Book review: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Much has been written about Jane Eyre, and it’s true that it is a hard book not to like. Its protagonist is a feisty, principled woman who was brought up in hardships, shock and temptation, to find a place in the world where she could be at peace.

Jane Eyre’s parents died when she was young, and she is sent to live with her relatives. In the fashion of fictional stepmothers, she was treated badly by her aunt, as well as her cousins.

Finally, she finds a way to escape her sorry situation by attending a boarding school, where she met mixed experiences, from the strict discipline of the school routine to the affection of newfound friends.

After years as a student, then a teacher, she eventually decides she must move on, and finds a place as a governess for a young girl. Here she meets Mr Rochester. Few readers would not be familiar with the story of Jane Eyre, and the shock that comes midway through the book, but I will not give anything away.

It is interesting to read a book written long ago, but with a female protagonist who should be celebrated for her independence and resilience. Yet, there are some parts of the book that might not sit so well with the modern feminist, including Jane’s fierce belief in the importance of a woman’s modesty, as well as some of Mr Rochester’s actions.

However, ultimately, Jane Eyre remains an engaging book of love and hope, of a young woman rising above difficult circumstances to find her place in the world.

The writer displays an endearing sincerity, as well as a steely determination and sense of morality that is hard to resist. There is no doubt as to why Jane Eyre endures as it does.

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