Jane was her tidiness. Kind of a small detail, but I really liked how she was always ordering up her environment - whipping little Adele into shape, putting away all of her things neatly in her room even after the ruined wedding (!), establishing a proper schoolroom for the poor factory children in the village, fixing up the house for the cousins. I must admit that I felt very lacking because on a couple of days I chose to read more Jane Eyre over (gasp!) doing and putting away another load of laundry while my baby took her nap. The irony!

Ok, this is the last one - I also loved how studious Jane was. Drawing, or learning new languages, or tackling hard books. I personally distract quite easily. I mean, seriously, when was the last time I sat down to try and learn a new language? :) I've made mental notes to try and be more Jane-ish in this general area (not really to learn a new language, just to maybe read better books, etc., and spend less time frittering). Add it to the list.

(by the way, have you seen the trailer for this coming out next week?)

16 comments:

Jess said...

I love Jane Eyre. I am reading Possession right now, which is a good read, by the way, but when I finish that one it may be time to read some Bronte!

lynne said...

Oh, I liked Possession too. Nice language, I thought.

Odelsa said...

Lynne, what a beautiful post and great tribute to Jane Eyre! How I love that book!!!

I also read it when I was 17, Melissa gave it to me as a gift on my 17th birthday. She assured me I would love it. I did and have read it various times since. Actually, I think I need to go read it again...

kari said...

Gasp! I had no idea a new movie version was coming out! I listened to the audio of Jane Eyre last year and loved it too.

Carolyn said...

I love how classics prove that a good novel is a dynamic interaction between the author and the reader. The reader brings her own perspective and experience allowing the story and the language to mean different things at different eras of the readers life. I tried to read Jane Eyre when I was ten or eleven, because it was my mother's favorite novel. I couldn't get into it. Then I read it all the way through when I was a romantic 16 year old and loved it. About ten years later after I had loved and lost, I read it again and it spoke to a whole different side of me. Thanks for the memory!

melissa said...

Oh I see a post from Odelsa; I love you Odelsa! Yes this has long been one of my favorite books. I think I'm do for a reread as well. I love your thoughtful insights. And your water color is so beautiful. I love the deep colors of the tree bark. So pretty.

Anonymous said...

Love your posts...I always feel so good about life after reading your comments. Want to share this site with you...not only does it have delicious recipes (complete with beautiful photos of each dish), but she has a section of really lovely kitchens that you can view by clicking on the kitchen photo on the right side of the page once you get to her site. Whew! That is a lengthy 'quick tip'. Oh, well, hope it's helpful

CJP

Anonymous said...

Forgot to give you the site...it is:

www.abountifulkitchen.com

Enjoy!

CJP

Tricia said...

I love Jane too! We just read it again for our book club, and we plan on going to see the new movie all together.
I loved your insights...this time I also loved how she studied and worked to make herself better on her own accord. It made me want to work harder.
Thanks for pointing out her cleaning habits...it hadn't struck me, but you're so right! Maybe I need to read it again? Um, definitely!

Beth's Blue Blog said...

ditto, anonymous! Reading your blog is so delightful! I relate to what you mean about putting work into living your religion- that was well said. And I have always loved Jane Eyre since high school!

Emily said...

Love that Jane Eyre! I find Jane's strength of character--keeping to what she knew was right from wrong, no matter the cost--inspiring. So much in this story to consider.
I didn't know there was a movie coming out either. Have you seen the BBC version with Toby Stephens? Pretty dreamy.

lynne said...

thanks, cjp! i'll go check out that site!

and emily, i LOVE the toby stephens version! he is a dream boat. i especially love the line at the end where he says: "you and i are not the platonic type, are we, jane?"

Julie said...

Perhaps you're a bit hard on yourself - you strike me as pretty 'Janeish' in all the best ways and I reckon having just finished W & P AND Jane Eyre you can relax about reading better books. Thanks for your always thought provoking and beautifully photographed blog.
Julie

Lauren said...

I did a 15 page paper at Langley on Jane Eyre and I still loved the book.

I forgot that she torched the house at the very end. That's so liberating:)

Jen said...

I always skipped Jane Eyre on my high school reading lists, I don't know why, probably length knowing me back then. Anyway, your post inspired me to read it, and holy cow. I loved Jane, I loved the whole thing. I wonder what I would have thought of it had I read it ten years ago! Any other old romance novels I'm missing?

Heart Went Boom said...

I'm so late commenting on this, but I just had to because I love this post. I've just been writing myself about that whole idea of being inspired in our lives by book characters.
I must shamefully admit though, Jane was never actually my heroine. For many years I wanted to be Catherine Earnshaw!