slice of my life

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

My little friend, Jane Eyre

I have been reading Jane Eyre for a while now. It takes me a long time to get through a book. During the school year, forget about reading something so heavy. I really want to be a "reader" again! I used to be! I really have no excuse now that my kids are as old as they are. I am not constantly holding them or running after them, nor are they always under my watchful eye. (See, my vocabulary and syntax may improve if I continue to read intellectual stuff!) The kids are often in the house (escaping the blazing heat of outdoors), but doing their own thing. Ya-hoo!

We took a trip to Half-Price Books last week. The kids were selling their old books. Bess took about 25 off her shelves alone. They were disappointed when the take was only $3. I think they are saving for a Lego set and now a mysterious $10 item Bess saw in HPBooks. Anyway, I came upon the three drawer file of Cliffs Notes there, and I realized that I would love to get the one about Jane Eyre. There are passages in French in the book with no explanation, and I thought the $2 I spent was worth it just for that knowledge. (I bet my Mom could figure out the meanings without that help!) I have really enjoyed reading the info in the Cliffs Notes; I read a chapter and then read the summary and the commentary. It helps me make sure I am "getting" it. I said this about Shakespeare when I took it in college, that you have to sort of get into the book (or play), get used to the language, and then it is much easier to understand. And since it has been such a long time since I read anything like this, it took me a while to get into it.

Yesterday I got to read for an uninterrupted hour. An HOUR! The kids slept until 8:30 and 9:00, which is unheard of. So I read instead of getting right to the computer. And this morning, Bess got up just now before 8:00, and I still haven't seen Jamie. I better check for a fever! The kids are recovering from a lock-in on Sunday night at Troupe. Jamie had a whole slew of shows this weekend, which tires us all out, too.

Note: if you think you'll read Jane Eyre sometime and don't want the story spoiled, don't read this paragraph. Yesterday, I got to read through the part where Jane is engaged to Rochester, and they prepare for the wedding. I passed through the midpoint of the book (page 220). This morning I read the book's climactic chapter (my Cliffs Notes told me so), where we find out that Rochester is still married to a crazy wild woman who is living in the 3rd story of the house. Aha! This explains to Jane all the sounds she has heard from above! I am bothered by Jane's relationship with this older man. He is nearly 40, and she is just 18 or 19. I am like Mrs. Fairfax, who is the housekeeper. Rochester has had a full life, full of tragedy (tricked into marrying a crazy person, fathering a child out of wedlock and then scorned by the French beauty who was her mother), and full of sensual pleasures (he says!) that helped him forget the "stuff" he's had to deal with. And now he wants Jane, someone who's unblemished, virginal, honest. He wants to start afresh with a new chapter in his life. He wants to be better, and Jane can help him. She likes him, I think, just because he's the only available man she's been around! Poor Jane! She should find someone with less baggage! I really think the love she has for him is really just those infatuation feelings everyone has in the beginning of a relationship. Given opportunity, she could feel just as passionate about someone else. Maybe no one else with as much money (which I really believe doesn't interest her).

But I know what else happens, since I read a synopsis before I started. I felt like I had to in this case to help me get through the book. People assume I am well read if they know I got my degree in English! I am going to try now to get a few books under my belt that I feel like I "should" have read. I am considering getting To Kill a Mockingbird next because it is one of the movies coming up at the presidential library. It'll put me back in the century in which I was born! If you have a "classic" book to suggest, please do!


  • Yes I could have helped you with the pesky French. I think that's how I kept up my French from 67 to 2003 and could get an A in college French. (unheard of in the past!)YOu have to remember that in the tme that this book was written many women died in childbirth and so men remarried younger women to carry on that line. I think pur idea of romantic love did not really evolve until the mid 20th century or a little earlier. women picke men that could take care of them and support them. Can you tell I have had some graduate English classes about the 19th century women and their health issues?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Friday, July 21, 2006 9:31:00 AM  

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