Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Charlotte Bronte; Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre is the story of young, poor, unloved orphan, who, by the time she is twenty, is neither poor, unloved, nor completely without family. There are some ups and downs and at times it really doesn't look like it' going to work out, but thanks to a curious string of coincidences it all turns out alright. There are a few minor unhappy incidents designed to make you think that it didn't quite turn out perfectly, but they rather just highlight that it did. Having said that, the characters are likable enough, so it's forgivable.

I'm pretty proud of myself for finishing this book, because it's one of the very few books I tried to read before and never finished. When I first read it I hated Jane, I thought she was whiny, self-pitying, attention-seeking and just... generally eugh. This time, I found her tolerable to start with, and even likable as she grew up. But I can perfectly understand why my younger self really didn't like her. She's the kind of person my younger self would have wanted to punch if they'd met in person.

Unfortunately, however, I am apparently some sort of soulless demon for not crying at the end. So sayeth some idiot wannabe journalist writing for my Universities student newspaper. And, as briefly mentioned, one of the reasons I didn't cry is because it's all just so perfect. Then minor bad events are just highlight how pukingly perfect everything is rather than conceal it. It's tolerable, but I can't love it. Also, Bronte's occasional decisions to change tense just completely threw me out of the story every time she did it. I could cope with it the first few times, when she seemed to be doing it to get across the intensity of Jane's feelings when she met Rochester, but there were a few other times she did it that rather baffled me, and even the early times weren't done skillfully enough to avoid me breaking off and thinking 'hey, wait, what? ...Eh, fine...' I also found some of the descriptive language rather amusing. It made me think of Tiffany Aching and her dictionary swallowing.

It's not a bad book, but I found it a bit contrived, cliche, and not fantastically written, probably one of the worst classics I've read (bearing in mind that even the worst classics are a good deal better than most other books).

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