I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Jane Eyre: A Review in Gifs

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , , , ,
Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Brontë

If you haven't read this book, I must warn you this review has spoilers!  I love this book so much, and I think gif reviews are fun, so I wanted to use them to celebrate my favorite story! (And it gives me an excuse to use all these gifs from my favorite fandoms!)  This isn't so much a review as a silly lovefest, mostly for my own amusement.  Sorry!

Now it's time to enter:

Part I: The world is treating me bad, misery

The childhood portion of Jane Eyre, sets up so much important information about how and why Jane becomes the person she is in the rest of the novel.  While on first reading it might be a little slow to get through (and of course there are so many fantastic parts later you will want to read right away!), this section of the novel is a great study in childhood emotions.  Children are formed by their experiences when young, which I think was a largely disregarded concept in Victorian England.  And this section has some great villainous characters that you just want to slap in the face like Mrs. Reed, who's just a horrible person, and hypocritical Mr. Brocklehurst.

And it has the great scene where young Jane tells Mrs. Reed off!  Even though Jane feels guilty later, Jane absolutely deserves a standing ovation for that!

"People think you a good woman, but you are bad, hard-hearted. You are deceitful!”

And then there is Helen Burns.

She isn't in the story for long, but she definitely makes her mark on Jane, and Helen's selflessness and piety give Jane that moral stability that defines her for the rest of Jane's life.  So Helen is pretty important, yo!  

Part II: Love will keep us together

While of course Mr. Rochester plays a large part of why this section is THE BEST PART OF THE BOOK, for me, seeing Jane grow as a person, expanding her experience, is another reason why this section resonates with me.  I love this passage from the book:

“You never felt jealousy, did you, Miss Eyre? Of course not: I need not ask you; because you never felt love. You have both sentiments yet to experience: your soul sleeps; the shock is yet to be given which shall waken it. You think all existence lapses in as quiet a flow as that in which your youth has hitherto slid away. Floating on with closed eyes and muffled ears, you neither see the rocks bristling not far off in the bed of the flood, nor hear the breakers boil at their base. But I tell you—and you may mark my words—you will come some day to a craggy pass in the channel, where the whole of life’s stream will be broken up into whirl and tumult, foam and noise: either you will be dashed to atoms on crag points, or lifted up and borne on by some master-wave into a calmer current [...]"

I think reading this as a teenager impacted me quite a bit.  I could identify with feeling like there was still a lot about the world I didn't know.  And while Jane is intelligent and sensible, she is also passionate and naive, and has a lot to learn.

And just what is going on at Thornfield Hall?  A very sinister atmosphere is brewing - one where mysterious fires are set, and seemingly innocent people are stabbed and bitten!  And no one wants to talk about it.  While a beautiful romance is building there is this charged undercurrent of unease and darkness that makes this book so compelling!  

my one and only Jane Eyre gif - cause it is kinda cheating!
And now for Mr. Rochester.  Not a bad man, as some may say, he has had bad things happen to him, and not been able to cope with it in the best way.  He loves Jane so much though that he is willing to do anything to be with her, and that means he makes a lot of mistakes.  But how can one not love him when he says such things as:

“I knew,” he continued, “you would do me good in some way, at some time;—I saw it in your eyes when I first beheld you: their expression and smile did not”—(again he stopped)—“did not” (he proceeded hastily) “strike delight to my very inmost heart so for nothing. People talk of natural sympathies; I have heard of good genii: there are grains of truth in the wildest fable. My cherished preserver, goodnight!”

"Good-night, my—” He stopped, bit his lip, and abruptly left me."

"You—you strange, you almost unearthly thing!—I love as my own flesh. You—poor and obscure, and small and plain as you are—I entreat to accept me as a husband.”

“You are a beauty in my eyes, and a beauty just after the desire of my heart,—delicate and aërial.”

“I never met your likeness. Jane, you please me, and you master me—you seem to submit, and I like the sense of pliancy you impart; and while I am twining the soft, silken skein round my finger, it sends a thrill up my arm to my heart. I am influenced—conquered; and the influence is sweeter than I can express; and the conquest I undergo has a witchery beyond any triumph I can win."  

Yup, I'm definitely okay with moodiness and sarcasm and lies in the face of that!  And really, with that kind of love between Jane and Rochester, which was built on the fact that they got to know and love each others' personalities, nothing can go wrong right?  Well...

You know what happens I hope.  I remember when I first read the book and got to their engagement, I was a bit disappointed because there was still about a third of the book to go, and I wasn't too keen on the idea of it being all about their married life.  But then I read the next chapter.  And cursed myself for being a fool.  MR. ROCHESTER IS ALREADY MARRIED!?

Yeah.  That's heavy.  And the chapter where Mr. Rochester and Jane talk after the interrupted wedding is my favorite chapter in the book.  Because emotions run high, and Rochester is completely, heartbreakingly honest with Jane, and Jane has a terrible decision to make.  And she makes the one that is completely in character for her - one that doesn't compromise her beliefs and her independence.  And it shows why she is such an amazing role model!

Part III: I'm doing my own little thing

While giving everything up for love is not an option for Jane, giving everything up for duty is equally unpalatable for her.  And this section (while difficult to get through when you really want to know what happens to Mr. Rochester!) balances the overwrought passion and romance in the preceding chapters with dry religion and intellect.  Now Jane gets to know and respect a man who is upright and honest and who's moral character is unimpeachable.

Well at least Jane make some strong, stalwart friends in Mary and Diana Rivers.  And gets to live with self-reliance and independence which is so important to her.  Unfortunately St. John screws everything up by offering Jane a life of truly fulfilling work all wrapped up in a loveless marriage with him.

"Refuse to be my wife, and you limit yourself for ever to a track of selfish ease and barren obscurity. Tremble lest in that case you should be numbered with those who have denied the faith, and are worse than infidels!”

Yay?  And because Jane is not crazy and not desperate, she refuses and gets the definition of cold shoulder from him.  While St. John isn't a bad man either, just as misguided in his thinking as Mr. Rochester, it gives Jane the opportunity to realize she needs some closure, and has to find out what happened to Mr. Rochester.  St. John won't be happy of course

But now we get to see what happened at Thornfield! And it's good news and bad news.  Good news, Bertha did this:

Bad news, the Hall burned down and Mr. Rochester lost his sight and a hand.  

But it's nothing that Jane can't handle. Because she's stronger now, and Mr. Rochester is the love of her life and a life with him is what she wants.  And because Mr. Rochester has accepted the things he's done wrong, and repents, Jane and Rochester can have their happy ending as equals in spirit.  And even with all the things that has happened they still tease and banter with each other. *sigh*  And that is why this is such a gorgeous story!  Why can't it be real!?

This is a book that I feel has everything I look for in a story - a strong heroine, romance, suspense, mystery and a happy ending.  I've read it so many times, but it still engages and thrills and Charlotte's prose is something to savor and marvel over, it is so beautiful.  It's just a beautiful book in general.

I love this comic!

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  1. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH! I love that you used Troy from community..*loves* This made my day!

    1. Aw thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it! And Troy says so many things I identify with. LOL

    2. I knew the twist in advance about Bertha but I can say it was just as heart wrenching a realization for me because the authors makes you feel what Jane is feeling..and gawd..I just burst into tears when I read it! :) Everyone should read this book!

    3. Oh wow, I didn't know that you knew of the twist before - good to know that it didn't affect the impact of that scene (for when I recommend the story to people and they decide to watch the movie first :)) I totally agree with you!

  2. I seriously love this review! It was so fun to read and I love how you kept it in different sections, the quotes you used, and of course, all the gifs--I especially liked the Doctor Who ones! :) Great review!

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

    1. Thank you!! I'm glad a fellow Jane Eyre fan liked it too! :D (I'm thinking you are a fan...) I loved putting some Doctor Who gifs in there - they should do an episode where the Doctor visits the Brontes!

  3. I didn't know it was possible to fangirl over a classic xD Now I know! :) Of course, I did go through this obsession with P&P, although that was the movie not the book-ha! Love the gifs, they just make a review all the more awesome! You picked the perfect ones! Great review!

    1. Ah well with the movie and the book of Jane Eyre - sometimes they go hand in hand with me. :D If you've seen the new trailer for the movie Austenland, I think that looks like a pretty good guide to how to fangirl a classic though! :) Thank you and I'm so glad you enjoyed the gif review! :)

  4. I've never read this book to be honest, but I read most of your review because I think I've heard enough about the book not to care about spoilers. Plus, I might not read it for a long time. I just had to check out the gif review!! I should totally do this sometime. Too fun! Love the Psych gif. :)


    1. Maybe the review will make you curious to watch the movie? :) I always try to introduce people to this book - don't mind me! :D I'm glad to know you are a Psych fan! I'm so looking forward to the musical episode! And I would love to see more gif reviews, I hope you'll do some! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Shocking that I have never read this? Yes I know!!!

    1. Oh say it ain't so! Well there is not time like the present, it's such a gorgeous book. :D

  6. “Charlotte's prose is something to savor and marvel over, it is so beautiful”.

    I could not agree more, Charlene ; and you are one very talented young lady yourself !

    My favourite part in the book/films comes at the end of Chapter 17 :

    "Return to the drawing-room: you are deserting too early."
    "I am tired, sir."
    He looked at me for a minute.
    "And a little depressed," he said. "What about? Tell me."
    "Nothing--nothing, sir. I am not depressed."
    "But I affirm that you are: so much depressed that a few more words would
    bring tears to your eyes--indeed, they are there now, shining and
    swimming; and a bead has slipped from the lash and fallen on to the flag.

    1. Thank you for your comment Stephen! I love that scene in Chap 17 too - especially when he says "Goodnight my-" :D

      I really need to email you soon, I hope to this weekend!