Saturday, 24 January 2015

Jane Eyre

I have read this novel at least five times. Maybe it is starting to wear thin on me. That's not to denigrate it: it is still an accomplishment to write any book which I would read more than once.

I won't reiterate the plot, we all know the lives and loves of a governess and the manly Rochester. It's got some great lines. One of my favourites was: "And with that answer he left me. I would much rather he had knocked me down."

** spoiler alert **
The co-incidences used as plot devices sometimes stretch credibility too far. The worst offenders:

1> Jane told only one person, her uncle, she was to be married. She did this by letter. The letter crossed the world. When it arrived at her uncle's it just so happened that at that moment he was with the one person in the world who could stop her marriage; the uncle read out the letter; and thus a major part of the story could take place.

2> Jane is destitute. She runs out of strength and collapses, dying, at a doorway. It just so happens that it is the home of her only living relatives (who she didn't even know existed). Who'd have thought it?

Of course, the story justifies these by implying it is a god's will. Well, that's what deus ex machina is for, I suppose.

Don't take my snidey comments as the final word though. They're the irritations of a long-term lover; the magnification of faults from proximity; the over-critical eye of those who know you best. I still love the book. I love its idiosyncracies. I love the hold the first person narrative has on the reader. I love the way opposites are discovered to be two parts of the whole. It is a deserved classic.
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