I got acquainted with Bronte back in the year 2002. I read the book because I had to write a paper on it and did not have the mind or the heart to savor the richness of expressions that the words brought to me then. It was just a novel like any other and I did not take time to relish the words that drew feelings of intense emotional spontaneity that are now overwhelming me.
Now, reading it again I see what I had missed. I am grateful that I hold Bronte once more, I am reading it in a completely new purpose, letting the words form enchanting images of abstract and the known. The feeling that swells within my chest is immense with admirations for the word play that Bronte has so intricately unfurled in writing this simple and humane novel. I am amazed with her mastery of disposing words at such ease and grace in describing the deep emotional touches of a child who faces the worst tyrannies of the world and grows up fighting.
I was reading Socialism is Great by Lijia Zhang and she mentioned the Gem that Jane Eyre was and still is. It was Lijia Zhang who made me look for Jane Eyre again. Reading what Lijia wrote about Jane Eyre refreshed some of the very few but moving memories I had of Jane Eyre. She wrote ‘’ There were gems like Jane Eyre, luckily. Hidden in the back of the meeting room, I felt safe from Wang’s (co-worker) flying spittle and swirling propaganda. I didn’t understand every single word I was reading, but I got enough to appreciate Charlotte Bronte’s masterpiece. When Jane thinks her beloved master Mr. Rochester is about to marry a rich society lady, she confesses her love in a moving speech. ‘’Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless?... If God had gifted me with some beauty, and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you… It is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal- as we are!’’ Such praises for Jane Eyre created longings within me to indulge in the book once more.
I often tell my students that one can draw pictures with words and these pictures drawn by words are far more beautiful than the normal pictures. No other book draws forth such beautiful pictures, bold, indulging, touching and gleeful, which are sheer joys for someone who worships Words. Feelings are tangible and subtracted from the absurd, and features are so clear that indulging in them is a treat to eye of the mind. Bronte helps blossom one’s imagination with richness like the fertile earth that favors the nurture of beautiful spring flowers.
Bronte has woven a humane story that reaches every reader’s heart. The moving story of an orphan who grows into a woman discovering the love of her life only to find she cannot be with the man she loves. Their parting is painful when Mr. Rochester says to Jane as she is about to leave him when she discovers that he is already married, ‘’Jane, I never meant to wound you thus. If the man who had but one little ewe lamb that was dear to him as daughter, that ate of his bread and drank of his cup, and lay in his bosom, had by some mistake slaughtered it at the shambles, he would not have rued his bloody blunder more than I now rue mine. Will you ever forgive me?’’ Bronte/Jane Eyre then addresses the reader and writes, ‘’Reader, I forgave him at the moment and on the spot. There was such deep remorse in his eye, such true pity in his tone, such manly energy in his manner; and besides, there was such unchanged love in his whole look and mien – I forgave him all; yet not in words, not outwardly; only at my heart’s core. Jane however, has to leave Mr. Rochester, tear herself from him like one tears away one’s own heart. It is a beautiful love story, bold for its time because Jane Eyre is a love story of a married man for another woman.
The real grandeur of the novel however, lies in the words that bring together the woven fabric of the book. I envy and marvel her writing. Jane Eyre, no doubt is a masterpiece that every book lover should read. If you have already read it, you know what I am talking about, but if you haven’t then I suggest you read it, because only after reading it, will you be able to make sense of what I am saying. My words are not lofty enough to describe her to you and cannot do justice. So, the best thing is to find out for your self by reading Jane Eyre.
I thought I knew Bronte, I was wrong. I am glad that I took the second chance with her and have come to appreciate her more than ever.