Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (♦♦♦♦)
At ten years of age, Jane Eyre who has lived with her relatives all her life after becoming orphan from both parents as a baby, is sent by her aunt Mrs. Reeds to Lowoods, an educational institution for orphans. Jane spends the next eight years at Lowoods: first as a student, then the last two as a teacher. Upon the marriage of her favorite teacher, Jane decides to leave Lowoods and makes inquiries in the outside world for a possible accommodation as a governess for a young girl of about ten years-old.
Jane receives a reply from Mrs. Fairfax at Thornfield Hall to educate the young protégé of the mansion’s master. Adéle, the girl in question, is an adorable eight year-old of French background, neglected by the master of Thornfield due to a questionable paternity issue.
Mr. Edward Fairfax Rochester, the master of Thornfield, hates the mansion and avoids it for long periods of time, but in his way to Thornfield--two months after Jane has become Adéle’s governess— his horse suffers an accident and he meets Jane who is on the road on her way to deliver a postage to the nearby village, and who helps him since he is unable to walk on his own.
Thus starts a friendship that as months pass becomes a burning passion until under danger of Rochester becoming attached for life to a certain lady of noble birth and lost fortune, Jane makes her feelings known to him and it turns out he is crazy about her too. Jane and Mr. Rochester get engaged and agree to marry in a month time, only the day of the wedding an impending revelation about a secret Mr. Rochester has kept hidden more or less in plain sight, sends Jane reeling and her hopes of becoming Mrs. Fairfax Rochester are shattered.
I really liked Jane Eyre. I have watched several movies based on this book and thought I knew the story sort of well, but I couldn’t have been more off the mark.
I realized by reading the book that the movies overemphasize the love story and neglect the fact that Jane Eyre had a religious education borderline indoctrination almost since birth, which guided her through good and so-so choices. Thus, her education is essential to understand her belief system.
Mr. Rochester was rich since birth and dispossessed due to a family dispute. He was basically a good man, a moral man who misplaced his moral compass temporarily by means of cheer bad luck. It’s then that we feel inclined to forgive Mr. Rochester his transgressions; his “neglect” to mention a secret that involves his life (past and present), one who may affect Jane for years to come.
Of all the characters in the story, I liked Mr. Rochester the best. His awful secret, his passionate nature, his mood swings, his dark features all but help him come out of the pages in full form.