Saturday, September 15, 2012

Comfort Reading

Well, I didn't get very far with my participation in this year's Book Blogger's Appreciation Week! At least not with the writing part. I've been enjoying the many posts by others who've been posting regularly all week. It's nice to see so many passionate readers and bloggers!

But I have been reading. I was in need of some comfortable, familiar reading this week, and happened upon Jane Eyre, reminded by a glimpse of this BBC version that I loved when I first saw it.  It is an old favourite that I've read a few times, and I was in the mood for the fiercely independent Jane. Fortunately, I have a few copies, as the Penguin paperback which I was seeking seems to have gone AWOL. I picked up an old hardcover, one without a dust jacket or any introduction or notes. Just a plain, old fashioned novel with type big enough to read comfortably!

And it has been a comfort to revisit Jane's life, to see her grow from an angry and abused child to a very self-possessed and yet passionate young woman. I do enjoy this novel despite what many of the readers who dislike it say. I think Jane is amazingly self-reliant and upright, with a sure sense of self and an iron will. Yet she is funny, clever and full of spirit as well.

Reading a different edition this time was an odd experience. I seemed to see many passages that I hadn't noticed before, and pick up on details I'd skimmed over previously. A few passages jumped out at me, and since I can't exactly give a review to the classic and well-read novel that is Jane Eyre, I'll simply share some of the excerpts that I noticed particularly this time around. Please feel free to share your opinions of this novel, or your favourite lines, in the comments!

...there is no happiness like being loved by your fellow-creatures, and feeling that your presence is an addition to their comfort.

 It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility; they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it. Millions are condemned to a stiller doom than mine, and millions are in silent revolt against their lot. Nobody knows how many rebellions besides political rebellions ferment in the masses of life which people earth. Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a constraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.

Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilised by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones.


  1. "...with type big enough to read comfortably" that made me laugh out loud. I just watched a BBC "current day" version of Wuthering Heights, it was interesting, but now I think I must pick up Pride and Prejudice again - I need a Mr. Darcy pick-me-up :-)

  2. karen - it's always the right time for Mr Darcy ;)


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