I get to fill in today for Molly, so I decided to review my all-time favourite classic, Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. I discovered this book when I was in my teens, and fell heels over head in love with it. I totally identified with a heroine who would rather sit around and read than do just about anything else. And the fact that she is plain and mouselike, yet still wins the affection of the ugly yet dashing Mr. Rochester just added to the appeal.
When my parents divorced, my mother ended up marrying someone she met through Mensa and moving to Utah. My stepfather is very good at pontificating, and there is a line in the book that perfectly captures my stepfather’s way of speaking: “Young lady, I am disposed to be gregarious and communicative tonight.”
The trick Mr. Rochester plays on Jane to try to get her to fall madly in love with him? There’s a line from the movie Grease that perfectly captures my feelings about that: “Men are rats. Listen to me! They’re fleas on rats. Worse than that! They’re amoebas on fleas on rats. I mean, they’re too low for even the dogs to bite. The only man a girl can depend on is her daddy.” Alas! Jane is an orphan, and her daddy is long gone.
The horribleness of St. John’s efforts to win Jane to his cause? There’s a line Jane says, in response to his coldness, that perfectly captures my feelings about that: “I scorn your idea of love,” I could not help saying, as I rose up and stood before him, leaning my back against the rock. “I scorn the counterfeit sentiment you offer: yes, St. John, and I scorn you when you offer it.”
And what a lovely line, after Jane has returned to the sorrowful Mr. Rochester, who has been badly burned by life and by his sins: “Reader, I married him.”
It still gives me chills.
Jane Eyre is one of those books that I must have at home. I have it on my nook. I also have a paper copy at home, because if I wake up at 3 a.m. and need to read it, it must be there. (Other 3 a.m. books, for me, include Harry Potter, The Canterbury Tales, Houses of Stone, and The Dark is Rising.)
What are your 3 a.m. books? Please share!!