On this day, one hundred and sixty-six years ago (1847) my favorite classic novel of all time was published––Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.
For years I read only classics. They felt safe and opened doors that allowed glimpses into history. Some of these glimpses raised questions in my mind and I needed further reading and research to answer them. When Jane Eyre was published, the novel was considered rather shocking. It was a gothic romance, a coming-of-age story, a study of woman’s scary inner psyche.
Shocking or not, it quickly sold out. Jane Eyre was a success. What made it so popular? I think it’s the fact she was an ordinary woman who overcame a difficult past. She was not beautiful, but she was intelligent, spiritual, and sensitive. She truly loved and cared for others. That fact was not clear in the beginning when she had to fight for existence in her adoptive home. But when she was sent away to a very cruel environment, her attachment to a best friend showed she was capable of love.
When she gained employment as a governess, her true nature and personality rose to the surface. Her inner beauty transformed her humble outer appearance. This is the dearest hope of many ordinary women, hidden away in our hearts––that someone will see beyond our outward appearance and love us for our true nature. In Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte succeeds in encouraging us to believe it can happen.
If you have never read Jane Eyre, I encourage you to do so. Even if you don’t like classic novels, I believe the story will pull you in. If you’ve tried and really can’t get into it, get the movie. There are several good versions. The 2011 version from NBCU (pictured above) is my personal favorite, available here ––I don’t get any kickback for this link.
Thanks so much for stopping by. May the remainder of your day be blessed.