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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 17 January 2012
As someone long familiar with the appeal and popularity of Jane Eyre, but unfamiliar with the story itself, Jane Eyre was not a disappointment at all.
As someone who enjoys classics, but has often been daunted by the rather un-digestable nature of certain British classics, not least of which those from the pen of Dickens, Jane Eyre was a decent opportunity for this reader to absorb a well renowned British classic.
As a story focused on one individual, Jane Eyre takes a rather unpredictable, though thoroughly enjoyable narrative through the life of the central protagonist, with many surprises, twists and turns along the way.
As one may find oneself longing for a happy ending, at times such an outcome seems inconceivable with the cruel blows dealt by fate within these pages, but all readers should persist and read to the novels conclusion.
In all, a highly readable, imaginative, and faultless tale. A true classic.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre" has been one of my favorite novels since I first read it in high school. It is one of those special books which can be read and savored over and over, and seems to improve with each reading. The tale is narrated by Miss Eyre, herself, inviting a special and intimate relationship with the reader. It is through Jane that we meet and grow to care about, or hate, so many of the memorable characters one becomes acquainted with on these pages. And it is through her narrative, first as a little girl, then as a young woman, that Jane's complex persona is revealed. From an early age her morality, wit, determination, sheer grit and romanticism are evident.
Published in 1847, the novel, at first glance, appears to be another well written gothic romance, of the kind so popular in the Victorian Age, with its mystery, horror, brooding hero, touch of the melodramatic, and dark castle-like setting. The rise of poor orphaned Jane, who against all odds, redeems her tormented hero through her steadfast love, is really not unique at all. Charlotte Bronte did not, however, write a mere romance, no matter how riveting the read. Throughout, the author makes some serious statements about women's equality, the treatment of children, and of women forced into a dependent state during the Victorian epoch, religious hypocrisy, romantic relationships between men and women, the nature of true love, and the development of self. This is a beautifully written work of fiction which combines a riveting storyline, compelling characters, vivid descriptions along with a powerful testimony about the period in which the book was written.
Young Jane, orphaned at an early age, is grudgingly taken-in by her Aunt, Mrs. Reed, who seems to despise the child. The Reed children are spoiled rotten, and the eldest son is somewhat of a sadist who abuses his young cousin terribly. Aunt Reed always finds a reason to blame Jane for the household's ills. When the boy takes his torture too far and Jane attempts to defend herself, her aunt has her locked in the room where her uncle died, terrifying the poor girl into hysteria. Unwilling to care for the girl any longer, Mrs. Reed packs her off to the harsh Lowood School, a miserable charitable institution which is more like a prison than a place of education. Lowood's despicable headmaster, Rev. Brockelhurst, does everything in his power to break Jane's spirit. At one point, when he asks Jane how to avoid going to hell, she defiantly responds, "I must stay well and not die."
A particularly compassionate teacher recognizes Jane's intelligence and sensitivity and befriends the girl. When Jane graduates she stays to teach at Lowood until her mentor leaves to marry. Jane then decides it is time for a change, and applies for a position as a governess. She is offered a job at the distant Thornfield Manor. Mrs. Fairfax, Thornfield's housekeeper, welcomes her warmly and introduces her to the staff and to little girl who will be her pupil, the precocious Adele. She is not, however, introduced to all the household's inhabitants - especially not to one who inhabits the uppermost floor. Thornfield's owner, Mr. Rochester, (one of my favorite literary heroes), is away when our protagonist arrives, yet it is he who will have a most profound effect on her life - and she on his.
If you have not read "Jane Eyre" yet, why wait any longer? If you have not reread it for a few years, now's the time! My highest recommendations!
JANA
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 November 2008
To put it quite simply: this novel is wonderful. The passion at its core, whether that be Jane's struggle against her Aunt or her turbulent love affair with Mr Rochester, is always thrilling and bears repeated reading well. While you may not always agree with Jane's actions/thoughts/reasoning from a modern point of view the novel exercises a sufficient pull on your powers of empathy to render this a very minor niggle. The novel is full of wonderful imagery and symbolism to make this a wonderfully rich text. This version contains some helpful notes on the text, an appendix of reviews that greeted the work on it's original publication and some 'mini-essays' by Stevie Davies which includes an interesting section on the politics of the novel.
All in all, a must buy.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2003
JANE EYRE is a wonderful story about a woman's struggle to survive and go on to realize her full potential. It is also a stirring tale of romance in which love conquers evil and despair.
The plot is interesting while the main characters are multi-dimensional and very intriguing. The book has almost too many characters but some are memorable simply because they seem so real.
The story begins with Jane Eyre as an unwanted orphan in the care of a cruel aunt who has two spoiled children of her own. Jane is sent to an austere boarding school where she develops into a remarkable young woman able to overcome tremendous obstacles and discouragements. She gets a job as governess for a young girl at Thornfield which is owned by Edward Rochester. The evolving love relationship between Jane and Edward becomes the focus of the novel whose broad message is uplifting in spite of the sombre mood and tragic events which often intervene.
I like Charlotte Bronte's writing style. It is easy to see why she became an immediate success with the publication of JANE EYRE in 1847.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The last of the Bronte sisters to have a novel published, although they did all appear in the same year, Charlotte originally put forward 'The Professor' to be her first novel, which was turned down (quite rightly), thus only being published after her death. As with her two other major novels, 'Villette' and 'Shirley' you can quite clearly see how Charlotte played with her readers and their expectations.

We read about Jane Eyre growing up and how she falls in love with Mr Rochester, only to find out a secret after he has proposed to her. With gothic settings and an end that would have been a surprise for most readers of the time this was first published, this novel was ultimately said by Margaret Oliphant to be the beginning of the 'Sensation Novel', and it is quite clear why. Readers since its first publication have fallen in love with this story and it was well received by most critics at the time, with the exception of those of a more strictly religious persuasion - after all it is a romance, but of an illicit type.

Nowadays apart from still being a very engrossing read this also gives some idea of how people were treated and what normal expectations their lives had. Of course Charlotte, by creating what was an illicit romance between two people would have still been a bit of a shocker at the time, as such things were greatly frowned upon publicly, and this shows Charlotte's sophistication and willingness to appeal to her readers. She followed up such things with 'Villette' where she goes out of her way to play with her readers, and with 'Shirley', because at the time the name was only just becoming to be associated as a female name instead of a male. If you think about it you would have picked the book up seeing the title and expecting the character to be a male.

Told in the first person Jane Eyre talks to us and brings her story to life with a certain amount of pathos, thus making us as readers really feel for her and ache to help her. Although nowadays perhaps seen more as a teen girl's book this is for all of us, of whatever sex, or even sexual orientation. How many of us have fallen in love with someone who is unavailable? I would think most of us at one time or another. Having a strong narrative that really draws you in and captivates this is truly a timeless classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 August 2011
I don't think this novel is for the faint-hearted. I first read it in my early teens and spent a lot of time with tears running down my cheeks soaking the pages. These were mostly tears of anger at Jane's appalling treatment, firstly at the hands of her relatives and then in the dreadful Lowood. I clench my fists now with a desire to do something very nasty to Mr Brocklehurst. I have the additional trauma of reading not this edition, but a very old illustrated one with, for example a dire representation entitled, 'The teacher inflicted a dozen strokes'.. you get the picture of Lowood!,
I am guessing that maybe this horrific childhood was not AS challenging to read about as it is now. At the time it was written, children were often regarded as objects, their feelings ignored and even in the best of families they were subject to mental and physical abuse. Having said that, we still live in a world where children like baby P can exist.
These days our Jane would be in therapy for years to get over Lowood but here she soldiers on, gets a job as a governess and, against the odds, gets her man. Along the way she has to see off such familiar obstacles to True Romance, as an age gap, a social chasm and a much better looking love rival!
I said it was a horror story and it is. Get behind the prose describing that bleak school, its sick and shivering denizens, think about Grace Poole's charge, IMAGINE as I did, at an impressionable age, what went on behind those closed doors and it is horrific as any other Gothic tale.

Yes it is romantic, but Reader, you are going to have to plough through some distressing stuff to get to the starry skies of requited love. Worth it? Oh certainly!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 October 2010
If there is anyone on the planet who hasn't read this novel, all I can say is shame on you and rectify this gross error in judgement immediately. This is the ultimate in romantic, classic literature, full of depth, feeling and real emotion. It is beautifully written, the characters jump off the page, the hero, Mr Rochester, in particular.

Our heroine, Jane, also our narrator, is an orphan and left to the care of her Aunt, Mrs Reed, who hates her and sends her away to a charity school where Jane faces every hardship going, and where she experiences the only friend she has taken away in death.

Age 18, she takes up a position as Governess in Thornfield Hall to the ward of a Mr Rochester. They fall in love, genuinely so, (all men take note), NOT because of any of her physical attributes or for how much money she's got, but because of her very beautiful mind. The happiness doesn't last, as poor Jane discovers something that makes it impossible for her to marry Mr Rochester. She runs away and quite by luck stumbles on a set of siblings who offer her kindness. Jane's luck changes as she finds out they are actually her cousins and that another uncle has died and left her a great deal of money. She rejects the proposals of her cousin St John Rivers, (who is the most impossible, arrogant and pig headed of all men) and goes back to Rochester. There is a happy ending, and it is so delicious, there are no other words I can use- you'll just have to read it for yourselves!

Thackery said 'Jane Eyre' was "the masterwork of a great genius'- he's spot on with that one. (After you've read the book, it's time to watch some adaptations- best ones are the 1983 bbc version with Timothy Dalton, the script is unbeatable as is the emotion and also the 2006 bbc adaptation with Toby Stephens, which is enough reccomendation in itself.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 September 2010
I didn't start `Jane Eyre' with the highest of hopes I will be honest. First of all there was my `history' with Charlotte's sister Emily's novel `Wuthering Heights', which I thought was tosh, but we shouldn't judge an author on their siblings efforts (Byatt and Drabble or vice versa for instance) should we? There was also the length, 500+ pages, to contend with, the fact it is labelled a `classic' and also the fact it started of with an orphan. Books with orphans as the lead character have, to my mind, become the great cliché of writing however this is one of the earliest and therefore if anything people will have stolen/paid homage to this.

When we first meet Jane Eyre it is under the begrudging guardian ship of her venomous (and therefore I liked her a bit) Aunt Mrs Reed in Gateshead with her vile cousins who contanstly bully and blame her. We are of course instantly on Jane's side; we always want the underdog to come through after all. Soon enough things come to ahead and the aunt who can never love her sends her to Lockwood a charity institution for young girls where the uncaring Mr Brocklehurst believes the devil can be taken from the child. I could add in so much here it's untrue, such as the wonderful Miss Temple and the delightful and tragic Helen Burns, but if there is anyone out there who hasn't read it I wouldn't want to spoil a second of the wonderful read you have ahead of you before the main story really starts.

Well, when I say main, I mean more the story we all think we know if we haven't read the book which is starts as Jane leaves Lowood as a teacher and becomes a governess for the mysterious Mr Rochester's rather irritating ward Adele. From the moment she `bewitches' his horse something starts between the two characters and takes the story into a darker and more eerie setting in the grand house of Thornfield Hall.

Despite being much older and a bit of a grumpy arse so and so there is something about Rochester that attracts Jane despite herself, and it appears Rochester can see something in Jane despite her plainness (is this where we get the term `plain Jane'?) and situation. Only Charlotte Bronte doesn't let things run smoothly or the way you would assume and instead provides twist after twist taking her reader on a rather heartbreaking, occasionally shocking, slightly enraging, but immensely readable and gripping journey. She also takes you on it with an utterly wonderful narrating heroine who Bronte really puts through the mill and therefore also the reader on an emotional rollercoaster (not that they had rollercoaster's in Charlotte's day). Can you tell I loved it?

I still don't think I have anywhere near done this book justice but then I don't think I ever could. I could happily rattle on for a good thousand words or more though... However rather than give anything more away to those who haven't read it and possibly ruin their enjoyment of it I will simply say that `Jane Eyre' has instantly become one of my all time favourite novels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 July 2010
At the beginning of first chapter, I found it hard to follow her story. First of all because I'm not used to reading classics literature, and it's a bit hard to understand the language. My motivation went downhill and made me put Jane aside for a few days. Finally after two months, with cheers and motivations given by Dini and Erie, I finally finished it. YAY!
I found it hard to like Mr. Rochester, and the book didn't help me understand why Jane could love him, a man who were described as a middle aged man with an ugly face (in the movie he's not that bad looking), and an authority character who always gave commands. But watching the movie help me understand why Jane falls in love with him. Jane had no dad since she was a child, right? And that means she didn't get a father figure in her life, plus her uncle died. She found it in Mr. Rochester, that's why she loved him (Hmm... I could be a psychologist now)
The young Jane didn't appreciate Mr. Rochester's idea in making her his mistress, because at that time, bigamy was prohibited and Mr. Rochester could go into jail for doing that. But still he tried to wed Jane and ready to take the risk in order to be with her. I liked him then. I liked his courage and his great love for Jane. But when Jane ran away from him, I could understand it, too.
When she met her cousins, whom she didn't know about, I couldn't believe how relief I am, and how happy I am for her. It shows how Bronte could bring out her emotions and pour it into her book and reach my emotions when I read it. It made me gasp in horror, yell in frustration and cheer in happiness. Plus, there are meaningful conversations shared between Jane and Mr. Rochester that I like. The curious questions from Mr. Rochester and the smart reply from Jane made me smile.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 January 2007
Since it was penned in 1847 (under the masculine pseudonym of Currier Bell), Jane Eyre has maintained a devoted following. I first read it at age 12 and Jane Eyre became part of what makes me tick. It tells the story of an abused child possessed of a luminous and unbreakable spirit. It speaks out against oppressive treatment in the name of charity. And, of course, it is a love story that transcends social standing, age, time, distance, death and madness. The novel has been embraced as a feminist work, revering Jane for her independence and survivor skills. Our hero, Edward Fairfax Rochester, is gallant, charismatic, corageous, physically powerful, not quite handsome, and flawed--damaged by privilege and betrayal. (Did I mention guys like it too?) It has been adapted to the screen many times, including the beautiful 2006 BBC production that is portrayed on the cover of this volume. On reading Jane Eyre as an adult, after a few life experiences of my own, I found a surprising new dimension to our lovers in that they both possess keen humor and insight. I have rediscovered the genius of our author, Ms. Bronte, in the psychological complexity of this work.

I have friends who have never read the book so I won't describe the story further and create spoilers. I advise new readers, whether or not you have seen a film adaptation, to avoid (or defer for later) any analysis or discussion that may preface your edition so that you can form your own impression of this remarkable book.
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