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The Passionate Pursuit of a Life Worth Living:
My take on “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte
by Cara A. Salley
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte captured my heart as a young college girl. It was given to me as a gift, amongst a small stack of other classics. I picked it out, and always being a little reluctant to read works of fiction, non-the-less classic works of fiction, picked Jane Eyre (more than likely because with a female as the main character, it held promise of romance). I set in to read and was captured immediately. The plain and ordinary nature of the heroin was so easy to relate to. I am sure this is why I first found it to be a favorite. I was young, nothing out of the ordinary to look at, and a helpless romantic at heart. As I perused the pages of this book, I saw a young woman with passion hidden deep in her soul. She was misunderstood by many, abused by some, but kept a fire burning within her and did not let it expire until she saw love’s true end.
Over the years, I have picked up Jane Eyre time and time again, usually over the Christmas holidays with a blanket and a warm cup of coffee. As a wife, mother, and minister, I tend to spend most of my time reading the Bible (my favorite in terms of timeless truth and value), or self-improvement (of which I have many that top my chart), but Jane Eyre is my candy. Every time I pick it up, I find myself engrossed in the rhythm of its words.
Charlotte was a master craftsman, ahead of her time in thought, and truly an inspiration in writing. It seems, as well, that I find a new theme come to light each time I pick it up. Jane is so relatable on many different levels. When I read it as a young girl, I was conflicted as I read of her pursuits of love and it’s injustice to her. As I entered ministry, I saw the repeated themes of religion exposed. I picked up Jane Eyre again over Christmas (this time, at the suggestion of my husband, in audio form through librivox.org. Who has time to snuggle with a blanket and cup of coffee to read a book when you’re a mother!). This reading, or rather hearing, nearly made me cry as I saw the abuse of children that rang loud as a reoccurring theme through the book. My heart swelled as I saw how Jane was mistreated by her own family, how religion abused and ultimately killed so many in her school, and how the little girl she tutored was born into a broken family and disregarded by her own mother. My heart swelled with compassion as a mother as I read Jane Eyre this past time, and it danced and sang once more as I saw justice and passion had their reign once more in Jane’s life.
If you have not ever picked this one up, I highly recommend you do. If you are not usually fond of classics, this is a great beginning piece. If you are not a woman (which you probably are if you are reading this blog!), my husband read it this past Christmas too and was absolutely enthralled with it. On a final note: I am a professed romantic at heart, and Jane Eyre will always speak to me of the passionate pursuit of a life worth living.
p.s. I’m @csalley…oh yeah, and my husband is a real “manly man.” He just happens to like classics! http://reflectionsbycara.blogspot.com/