I recently reread my absolute favorite classic, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. While I never claim to have a favorite book, this is one that I consistently go back to. I confess it has actually been a few years since I reread this treasure. Now, I hope that never happens again.
There is so much to learn from Jane. I first met her in high school, freshman year. I had never read the book before, and only knew it as the slow, dreadful movie that I once attempted to watch with my mom. But once I got to know her, and Mr. Rochester, and Mary, and Diana, and all the others through the written word… there was no going back.
This time I tried to pay attention, to find a way to write in words just what it is that I love about this story so much.
In truth, so many parts of it are terribly sad. The way Jane has been treated by her family, when all she wants is family. The love Mr. Rochester truly did have for Bertha, and then the decay of their relationship. The love Jane has for Mr. Rochester, and how long it takes for them to finally end up together– and the circumstances that make it possible.
I mean, the list can go on, and on, and on.
But what I love most, is that despite all the sadness, Jane ends up with what she truly, deeply, wanted at the end:
Respect, love, and family.
I have two favorite quotes from this book. And while I’m pretty sure these two quotes are the two that are out there the most, I will share them with you anyway.
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
I love this one because it is the best concept. Because although Jane wants love, and family, and respect– she is not willing to have her wings clipped for it… because that would defeat the purpose. She would be sacrificing so much, in fact she would be sacrificing self-respect, in order to gain the three things she wants more.
Jane is so self-sufficient, learning from hardships and using them to determine what she will not lose. She is not some frilly girl, as many female characters from that era of literature could seem to be.
She is a strong woman. We can all learn from her.
“Wherever you are is my home. My only home.”
This takes the saying, “Home is where the heart is,” or “There’s no place like home,” to a new level. The proverbial sayings have nothing on this phrase because it brings out the essence of home.
Home is a YOU.
It may not necessarily be a Mr. Rochester, or parents, or siblings… but it is someone, something that sticks out that makes up that feeling where your very core belongs.
Home is not TRULY a place, but a YOU. A feeling, a person, a group of people, a beauty, a faith, a hope, a story…
Jane’s story is one of my homes.
If you haven’t read the book, I beg you to do so.
Also, the best film rendition (in my humble opinion) is the one done by BBC/Masterpiece Theatre.