by Charlotte Brontё
reviewed by Tara Pugliese
Disclaimer: If you expect Jane Eyre to resemble “ol’ those other boring classics,” be warned: upon reading Charlotte Brontё’s exceptional novel, you will surely be so shocked and unprepared that you may end up becoming as crazy as Jane herself (I’ll explain later…).
Jane Eyre remains -- after more than 150 years -- one of the most acclaimed and beloved pieces of literature. This affection is not surprising; for, Charlotte Brontё creates in Jane, the protagonist and narrator, an incredibly unique character using an even more distinct writing style. This book review will be centered on that point and expanded on in a hopefully clear, structured manner. So, what makes Jane Eyre so enjoyable and distinctive? Continue reading to find out...
Written in first-person narrative, the reader feels an increased connection to Jane Eyre. In addition, the uncommonly large about of “thoughts” Brontё includes furthers this bond. However, one of the most unusual aspects of the novel concerning writing style, can be found when the narrator directly refers to “the reader” (and even addresses them). Consequently, Bronte manufactures a rather personal relationship between the reader and Jane.
Jane Eyre’s peculiar tendencies, such as hearing nonexistent voices and having an irrational fear of ghosts and spirits, intimate at possible mental disorders; thus exposing the reader to a rarely highlighted issue in both literature and society, especially in the time of Jane Eyre’s publication. Schizophrenia, depression (not to mention childhood depression), and suicidal tendencies are all exposed in a new light by Brontё. As the novel is written in first-person (as discussed in the previous point), the reader experiences directly the behavior and thoughts of an individual with mental disorders. Few novels can boast of this accomplishment.
The next aspect defining Jane Eyre results in the extensive timeline. For first-person narration, rarely does the plot extend from childhood to adulthood. But that is exactly what happens in this “autobiography.” The novel begins with a struggling ten-year-old Jane who is then sent away for eight years and continues for several more with her new found independence and changing positions, both socially and mentally. This extensive period allows for luminous character development and incredibly complex personalities. Who doesn’t want that?
Hopefully you enjoyed this book review and found it helpful. More importantly, I hope your interest in the masterful work Jane Eyre has been augmented. Jane Eyre truly lives up to its famous notability and deserves all the acclaim it has received in the 168 years since its publication. P.S. If you are interested, head to the library for your copy, there are plenty. Happy reading!
So who should read Jane Eyre?
*Readers who enjoy first-person narration would appreciate the writing style. Furthermore, those who favor the genres of coming-of-age, romance, thriller, classics, and literary nonfiction would find Jane Eyre very engaging.