By Moyinoluwa Okunloye
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is one of those novels that I have been obsessed with ever since I first picked it up. I cannot remember how I got the book or when specifically it was introduced to me, but I have devoured it over and over again. It is one of those books that I read again and again, then googled it for some insights into the author’s mind and reasons for such magnificent piece. And when I was done with that, I searched to see if it had been adapted into a movie and when I saw how shabbily it was interpreted into a movie, I took my frustration and read the book again……. just to calm my nerves. I love the book.
I recently introduced the book to someone and I was asked, “why” I love the book so much. And that got me thinking.
My default response to this question was, “I love the language and grammar of the book. It is simple enough to be understood but complicated enough in its introduction of some words in a way that teaches you.” This is true. The first time I picked up the book (I think I was still in secondary school), I understood everything in it. But I also formed a glossary of new words that I discovered while reading. However, more than my attraction to its simplicity and the glossary of grammar, there are other things that makes the book so fascinating.
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I love the character Jane Eyre herself. I live vicariously through her. I wallow and reflect on my experiences through her narration. I reflect on my stubbornness through her actions with Mrs Reed and others who treated her poorly. I try to make a distinction between courage to face her fears and stubbornness. I like her acceptance of herself and her predicament. I am challenged by her resolve from early on, for what she wanted for her life and how she aimed for it.
I reflect on my boarding school experiences through Jane’s time at Lowood and although, we do not exactly have the same experience, I still understand. I learn from her curiosity and how she challenged her teachers and people she came in contact with. I see myself in her want for family, acceptance and happiness. I love her meekness and her contentment and her constant struggle with self – esteem. I do not envy her jealousy for the ladies’ friend of Mr. Rochester and their lifestyle. But I do not mind it, I find it humane. I wish to be as considerate and loving as she was, especially to Adele.
While I do not covet her love story as I hope that mine will be a lot better and smoother than hers, I love her tenacity and her resolve to pursue happiness and not compromise it for anything.
I am fascinated by the novel because I live and relive my life through the character of Jane Eyre. And now, I am reading it again ……..this time with someone.
Featured photo by Bloomsbury