Masterpiece Monday: Jane Eyre

Portrait of Charlotte Brontë

Portrait of Charlotte Brontë (Image via Wikipedia)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Since last week, I blogged about Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, I thought I’d discuss Emily’s equally famous sister Charlotte’s masterpiece Jane Eyre, which was published in 1847 under her pen name Currer Bell. In addition, I plan on watching its most recent movie adaptation sometime this week.

This novel follows Bronte fashion by incorporating Gothic Romanticism, unconventional characters, and a feminist perspective. The story begins with Jane Eyre’s childhood. As an orphan, she grew up with a cruel aunt and attended a miserable boarding school. Eventually, she meets Edward Rochester and falls in love with him.

The rest of the novel narrates their romance and the various obstacles in their way, including financial issues and strange happenings inside Rochester’s home. I won’t give anything away, because the novel’s mystery makes it even more enjoyable.

What I love about Jane Eyre is that even though she’s not the prettiest woman, she stands up for herself and refuses to be defined or dependent on men. In comparison to Catherine in Wuthering Heights, Jane does not allow her social standing to determine how she lives her life and whom she marries.

However, I gave Wuthering Heights a higher rating, because I was more enamored with Heathcliff than Mr. Rochester. Rochester was very stern and harsh at times, and it was hard to trust him, given his certain decisions in the past which I will not divulge. I felt that Heathcliff, although also cruel to others, used his anger to mask his true passion and deep down, only had eyes for Cathy–even during her marriage to another man and after her death. He’s the ultimate bad boy with a good heart.

But you really can’t go wrong either way, since both Bronte sisters produced exquisite work. Lovers of Victorian romances will have probably already read Jane Eyre, but if you haven’t yet, hurry up and do it already! Then tell me what you thought!

Favorite Quote: “It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action–they will make it if they cannot find it.”

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6 thoughts on “Masterpiece Monday: Jane Eyre

  1. I liked Jane Eyre better than Wuthering Heights, I think. I wasn’t particularly enamored by either Heathcliff or Mr. Rochester, but I did really love Jane – and didn’t find an equally strong/likable female character in Wuthering Heights. (I remember hating pretty much every single character in Wuthering Heights the first time I read it. I understood it better the second time, but still didn’t find any of the characters particularly lovable.)

    To me, Wuthering Heights was more a story about crazy people who can’t seem to get their timing right rather than a love story, while Jane Eyre was both a love story and a coming-of-age story. I found Jane to be a lot more relatable than anyone in Wuthering Heights.

    But, of course, to each her own 🙂

    • I agree, there aren’t strong female characters in Wuthering Heights, and Jane is much more relatable. I think that’s because of Emily’s focus on the romantic and Charlotte more on the realistic. And Jane Eyre is definitely a coming-of-age story. I guess I’m just a sucker for tragic, dramatic tales of passion–Wuthering Heights is like the very best soap opera! Not to mention, I love how Emily walks that fine line between love and hate. But both novels are awesome in my opinion!

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