Thursday, July 5, 2012

Jane Eyre: Book Review and Quotes

Now see, all my friends probably think I am in hibernation, studying with a crazed obsession or something. But what I HAVE been doing, while cozily cut-off from the word, is reading Charlotte Bronte's classic, Jane Eyre. It's been like a secret sin which I am now owning up to. Also, that is one book ticked off my list.

 Talking about the book - it was long, and winding, like most classics are. It was also thoroughly enjoyable, a very much heartening romance, which had much more depth and emotion as compared to Jane Austen's light-hearted and simple tales. The first half of the novel is more of drama, with social commentary and even some elements of a horror story, but as the story advances, it becomes a story of human nature and perseverance, and religion and societal values. But, at the end, more than anything, what you are left with, is a wonderful love story. And a truly filmy one as any good novel would demand, of course.

I felt some minor uneasiness at how religion seemed to rule the lead's, and in fact, all the character's lives, but then, again, that is a reflection of England in those times when this book was written, and the Author's personal beliefs.

Anyone who likes reading, and has a taste for Classics, this book is highly recommended. I am now gleefully looking forward to watching both the TV mini series, and the movie.

Now on to the most important part, some of my favourite quotes from the book:

1. "When we are struck at without a reason, we should strike back again very hard; I am sure we should – so hard as to teach the person who struck us never to do it again." - A very young, and truly amazing Jane Eyre, early on in the book.

2. “I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.”- Jane.

3. Rochester: "Jane, be still; don't struggle so like a wild, frantic bird, that is rending its own plumage in its desperation."

Jane: "I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being, with an independent will; which I now exert to leave you.”

4. "I must, then, repeat continually that we are forever sundered: - and yet, while I breathe and think, I must love him.” - Jane

5. “Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour ... If at my convenience I might break them, what would be their worth?” - Jane.

6. “Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last. To pluck the mask from the face of the Pharisee, is not to lift an impious hand to the Crown of Thorns."

7. “They spoke almost as loud as Feeling: and that clamoured wildly. "Oh, comply!" it said. "Think of his misery; think of his danger — look at his state when left alone; remember his headlong nature; consider the recklessness following on despair — soothe him; save him; love him; tell him you love him and will be his. Who in the world cares for you? or who will be injured by what you do?" - Jane.

8. “Am I hideous, Jane?
Very, sir: you always were, you know.”

9.  “Mademoiselle is a fairy," he said, whispering mysteriously.”

10.  “I loved him very much - more than I could trust myself to say - more than words had power to express." - Jane.

11. “You, Jane, I must have you for my own--entirely my own.”- Mr. Rochester

 12.  “When you are inquisitive, Jane, you always make me smile. You open your eyes like an eager bird, and make every now and then a restless movement, as if answers in speech did not flow fast enough for you, and you wanted to read the tablet of one's heart.”- Mr. Rochester.

13. “You are my sympathy - my better self - my good angel; I am bound to you by a strong attachment. I think you good, gifted, lovely; a fervant, a solemn passion is conceived in my heart; it leans to you, draws you to my center and spring of life, wraps my existence about you - and, kindling in pure, powerful flame, fuses you and me in one.”

14. “You are going, Jane?"

"I am going, sir."

"You are leaving me?"


"You will not come? You will not be my comforter, my rescuer? My deep love, my wild woe, my frantic prayer, are all nothing to you?"

What unutterable pathos was in his voice! How hard was it to reiterate firmly, "I am going!"


"Mr. Rochester."

17. “Reader, I married him.”- Jane.



  1. You know I always thought this particular novel was a great Gothic romance - it's all about resisting temptation and repressing passion and all those things that Jane Austen usually leaves for subtext and scholarly dissection. Wuthering Heights is even more blatant, Emily Bronte goes even further.

    I love the quotes you've picked out, Aayushi! :) I'm glad you've already crossed a book off your prodigious list. ;)

    Oh, and for a bit of trivia, do you know there's another rather celebrated female novelist from another century called Jean-Rhys Myers who wrote the rather amazing novel Wide Sargasso Sea about how Rochester met his first wife and how she ended up in that state. I think it's one of the greatest prequels ever written! :)

    1. It was definitely all about resisting temptation, you said it perfectly, and that too when you are tested to almost inhuman limits! And when you think about it in terms of how people live today, and how most of the love stories we consider great are always about sacrificing everything else for love, and this one was the exact opposite, where love was sacrificed to do what is considered the right thing.

      Much food for thought, definitely, the book was.

      I read Wuthering Heights in school, that too middle school! So don't remember much about it. Our school library gave us only classics to read! I must re-read it :(

      Haha, I crossed off this book and I also decided not to venture into anymore and concentrate on studies. Lets see how long that lasts!

      I have never heard of that author, I will research the book and see if I like it. Sounds very intriguing. Currently, though, I have the least interest in knowing about Rochester's first wife who was portrayed like such a villain in this book. I am still, as you can clearly see, very much inside the story. Hah.

  2. “To prolong doubt was to prolong hope.”
    ― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

    My favorite quote from that book. :)

  3. Have read an abridged version of this book. I really liked how the characters change as the story progresses. Would have loved to read more about the mad wife.
    By the way, I'm thinking of writing something to take your post 'Home', forward. Still haven't gotten over it. Is that okay?

    1. To read more about the mad wife you must read 'Wide Sargasso Sea' which Tangled... recommended.

      And yes, feel free to write whatever you want, good if my post inspires creativity of any sort :D

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