Sunday, June 8, 2008

Jane Eyre, Chs. 1-3

Right away, instead of filling the role of soothing the savage beast of man, Jane seems to bring out that feeling in her cousin John, who beats her, then throws a book at her. There is no apparent reason for his attack except maybe his resentment that she gets to stay on at Gateshead and he's been sent away to school.

Perhaps she will turn out to be the antithesis of the ideal woman. She isn't completely submissive. Because she's threatened with the poorhouse, she doesn't react to John's tauntings as she would like, but for the first time she struggled against her punishment. The beginnings of stirrings against the station of women? This book was published under a pseudonym...

The discussion of Jane's plight and what happened to her parents reminds me of Burnett's The Secret Garden. In that novel, too, it is suggested that if the girl were better looking or more agreeable that people would take more of a liking to her. Unlike The Secret Garden, however, in Jane Eyre we can't be completely certain that she isn't disagreeable since Jane is the narrator and sometimes narrators are unreliable.

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