Among the works of classic literature, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is surely one of the most prominent. Read and talked about throughout the world, it has been filmed and made into TV series. It’s so magnetic that one cannot resist reading it once they touch English literature. First published in 1847, Jane Eyre is a fairy-tale love story written in a Gothic style. It takes place mostly in Thornfield Hall, where the romantic eeriness felt so intense.
The events unfold in a Cinderella-type narrative in which Jane Eyre, a little poor orphan, is treated unjustly by her aunt and cousins. Perceived as an evil child, Jane is then sent to the Lowood School, a boarding school where she is treated just as poorly. After a long sorrowful life and losing of a best friend, Jane finally finishes her study and becomes a teacher. From there, she continues her step by applying for a job as a governess in Thornfield Hall, an estate full of mystery and unanswerable shadows.
Jane meets Mr. Rochester at the Thornfield Hall, her master who treats her as his equal. It is then unsurprising to see those two falling in love with each other. However, the mystery covering the estate has proven not to be merely trivia. Just as they are about to marry, the mystery reveals itself. Mr. Rochester has apparently had a wife, a lunatic woman he hides from everyone outside the “world” of Thornfield Hall. Jane decides to run, leaving Thornfield Hall, oblivious to Rochester’s inward wound of failing to marry her. She seems to have managed to untangle herself from this mess, but when she meets reverend St. John, her life couldn’t be complicated more. Her heart wavers, her wish to be free from the past has to mingle with the uncertainty of the future standing before her.
Jane Eyre could be described as a tough classic heroine, with her determination, strength, bravery, and view of equality. Though not plainly exceptional in the realm of woman literature (classic or not), the character of Jane Eyre is still one of those which is inspiring. Her personal nature is too flawless, to my thinking, but we cannot deny that her physical lack completes her as a person. Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester seem made for each other, for the character of the master of Thornfield Hall fits her well. He is, so much like his estate, is quiet, mysterious, and looks impenetrable. Yet it’s his wealth and uncaring for physical lack and different status which make him just the “right” man for Jane. In what I would call a fairy tale, it is quite expected to have such characters as a pair. I’m not saying that their characters are unreal, nor what befalls them is too made-up, but in my opinion, they are just the characters expected from a classic woman literature.
Fortunately, as it is a classic work, Jane Eyre is written in a beautifully archaic language, equipped with so many symbols, figurative language, and shrouded in 19th century gothic atmosphere. The narrative fills up with romanticism, so full that you can feel it in every token appeared: the red room, Thornfield Hall, even the trees and the moors. I wouldn’t say that it is an easy read, but it is definitely not a work you want to miss.
Overall, even though I’m not a classic fan nor do I delight in such a fairy-tale love story, Jane Eyre is a must-read even only once in your life time. Putting aside its Cinderella-meets-her-prince-charming kind of narrative, Jane Eyre is still a classic work to consider for further reference in English literature.