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on 25 December 2016
Jane Eyre is set in rural 19th century England, Bronte has created a fictional account of the early life of Jane Eyre examining the conflicts between love and independence, conscience and passion, and the struggle of a young girl and woman. These hardly seem revolutionary now but were all pioneering themes in the patriarchal society of Victorian England in the 1800s.

Jane Eyre, a nine year old orphan, is being raised by her maternal aunt, Mrs. Reed, depicted as a cold and uncaring maternal figure Jane Eyre finds herself at Lowood Boarding School where life is just as tough before Jane Eyre helped by her role model Helen Burns becomes an intelligent, educated young woman eventually tutoring at the school before she leaves to work for the wealthy Mr. Rochester. Rochester and Eyre have tumultuous relationship throughout the novel and Rochester has dark secrets he is trying to keep hidden in the attic of his home.

It is a good story well told, if it has any weaknesses it might be the overuse of French with no translations and the concluding chapter is very brief and just wraps up everything a little too neatly. But it is a classic of English Literature and rightly so.
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on 19 February 2017
Jane Eyre is such a classic and so widely known that even having not read it, I knew the story. I saw Samantha Morton's excellent portrayal of Jane in the 1997 TV film version (something which I've re-watched recently and would highly recommend). But if you've never read it or seen a film version, here's a brief synopsis:

The novel starts with Jane Eyre looking back on her childhood as a poor relation growing up with her Aunt and cousins. They don't treat her well and soon pack her off to Lowood boarding school. This is Jane's saving grace, she loves to learn and gets on well at the school despite it's hardships. She quickly becomes friends with Helen Burns, who has some great lines. She stays on as a teacher for several years before searching for a governess post. The first one she finds is at Thornfield Hall some 100 miles from the school that's been her home for nearly a decade. This is where she meets Mr Rochester, and I won't spoil the story from there on.

Jane Eyre was Charlotte's first novel to be published and was immediately popular, it's easy to see why. Jane's character is so forceful, it leaps off the page at you. She expresses great dismay at the limited choices open to women in the mid-19th century and makes the best of every opportunity open to her.

Jane is so passionate and highly principled. Her reaction to Mr Rochester's secret tells you everything you need to know about her, she won't compromise her values even for the man she loves. Her sacrifice speaks to me and I hope to all women, to not settle for second best, to make the most of everything and to make yourself heard.

I enjoyed immensely the TV film To Walk Invisible which was shown in the UK over Christmas, it showed how the sisters were first published and the troubled relationship they had with their brother, Branwell. If you didn't see it and can get your hands on it, please watch it.
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on 27 June 2016
The books themselves are nice and i would recommend them. However i've brought from a couple of sellers including amazon and the covers a lot of times have been dirty. The covers being plastic means they can be wiped with a damp cloth to try clean the covers which does help but i shouldn't have to do this.
The pages themselves are very good quality but the covers are very hit and miss, Maybe the producer/manufacture or publisher (whoever deals with packaging) should issue a cellophane cover for them to be sold in as they seem to attract allot or dirt or maybe its how they are being stored in the warehouse. I've brought 7 of these books for myself and only 4 have been in perfect condition.The last 3 books i brought were dirty and parts of the plastic cover were slightly damaged on 2 book. I've put this down to the fact that they were packaged in an over sized box with other things i had ordered so everything was moving around within. I've brought 2 for my niece and one was again slightly dirty and the other had a bit of the plastic cover damaged though both were packaged very well that time.
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on 24 September 2016
Awful! Book is huuuuuuge and tiny print. Disaster. Buy another version I've had ro
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on 16 June 2013
This my favourite book for oh so many reasons.

It's a bit long and rambling in places for modern readers, but you have to remember a Victorian writer wouldn't have had an editor in the way modern writers do, to trim and tighten things up, so we are reading what might be closer to an earlier draft by modern standards. I love the lyrical nature of Charlotte Bronte's language, but even I skim some of the wordier parts, long rambling descriptions in places, and there are many religious references that go over the head of modern readers (refer to the notes in a printed copy if you really want to understand it all). Having said this, even with this skimming in places, it's a really good book with wonderful prose that tackles a number of social issues of the time.

Many people concentrate on the romance between Jane and Rochester, but there's so much more.

We see the kind of life an orphan (especially a girl) might have expected in pre social security Victorian Britain, even one born into a relatively comfortable family. There is a strong critical commentary on the conditions in some charity boarding schools (including Charlotte Bronte's own school at Cowan Bridge, a clergymen's daughters school). But Jane will not be broken, she's a feisty little girl and grows into a strong self assured young woman.

There's quite a feminist feel to many parts of the book, Charlotte Bronte was well educated herself, but she obviously felt the injustice of the unequal status, treatment and expectations of women at the time.

Jane wants to be respected and loved fer her intelligence and mind more than looks (she is no beauty) and she wants to be regarded as an equal in these respects by her prospective partner in life and this is one of the reasons she falls in love with Rochester because that is how he treats her.

Rochester seems like a monster in some respects by modern standards, but the book needs to be read with the historical context in mind. Divorce was very difficult to obtain at the time and living together (In sin) in much more religious times was socially unacceptable. Therefore many people found themselves trapped in marriages so bigamy was much more common than now (it's not really necessary now). It was a very bad crime, but none the less understandable in some circumstances. Also, understanding of mental health was almost non existent at the time and anyone who strayed from the social norms of behaviour would be written off as mad and be likely to end up in one of the horrendous asylums so prevalent at the time. It was actually considered the kinder option to employ a full time carer and keep the relative at home in a remote wing of a large house. Rochester had 3 other options than the one he took. He could have left Bertha behind in the West Indies, or sent her to an asylum and forgotten about her, knowing she'd probably die from infection fairly quickly in the squalor and filth, or he could have sent her to a damp house in the forest with Grace Poole and again let the conditions kill her with infection. All of these would have kept her at a greater distance and reduced the risk of anyone finding out about Bertha. However, he takes the arguably more moral option of keeping her close, in drier warmer conditions with a constant companion. A recently discovered case (2013) in India of a relative locked up in a house due to mental health issues and reaction to it shows that cultural norms vary widely, so although I don't condone Rochester's behaviour, I do believe the situation needs to be viewed through Victorian eyes as much as is possible today.

There is also a section that deals with the cold Christian religious fanaticism of St John Rivers with his heart as cold as stone, despite his Grecian good looks, which poses the question, should Jane marry for high morals (and possibly a very good looking husband), or would she be better off with a flawed, damaged and less than handsome husband with passion and a basically good heart full of repentance. The latter also being someone ready to accept Jane's intelligence and treat her as an equal partner in their relationship.

It needs to be remembered that some of the negative reaction to the book on publication (It was considered quite shocking) probably wasn't for the same reasons we find parts of it shocking. It was Jane standing up for herself as a female that caused concern among men. God forbid that women would want an equal voice alongside men.

All in all my absolute most favourite book of all time.

Oh and by the way, the romance is also moving as Jane gradually becomes unable to prevent herself from falling for Rochester, so enjoy that part also. "-and, alas! never had I loved him so well".
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on 4 February 2014
This is The Classic for me. There are numerous reasons as to why I never tire from reading 'Jane Eyre'; how Brontë captures the heroine's emotions in a melancholic, poetic way, Thornfield reflects wonderfully both the heroine and Mr Rochester: unattractive on the outside, but warm and beautiful if one takes a closer look. The account does not provide a stereotypical damsel-in-distress, a pretty heroine, however an ordinary-looking girl whose appearance may not appeal to the readers, only her character demands our respect and, perhaps, admiration. She is her own mistress, and she is in control of her own future, forbidding others to choose her destiny, which involves Mr. Rochester. Dear Mr. Rochester, Brontë paints her hero who is worn from years of hardship. The fact that there is still a flicker of hope/love in him for Jane Eyre draws out his gentleman character: the warmth, the tenderness, the affection.
These are a few reasons why 'Jane Eyre' will always occupy the number one spot in Classical Literature. I recommend this to anyone who needs inspiration to follow your heart. Truly, this story is timeless.
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on 11 November 2013
I read quite a few classics as a young adult, but this one had somehow slipped through the net. I'm glad I've rediscovered it and plan to read some of the other Bronte novels on the strength of Jane Eyre. I was also inspired to watch the 1943 movie with Orson Welles, which loosely follows the story. (You can find the full movie on YouTube!)

The only thing that puzzled me about the Kindle edition of this book was the fact that it is stated to have only 332 pages. It felt a lot longer than that (more like 500+ pages, if I want to be honest). Either the physical book is printed with a tiny typeset to fit on 332 pages, or perhaps they made a mistake with the Kindle pagination, I'm not sure. (Or I'm just a slow reader with a large typeset on my Kindle? - that's also a possibility!) I kept turning the Kindle pages without making any noticeable visual progress through the book (10 kindle pages=1 book page, or something like that) which I've found a bit frustrating. (Or am I just being shallow wanting to see my progress?)

I enjoyed the story a lot, though I found it a bit slow-going at places. It's well worth reading if you like old classics.
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on 8 January 2014
A brave, ground breaking book of its time for its author to write with such truth that it was critiqued as ‘pornographic and irreligious'(!) But based on her own life and experience of Lowood School, I would recommend it for the truth of its historicity alone. We owe a lot to Charlotte Bronte and the truth of her portrayal of the cruelty of a young woman's life at those Victorian times.

(The exchange between Jane Eyre and St John Rivers was also said to be a ‘dangerous disregard of custom’ ).

[Later in Charlotte Bronte's life, and writing as Currer Bell', Sharpe’s magazine,wrote that it had decided that 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall' was of such a revolting nature, they had to warn lady readers against reading it ‘for none but a man could have known so intimately each vile, daring fold of the civilised brute’s corrupted nature’ No woman could have displayed such coarseness.(!)]

Heavens above! Such a description of any book in these days would have it flying off the shelves as a 'blockbuster' ... !
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on 26 May 2013
Writing a review of Jane Eyre is rather like giving one's opinion on the Rockefeller Centre - it's there, it's an established classic, and acknowledged a such. However, this wonderful novel moved me to such a degree that I thought I would give a few thoughts about it, in the hope that anyone who has not yet immersed themselves in this beautiful experience will consider doing so.

What is so wonderful about this book is that, as a story per se, it's fantastically straightforward and readable. I think Bronte herself described it as a "plain tale", and indeed in some respects it is a simple, moving story, told without pretension or artifice. However, into that tale the author packs such a rich web of symbolism and metaphor, descriptive brilliance and wild imagination, that you would have to say this is possibly the most gorgeously decorated "plain tale" ever told. For the 1840s it's absolutely off the map, and today's reader will still be constantly amazed at the joy of reading this novel. I raced through it greedily, and know that in time I will come back to it again. I'm so pleased no well-meaning English teacher ever forced me to read this at 14 and analyse it to death - this is a book for pleasure, and a book to enjoy when the time it right for you. Whenever that it, you'll have one of the best literary experiences available.
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on 10 May 2012
I've lost count of the number of times I've read this book over the years, yet despite this I still have the desire to read once again this compelling Bronte novel. It's the unabridged version, but in addition to the novel there is a great deal of information prefaced about Charlotte Bronte and her family which is extremely interesting in itself. An evergreen classic that will never fade into obscurity.
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