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

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Septemb-Eyre: Jane Eyre Readalong Recap #1

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , , ,
Hosted by Kerry at Entomology of a Bookworm

Chapters I - XI


Re-reading these first chapters I am struck by the fact that Charlotte Brontë started our introduction to Jane when Jane finally rebels against her bullying cousin John and the irrational hatred of Mrs. Reed.  It's a powerful representation of Jane's character because although she becomes outwardly subdued and her passionate nature is restrained for much of the book later, it's important to know that this is who Jane is, no matter the cultural conventions.  As a child she's not cute and cuddly and as an adult the "rugged points" in her character must be accepted by the people she allows to get close to her.  

The other aspect I find so interesting is how quick Jane is to point out hypocrisy.  I think I read somewhere that children excel at recognizing hypocrisy and what is and isn't fair and while it's pretty serious how unfair it is that Mrs. Reed shows such disdain for Jane and gives preferential treatment to her children, and how Mr. Brocklehurst is so intent on making the Lowood girls humble and plain yet his family lives in ostentatious luxury, Jane can put her statements about these circumstances in such a way that shows a very ironic and sly wit that I really enjoy.  For instance:

"Abbot, I think, gave me credit for being a sort of infantine Guy Fawkes."

"Breakfast was over, and none had breakfasted.  Thanks being returned for what we had not got..."

"Mr. Brocklehurst was here interrupted: three other visitors, ladies, now entered the room. They ought to have come a little sooner to have heard his lecture on dress, for they were splendidly attired in velvet, silk, and furs."

It was great to read Jane grow into an adult - with her childhood memories sometimes tempered by the adult Jane who is telling the story so we can get that bit of humor and a little bit of perspective - like why she felt she was an outcast at Gateshead.  Of course now that we are at Thornfield, there's so much stuff to look forward to reading about!

Memorable Quotes:

"It is weak and silly to say you cannot bear what it is your fate to be required to bear." - Helen Burns, Chapter VI

“If all the world hated you, and believed you wicked, while your own conscience approved you, and absolved you from guilt, you would not be without friends.” - Helen Burns, Chapter VIII

I desired liberty; for liberty I gasped; for liberty I uttered a prayer; it seemed scattered on the wind then faintly blowing. I abandoned it and framed a humbler supplication; for change, stimulus: that petition, too, seemed swept off into vague space: “Then,” I cried, half desperate, “grant me at least a new servitude!” - Jane Eyre, Chapter X

Extra Credit:

"Leah, make a little hot negus and cut a sandwich or two: here are the keys of the storeroom." - Mrs. Fairfax, from Chapter XI

I've decided for each recap post, I'm going to spotlight some aspect or do some activity related to each section I'm reading, so for this post I decided to make a little hot negus and try it myself.  And it's pretty easy so you can try it too! (um, aged 21 and over only obviously)

The recipe (which I pulled over here, with my own modifications since there seems to be a few different recipes out there)

1/2 cup Port wine
1 cup water
Juice from half a lemon
2 tbsp sugar
Sprinkle of nutmeg

And I didn't quite follow the steps of the above recipe... so here's what I did:

Warm up the wine and water in a saucepan (I really should have just warmed up the water to almost boiling and then add the wine to the cup)
Add lemon juice and sugar (could add more sugar to taste).
Sprinkle in nutmeg - I used ground, when the recipe called for grated, so I hope that's okay.

There's a bit of tang to it which I think comes from the lemon, so maybe I'll try adding less lemon next time (and more sugar because I have a sweet tooth!) but it was really a very comforting drink, I can see why Mrs. Fairfax called for it after the long traveling day Jane had to Thornfield.  I actually don't like the taste of alcohol that much, but it's not too bad in this drink, so I highly recommend giving it a try!  Of course I had to try this when the weather's been in the upper 90s and a hot drink is definitely not what I needed, so I'm saving this for colder days!

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  1. Food and drinks?! I'm sticking to you like glue from now on! And please, please bring cake :D

    "Abbot, I think, gave me credit for being a sort of infantine Guy Fawkes." - I loved (!) this one and smirked delightedly while highlighting in my ereader!

    1. LOL, well mixing drinks I'm okay with, actual baking might not work out so well! But I can buy the cake! :)

      I was highlighting in my ereader too! I love Jane's sense of humor!

  2. Great quotes and a wine recipe to use for evenings by the fire, this may be my favorite Septemb-Eyre post yet. Chapter XI was a great place to leave off. As Jane says goodbye to her childhood and takes her first steps out into the world we get to see what she's learned and all the ways she's stayed true to the little girl we met on the first page.

    1. It is going to be especially nice to have negus around Christmas what with that addition of nutmeg! And I love the way you put that - the end of that chapter feels like the beginning of a great adventure! :)

  3. Such a fun and creative idea!! I, too, don't care much for the taste of alcohol, so if you enjoyed it I may have to give it a try sometime!! Thanks for the recipe :) - Maggie @ An American in France

    1. Oh good, I hope you will enjoy it! And since you are in France, I know you'll find a good port wine to use! :)

  4. I love the recipe that goes along with it..I am not much of a wine person or a drinker at all really but I might try it out just because of the Jane Eyre tie in! YAY!

    1. Same for me - I don't like wine generally, but I could see myself drinking this in the evenings with a good book! Let me know how you liked it if you try it!

  5. That is some serious extra credit... and making me wish I had some to drink right now. Like you, though, it's in the 90s here, so I may have to wait until it cools off a little. Or at least rains.

    1. LOL, if only Mrs. Fairfax had offered Jane a chilled beverage when she arrived! I'm eagerly waiting for rain here too though, it would be nice if it would cool off a little.

  6. This is a great idea for a series of posts. I enjoyed reading your reflections on those early chapters and I'm really looking forward to the next installments. After all, one of the most interesting, complex and romantic figures in all of literature awaits...

    St. John Rivers! ;)

    1. Thank you! LOL! You know how much I LOVE St. John - I just can't bear to read about him, he's so "interesting", so I'll stick with Mr. Rochester for a good long while!

  7. Hallo Charlene!! :)

    I am picking up where I left off reading everyone's posts!! I was so very thankful I could post mine late last night!! I am eager to see the Septemb-Eyres drop by, but I think, being so late, they might not get around to me until next week! :) I am endeavouring to be 'early' rather than late on Monday!! I love the custom banner you created! I sort of took a different tact, and focused on the gothic aspects of the story! :)

    I completely agree with you on letting go of the social norms and for appreciating Eyre as Eyre herself would want to be known!! I am unfortunate in that I am forgetting most of the adaptation I saw, except for 'major plot points' that are still yet to come!! Therefore, I am both curious and content to read the little bits of foreshadowing your relaying here!

    I am so thankful to read your take on Eyre, as I knew that this book means the world to you, and I have been awaiting to see where your heart and mind take us, as we read this book over the score of the read-a-long!! I think I am in the minority who appreciates Helen Burns for who she is rather than judging her for her beliefs and the way in which she felt she needed to live her life. Where do you fall in this regard!?

    1. I really enjoyed reading your post - just finished commenting on it! I am intrigued by your question about Helen Burns! I am probably one of those who appreciates Helen for her goodness and her role in Jane's life, as I think I would be rather impatient with her general turn-the-other-cheek philosophy in real life! I mean, I can understand being kind to everyone, but if someone is mean to me at least let me give them the silent treatment! :)