Jane Eyre helped me get through my break-up.
I know what you’re thinking, “Jane Eyre? The one about the sad orphan? That helped you heal a broken heart?” And my answer is, “YES”. Let me explain…
I’ve always loved Jane Eyre. I’m a classic literature nerd and the Brontë sisters are some of my favorites. I know this might sound like a snooze fest to most people, but I’ve always gushed over the rich language and grandeur of the romantic plot lines. It’s sort of a comfort, I suppose, to see my bookshelf filled with multiple copies of the same classic novel, each adorning uniquely different cover art… I have four copies of Jane Eyre.
A few weeks ago–armed with a brand spankin new Audible membership– I decided to take a break from contemporary fiction and return to an old standby. I bought the Audible Original recording of Jane Eyre performed by the miraculously talented Thandie Newton. Best. Decision. Ever. I heard the novel in a completely new light. I appreciated Jane’s internal conflict with much more depth because I could quite literally hear the turmoil in her voice. In this exploration of the text, I found myself protesting in her defense, egging her on, and cautioning her against mistakes I already knew she was bound to make (silently… in my head… while on my commute to work of course…). When I first began listening to Jane Eyre, I was living in a suffocating over-the-garage bedroom with my then-boyfriend and driving an hour and fifteen minutes to work everyday. I was desperately lonely and felt very similar to Jane in her “Outcasted by the Reeds” phase. Little did I know, when I finished the novel, I would be simultaneously building a bookcase in my brand-new apartment alongside my new dog– single, but stronger than ever before. This novel that had already captured my heart took on a new meaning because in the last few weeks while reading it, I saw myself transforming–side by side with Jane.
For those of you who have not yet had the fortunate opportunity to read Jane Eyre (or for those of you that need a refresher), here’s the “I Spark Noted this the night before the exam” version (without spoilers!) so we can sort of be on the same page…
Jane Eyre follows the experiences of its orphaned heroine, including her growth to adulthood and her love for Mr. Rochester, the brooding master of Thornfield Hall. The novel revolutionized prose fiction in that the focus on Jane’s moral and spiritual development is told through an intimate, first-person narrative, where actions and events are colored by a psychological intensity
My reaction to this book in three emojis:
“Oh my gosh!”: There’s a HUGE plot twist in this story. Actually there are like at least 3. And each one is freshly devastating and exhilarating and inspiring every time I encounter them.
Broken Heart: Jane experiences a brutal emotional rollercoaster in the course of this book. It will break your heart, it will make you cringe at the unjustness of it all, and it will force you to take an honest look at yourself and your capacity for forgiveness.
Strong: At times she gives into feelings of unworthiness and definitely grapples with heartbreak from several directions, however, Jane is persistent in her fight to survive. Even at her worst moments, she is still somehow plotting her way out of the current misery and into a self-sustaining life. She is educated, she is steady in her faith, and she desires–above all else– to take care of herself and not live the life of a dependent. What’s not to admire there?
My Favorite Moment:
Towards the end of the book, Jane is surprised with a promise of a family that she has never known before. The description of this sisterly/cousinly affection is absolutely adorable and a remarkable example of females supporting females. By this point in the novel you’re just dying for something to go right and while it’s not what the reader expects or was maybe even hoping for, the addition of female companionship in her life is crucial and deserved. My life, at present, has also surprised me with a similar gift. While I lost a romantic partner, I am grateful to have gained quite a few empowered and encouraging female friends. Sometimes we find the missing piece we’re looking for, but we don’t recognize it at first because it takes on an entirely different shape than we imagined.
My Favorite Quote:
I am no bird; and no net ensnares me:
I am a free human being with an independent will.
Halo Top Pairing…
To go with Mr. Rochester’s sorted and complex past, I wanted the darkest and most mysterious flavor I could find. Chocolate Mocha Chip turned out to be the perfect moody companion– rich, decedent and smooth. As a chocoholic, I consider myself quite the expert on what’s good and what’s phony bologna. Take it from me, this low-calorie chocolate ice cream is just as authentic as the omg-did-just-consume-that-many-calories-in-one-sitting kind. My one criticism is that overall it could have been slightly more mocha-forward rather than just milk chocolate.