I already had an overdose of classic this month with The Great Gatsby and The Picture of Dorian Gray and that was a good reason not to pick any other classic for the next six months. Even then, I picked up Jane Eyre and th only reason being I want to read Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair and I was told that I will appreciate the latter book better if I read the former one.
The book is noted for its strong main character. Some even compare her to Lizzy of Pride and Prejudice, but I prefer Lizzy any day to Jane Eyre. Jane Eyre, as the title suggests, traces Jane’s life and gives us a glimpse of her childhood, her thoughts and opinions. The book is written in autobiographic style where Jane Eyre is directly addressing her audience. They say the book is actually an autobiography, because the author Charlotte Brontë led a similar life.
The language, description, dialogues, setting, characters – all are typical classic style. What probably is different is the main character. She is not the typical English lady – born rich, well brought up, polished and lady like. On the contrary, Jane is made orphan early in life and sees a bad childhood at a relative’s house. She is then sent to a charity school where homeless girls are expected to live an colorless life mostly spent in praying. She turns out to be skillful and well educated. She works as a teacher for a few years and moves on to become a governess. There she falls in love with a man much elder to her. I cannot proceed further without being a spoilsport, so I shall stop.
While I did not feel like putting the book down, neither did I feel good after finishing it. I finished it only yesterday and there is nothing significant about the book I remember. I never felt like pausing at a paragraph and re-reading it. Neither did I feel that a quote was so profound that I had to mark it. In short, I didn’t take back anything from the book. It was like a story – which I read with some indifference. I do not feel anything towards Jane Eyre – no sympathy, no love, no hatred – nothing. I did feel she was childish and was irritated with her in the pages that describe her courtship days.
This book goes on to strengthen my opinion that I don’t really enjoy reading a classic. Well, I am glad I am done with Jane Eyre. I can at last start with The Eyre Affair.