Monday, April 18, 2011

Poor, obscure, plain and little...

I've been on a massive Jane Eyre kick lately. It can really be blamed on Sara, the Theatre Fairy, if you're up for playing the blame game. It's her all time favorite book and when the new adaptation finally came out in Utah (apparently a March 11th release date actually means April 1st in Utah. It must be the whole Mormon Standard Time thing interfering), Sara insisted that we squeeze in a viewing and, let's be honest, who was I to argue? I hadn't read the book since Mrs. Shelton's AP English class and I only distinctly remembered two parts: where Jane is locked in the Red Room (the room that, as a 10 year old, she's beyond positive is haunted by the ghost of her dead uncle) and the end, where she returns to find a blind and broken Mr. Rochester after which she says, "Reader, I married him". Did I just spoil it for you? Well, I don't even feel a little bit bad. The book has been around for over 150 years, so if you don't know the ending by now, that's your own dang fault. Anyway, I remember enjoying the book, but I've always been more of an Austen girl, so I hadn't re-read it since I was 17 or so. After two delightful Mr. Rochester filled hours, I was more intrigued and drawn to the story then I ever had been before. I was reminded of why I actually finished the book (as opposed to Wuthering Heights, which I'm only slightly ashamed to say was finished with the generous aid of Cliff's Notes. Don't judge. Even its delicious creepiness can't make up for the fact that there isn't a single likable character in the whole blasted book): I saw much more of myself in Jane that I had in any character in a book up to that point. That's not to say that our lives were similar in the least: I come from a fantastic family and had an incredible childhood. I was loved beyond all reason and rarely wanted for anything. On my more self deprecating days, I identify with the fact that Jane is plain. Now don't get your panties in a twist. I didn't say that I was ugly. And neither is Jane. She's simply one of those people whose beauty isn't visible to the random passer by. That's not to say that most people can be judged by their covers, but some of us have less remarkable and stunning packaging than others. And more often then not, I feel the same way. I mean, please. I'm called adorable. Cute. Sweet. Lovable. Darling. Sometimes I feel more like a puppy or a baby chick than a woman. In reality, none of this is of great consequence to Jane because what makes her such a strong and desirable heroine is the ability to persevere through even the most weighty and unpleasant of circumstances. That chick is a survivor if that I've seen..er, read one. She's intelligent and independent. She has to make her own way in the world and is willing work for what she gets. Though she may be (in Mr. Rochester's words), "poor, obscure, plain and little", she has a huge impact on the lives of those around her, which has always been my goal. It's her heart and her kindness that make her great. Her ability to see the good in others, but not to let even that sway her into doing something that she feels to be morally wrong. I love Jane because she's everything that I want to be when I finally decide to grow up.

So dish. Who's your hero?

3 comments:

Lisa said...

Marguerite St. Just/Blakeney, and not of the movie or musical, the book version. The one who repeatedly sneaks over to a revolution-ravaged country to rescue her husband, who is the only member of the League and who endures torture with grace. That's my girl.

megan said...

Ah I'm reading Jane Eyre right now also! Natalie is in love with that book and when I tried to read it earlier, I got bored. But I figured if Natalie is loving it, then I should try reading it again and I'm loving it. :)

P.S. Have you heard the broadway music for Jane Eyre? It's amazing. And they use lines from the book. I hear the voices from the broadway when I read the book.

Baby Sister said...

I re-read it in anticipation of the new movie coming out. I didn't have memories of finishing it, but the further I got in the book, the more I remembered it. So I think I finished it, I just blocked it out from my memory because the first half is so depressing. I'm more of an Austen fan myself as well. But didn't you just love the movie?? I think they did such a great job!! :)

p.s. I know you didn't write this to fish for compliments, but just so you know, I think you're very beautiful. :)

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