Weekend Reads #48: Quick Thoughts on Jane Eyre

Weekend Reads is a weekly discussion on a variety of topics. At the end of the post, I’ll include what I plan to read on the weekend.

You’re bursting to say something, Z. Drop some thoughts on Jane Eyre.

My mind is racing with all sorts of thoughts about Mr. Rochester. I thought he was a dick at first when the reader is first introduced to him, but I grew to sorta like him and later to pity him. I do not believe he deserved the fate he was dealt. Why must he be both maimed and blinded at the end?

Certainly Bronte included that to make him atone for his wrongs and to humble him for he was much too proud earlier in the story, but I think the maiming and blinding was also done to tame him. Rochester is a vigorous and energetic man who is used to getting his way and is rough about his pursuits. He can be gentle but isn’t so for long and while deeply, madly in love with Jane, he expressed his affection sometimes by pinching her and pulling her ears, which Jane didn’t mind, but it’s still rough treatment.

When Jane returns to him at the end, he’s almost docile. His spirit was almost broken by what he had suffered — Jane’s leaving, the condition of his body, and his new dependency on others. At first, I saw Jane’s return to him as they both on even footing — she an independent woman with some wealth and he released from his marriage due to death — but they are still uneven. When Jane left him after their interrupted wedding, I interpreted that as Jane needing more experience to be able to meet Rochester as an equal in marriage. Though she achieves that, when she returns and succeeds in marrying him, she is the stronger of the two and the leader in the marriage. Not that Rochester has lost his vitality, but it has diminished some and Jane has to help him regain it.

I think the traditional roles of husband and wife are slightly reversed in Jane and Rochester’s union. Usually, it’s the wife who is led by the husband, but in their union, Jane leads Rochester in various ways. She must serve as eyes and even his hand. She guides him. Nature, or Providence, tamed him for her sovnow he has become totally dependent on her and must experience the world through her. I find this interesting because Rochester was very masculine and in the end, because of what’s happened to him, he must submit to Jane’s femininity and begin to see and experience the world through a woman’s eyes.

“He saw nature — he saw books through me; and never did I weary of gazing for his behalf.”

And again this is all interesting because all the men thus far in the story insist on confining women’s femininity. Friggin Brocklehurst, who’s one of the worst people ever, prevents the girls at Lowood from expressing any sort of individuality or from indulging in simple girlish charms, Rochester literally locks up his wife in an attic and vainly tries to forget about her, and the insufferable St. John tries his best to control Jane and, later, to persuade her to ignore her passions go to India with him to do the good Lord’s work….I’m pretty sure this dude often calls on the Lord’s name in vain.

Anyways, that’s all I have to say for now. I hope it made some sense. Maybe I’ll do another quick discussion on the use of religion to control because that was evident throughout the story and I didn’t like it. I really don’t like this St. John character.

What I’m reading this weekend:

I’m taking a quick road trip. To where? I can’t yet say but it shall be fun. Since I’m now done with Jane Eyre (Thank Gawd!!) I will focus on Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb and The Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz. I also borrowed two illustrated works from the library a while back so I hope to read those too: Jane, the Fox, and Me by Fanny Britt, illus. by Isabelle Arsenault and The Arrival by Shaun Tan.

What are you reading this weekend? Got thoughts on Jane Eyre too? Share them below.
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16 thoughts on “Weekend Reads #48: Quick Thoughts on Jane Eyre

  1. Pingback: 2016 End of Year Book Survey | Zezee with Books

  2. Pingback: “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte | Zezee with Books

  3. Pingback: Weekend Reads #49: More Thoughts on Jane Eyre | Zezee with Books

  4. By coincidence I have just started re-reading JE. Some really interesting thoughts here about the issues of masculinity and disability – thanks, will look at things with a new perspective. Which is one of the things I enjoy about reading other people’s thoughts about novels.

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  5. Jane Eyre was one of my favorite classics in high school. Actually it was my very first school assigned classic if I remember correctly, so I think it’ll always have a special place. As for my initial thoughts of Mr. Rochester… I agree he seemed awful and a terrible fit for Jane. But I did end up liking the balance in their relationship as well as the paradoxical roles. And hope you have fun on your road trip, Zezee!

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    • Thanks Summer! It was great.
      Yea, a lot of readers love Jane Eyre. I don’t think I’m a big fan of such novels though since Pride & Prejudice wasn’t a good read for me.
      Jane Eyre was okay though. It’s a touch fantastical and I liked Rochester’s quirky side. He loves fantasies.

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  6. You’re making me want to reread Jane Eyre. I think not only does it raise questions of feminine/masculine power struggle, but also issues of ableism. Did Bronte really need to make Rochester disabled in order for Jane to gain equality or power in the marriage? This raises a whole new slew of questions about disability and power along with feminism.

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    • Lol. I’m glad for that.
      And I wondered the same. I’m sure there was another way to humble Rochester but maybe because he is the ultimate male, the worst thing to happen to him is to make him totally dependent on another and I guess the only way to achieve that is to make him disabled in some way.
      I just think Bronte wanted to punish Rochester.

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  7. Ah have fun on your road trip!! I do get what you’re saying about Jane Eyre- it’s a great book and really complex. Mr Rochester does start out quite badly in the book, but I grew to like him and I get what you mean about male and female roles being reversed in their marriage- the books a bit of a proto-feminist book in many ways and there’s so many interesting things to explore. I agree with you about St John- I can’t wait to see what else you have to say about it

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  8. Have fun on your road trip zee, I’m off too in a ‘ couple of three ‘ days, they must be contagious 😛

    I browsed through some old nz whole earth catalogues, which are like old hippie magazines, looking for a picture i remember been in them, their pretty cool, lots of art and lots of just everything.

    Hmm, Jane sounds interesting B-)

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