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Thursday, March 17, 2011

LBT's Generic Book Corner: Jane Eyre

Rumor has it there is another movie version of Jane Eyre coming out (j/k, I have had this marked down in my Hello Kitty dayplanner for months!), so why not talk about it, I asked myself while hiding in the women's room at work and desperately brainstorming ways to put off unpleasant tasks (j/k again, I love my job (Hi Howie, the company computer guy! Your beard is awesome, but not as awesome as YOU!)). So, in other words: Stop! Jane Eyre time!

I have to be honest: I have the distinct feeling I have already discussed this book, but a brief search did not show any results. If so, you should still read this because I am still going to post it, and I do hope to be funny. People like funny, right? (wipes flopsweat)

Jane Eyre tells the story of Jane Eyre, who goes by the name of Jane Eyre. Because this is a gothic novel, she is poor and has a harrowing childhood. She begins the story living with an aunt and her cousins (who are jerks), along with her aunt's servants (not quite as jerkish) until she has a GHOSTLY experience and then goes away to school. Being a Victorian gothic novel, this is not exactly an improvement, unless you are a fan of tuberculosis. Then count your lucky stars, have I got a place for you!

After 8 years at Lowood School, she sets off to be a governess (!) at Thornfield Hall (!!), under the employ of Mr. Rochester (!!!) (aka one of the biggest douchebags ever. More on that later.) I have to give a warning to the three people who are still reading: if you EVER find yourself in a Victorian gothic novel, never be a governess. The best that can happen is being impregnated out of wedlock and forced into a shameful life as a slattern hussy in the city. And no one wants that! But I digress. Jane has one pupil, Adele, who may or may not be Rochester's lovechild. There was no Maury back then, so there was no way to know for sure. Anyway, Mr. Rochester is very mysterious, and there is something afoot at Thornfield Hall with Grace Poole (scare chord).
Something happens! Someone tries to set Rochester on fire! I have never supported any literary act more in my life. Phantom character, I salute you. Jane stops that foolishness, and they have a Moment.

You see, Jane has become smitten with his eminent assface, Rochester that Douche. Rochester is canoodling with Blanch Ingram (it is made fairly clear that she is only interested in his money, and he is more interested in playing doucheriffic mindgames with our Jane. They are both fairly douchey, and I wish they had ran off together to doucheville). There is a mysterious visitor who is later attached by a person unknown who Jane assumes is the aforementioned Grace Poole. Other stuff, other stuff, other stuff, Jane yells at Rochester and then they are engaged. Phew! Still with me (probably not).

Because I fear spoilers, I will only say that Rochester has a SECRET, and Jane leaves him (yay), meets up with some Deus ex machina cousins, becomes rich, and returns to Rochester (boo!), and they live happily ever after.

It may not sound like it, but I love this book very much. I am a sucker for Victorian fiction, I am a sucker for gothic fiction, and I am a sucker the Brontes. The only way this book could be better is if Rochester was a clown, and Cthulhu ate him in the end (note: contact a publisher regarding that idea).

Additionally, I love Jane Eyre. First off, I am a fairly plain lady (I know, I know. The presses are stopped, the phones are held, etc.), and Jane is somewhat a role model for the not very pretty. Not to make this therapygum, but so often when I mention that I am plain people respond as if I either paid myself the gravest insult or am fishing for compliments, as opposed to stating a fact. I really like that she recognizes it, and while it is not something she likes, she deals with it (I need to make a Jane Eyre dealwithitglasses.gif). Jane is also fairly badass. She won't take your sass. Well, you can say it, but she will do what needs doing anyway. I love the character of Jane.

Rochester, however......I do not think it is possible for me to express how much I dislike this character. I could say it every hour of every day for the rest of my life, and still not come close to expressing the amount of loathing I have for him. I have to admit that the Byronic antihero has never done it for me, and I will say right now that if you think Heathcliffe is a romantic lead, I really question your judgement. Watching Jane end up with him is a little like watching a friend date a someone you know is an ass. Only, you know, fictionally.


  1. Admittedly, I don't talk to people about Jane Eyre very much (because if I do they stop listening and walk away), but I have never heard of anyone hating Rochester this much! It's very interesting!
    I don't think it's totally fair to compare him to Heathcliff, though. That dude is ca-razy! I've always considered Rochester as an okay guy, just pretty selfish.
    At least he treats Jane well? Except for trying to SPOILER ALERT marry her even though his first wife was locked in the attic.
    Hmm. This argument is becoming hard to support. But he's still not as bad as Heathcliff!

  2. I admit, he is not as bad as Heathcliff, but I was discussing them both yesterday and they are fresh in my mind.

    He bothers me so much. He treated Jane well, in a way, but the fact that he was so willing to try and drag her into a situation he knew she would abhor is turrible. But when I think of poor Bertha my mind explodes because while I realize that mental health care was probably shitty at the time, I have to think that there were alternatives to LOCKING HER UP ALONE IN A ROOM.

    However, I do think that St. John is even worse (what with the throwaway line about how he would expect their loveless future marriage to be sexual, whether either of them wanted it or not. Ew.)

  3. rochester is the worst! st. john is the worst! i am thinking of naming the next pet i adopt st. john though.

  4. I agree about Rochester's ass-iness, but there's something about his intensity that can be pretty swoon worthy. I would *never* put up with any of his BS in real life, but I guess I gloss over some of that when reading/watching. There are definitely a few things that push the limits - like using Miss Ingram just to torture Jane & crazy Bertha

    I saw the new Jane Eyre last weekend (early release I guess) and there are a few lines that (I think) are added to the film to give Jane a more feminist backbone. Plus, Michael Fassbender is pretty sexy as Rochester.

    Heathcliff, on the other hand, I'm with you 100%. He's abhorrent- right up there with Stanley from Streetcar.

  5. Um, that looks way longer than I thought it would be.... woops

  6. St John (pronounced Sinjin!) is a total creepazoid.
    On other Jane Eyre topics, has anyone read "The Eyre Affair"? It's a very bizarre, very funny, very excellent book that is also very hard to explain. It's about a detective (who specializes in book crime) who has to go into Jane Eyre to capture a mass murderer. It's a bit alt-history, and a bit sci-fi, but only tangentially (she has a pet dodo and her father is a time-traveller).

  7. I have read The Eyre Affair! It makes me sad that there is no audience participation during Richard III in real life.

  8. I really, really want a Will-Speak machine!
    I'm pretty sure that reading that book positively affected my opinion of Rochester, actually.