“I can live alone, if self-respect and circumstances require me so to do. I need not sell my soul to buy bliss. I have an inward treasure, born with me, which can keep me alive if all extraneous delights should be-withheld; or offended only at a price I cannot afford to give.”
I realized that the metaphor of automaton was probably the most popular and well-known part of Jane Eyre, as in “Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings?” Yet, my favorite quote from the book is actually as quoted at the very top of this blog. What attracted me is the accuracy of Mr Rochester’s understanding of Jane Eyre, given the short amount of time they spend together up till the point when the quote is spilled out from Mr Rochester disguised as a Gypsy woman.
Mr Rochester clearly understands Jane Eyre. Maybe this is what love is all about. Meeting another soul who understands yours and coming to the realization that one’s life can never be complete without its other half, that it is true that god splits one soul into two and destiny (yes such a vague, superstitious, childish, unreal, and above all, grandiose concept) manifests itself. Such romance, such pureness, much jealousy (from me).
Jane Eyre reminds me of the connection between itself and lots of things happening in my daily life. I have read Jane Eyre from head to toe for about three or four times (well, I’m only twenty and I definitely/hopefully have sixty more years to go) and each time I was able to see the story from a different angle and got different inspirations out of it. I guess it depends on what is on my mind when I read the book. Obviously what I focuses in primary school is way different from what I values in life now. I like Jane Eyre, both the character and the book.
The following paragraph is me grumbling about the “mandatory readings”section in my early school days. Please skip since they are neither nutritious nor helpful in any means. I still have to write about it b/c I can’t stop my mind flowing all over the place, per usual.
I didn’t like the book as a young kid. I hate the fact that some numb educators(I mean can they even be called educators? they did tons of work but most of it has nothing to do with actually “educating” kids) decides to put parts of Jane Eyer into my primary school textbook. WRONG! nobody actually “reads”textbooks, introducing Jane Eyre by putting it into mandatory readings for school only pushes kids (me) away from reading it! As a kid I hated “mandatory” readings. Such a cold, strict, forceful and sad way of introducing reading to young kids. My primary school textbook included the section of Jane Eyre in which she revealed her true emotions to Mr Rochester. I remembered reading this section in textbook and was totally confused: first of all, I didn’t understand (in primary school) that between boys and girls there could exist relationships other than friendship, i.e. I didn’t realize that love in a romantic way existed. secondly, this section of Jane Eyre alone just makes Jane looks like a desperate woman yelling at someone she admires for simply not accepting her love, which is totally off topic for the book.
Jane Eyre has several movie interpretations, my favorite one is Jane Eyre 2006 version by BBC. I used one of the screenshot from the movie as the featured image of this blog post. This is Jane sitting and meditating. I enjoyed the 2006 version the most because: 1) Jane and Mr Rochester are not pretty human beings in this version, which fits the setting of the original work 2) For some reason I find Jane in this version has an aura of “independent woman” around her. If I have to draw out Jane Eyre in my mind, it would probably be the 2006 version of Jane. She seems to be perfectly fine reading, entertaining, or sitting alone. 3) Have you ever noticed the posture of a person can effect other people’s opinions on her? maybe I’m just crazy but the 2006 version Jane has the best posture. I mean look at it.
(She sit quite straight.)
I realized that I had digressed quite a bit. But anyways, the connection I see between Jane Eyre and my recent life is the definition of “love” , well love is a big word, then maybe “romance”. I just finished talking with my friend about the many romantic relationships we’ve encountered and seen in our daily life. Imo, romantic relationships around me seems to always fall into one of the extremes: either the relationship seems to last forever, or the bond breaks within one month. I mean seriously one month?! Is that even enough time to know somebody, to even start to have deep conversations? Or is it just because I’m too slow?
How many of us are actually “loving” our significant others? When the “one-month” relationships break up, do they feel disappointed? Surely breakup brings sadness. But will this sadness last, how long will it last? Moreover, do they feel disappointment? Are we respecting our significant other as our equal when in an romantic relationship? I realize that Jane Eyre is fictional and thus cannot be used as standards in evaluating real life relationships. “Evaluating”, I sound cold.
My mind is clearly wandering around again. Maybe I will come back and edit this post later. But if there is one thing I am for sure, it is that in Jane Eyre the word “soul” is used much more times than in real life. Love someone for his or her soul is the easiest way to ensure a stable and enriching relationship. Yet why do we forget about this and focus on much minor things all the time?