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In today’s world, it is necessary to have read or be familiar with classic literature in order to understand allusions. The popular novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is a timeless piece from the 19th century. The tale follows the life of Jane, who grows up an unloved orphan and morphs into a strong-minded, passionate young woman.
Jane’s early childhood is shaped by her cruel adopted family. When she goes to boarding school, she is still greatly restricted by the rules, but she nevertheless connects with influential, kindred spirits. My absolute favorite character she encounters at school is Helen, who is wholly faithful and sees beyond the sufferings of this life. She says, “Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs. We are all burdened with faults in this world: but the time will come when…debasement and sin will fall from us with this cumbrous frame of flesh, and only the spark of the spirit will remain.” Helen’s certainty and eloquence are inspiring, and I find her to be the most influential person in Jane’s life, as Jane later becomes religious and connects to God through nature.
When I began reading, I thought I was studying a feminist piece of fiction with a romantic element. I was not prepared for the horror embedded in later chapters, as Jane becomes aware of a demon-like being living in the attic above her. Brontë also emphasizes a love for nature by allowing Jane to contemplate and relate her emotions to the environment, which is reflective of a romantic writing style. The combination of feminist passion, the search for independence, and mystery is brilliantly illustrated by the author through various characters and Jane’s emotional response to the world around her.
I recommend this book to anyone looking for a piece of fiction with multiple elements of writing (humor, romance and mystery). The novel is also a classic and I believe familiarity with it will aid anyone in day to day life.