Jane Eyre (1847), Charlotte Bronte

300px-Jane_Eyre_title_pageIs Jane Eyre the Twilight of its time? Is the romance genre just a feminine commentary on the strange condition that is man? Does this make Tolstoy’s take on women in Anna Karenina more relevant or more insulting to women?

Jane Eyre has extremely flawed male characters bracketed by good (or good-ish) men. Between the unseen Mr. Reed and the reformed and closet-cleaned Mr. Rochester are a series of extremely damaged men, sadistic cousin John Reed, stingy Mr. Brocklehurst, and the emotionless and manipulative St. John Rivers. Mr. Rochester himself is selfish and distant but oh so deliciously mysterious.

Similar to Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Jane is intelligent and intriguing in a story with good pacing. Good, that is, until Jane throws reason under a train three-quarters of the way through, where she strongly considers becoming a frigid trophy wife before divine intervention brings her back to her true love’s arms.

Divine intervention – the writer’s ‘get out of jail free’ card.

In its time the entirety of Jane Eyre was enjoyed by many a teenaged girl. Not so much anymore.


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