one of my favourite books is jane eyre, by charlotte brontë. admittedly, i only started really appreciating the story when i watched the 2011 movie starring mia wasikowska and michael fassbender, and oh, how delicious mr. rochester was! ha ha ah, but that is besides the point (and quite unfaithful to the details of the novel, though it's a mistake i will gladly overlook).
jane eyre is a romance told from the eponymous character's point of view. as a child, she lives with her aunt reed, who despises her and sends her away to lowood school where a tyrannical clergyman is master. when she is finished with school she becomes a governness at thornfield where she befriends her employer mr. rochester who is twice her age and surprise, surprise, the man she eventually falls in love with.
it's a beautiful romance, because the love described is so understanding of the other, so deep and so full of heart. one of my favourite things about their love is that it is based almost completely on just what they learn about each other and experience with each other. i remember mr. rochester being described as ugly, and jane as little and plain, and yet their love is as (or more) passionate than any other. there is nothing to attract them to each other except for the way that they're able to connect with each other. their love is totally from the heart. how absolutely gorgeously romantic is that?!
to me jane eyre is the most believable and relatable heroine i have come across, and as much as i adore ella of frell and lizzie bennet i cannot relate to them. they're plucky and outgoing and playful and beautiful. jane eyre on the other hand, is thoughtful and quiet and plain. she is completely steadfast with her morals, and will not compromise her self-respect for love. though personally i can't exactly boast of such high principles, i like to imagine that i will not dishonour my standards in favour of my feelings, and i admire jane for what she does. although she loves mr. rochester she runs away from thornfield when staying would compromise what she believes in.
it's also comforting to read about a heroine who is loved not for her beauty but her spirit (it gives me a certain hope, ha.)
fairytales and romances are such fun, because we love to imagine that we are in the heroine's shoes, and our hearts beat when the hero makes his love made known to the heroine, and we feel like as if we are the ones being confessed to. it's a wonderful feeling!
but then we close our books, we switch off the television and we think about the story. "when will this happen to me?" "can this happen to me?" the story is scrutinised and strictly compared to our lives. then Aha, the comparison is drawn, the verdict is in. the characters are nothing like us!
when i read a story or watch a movie i want to relate. i want to empathise and understand. i want to feel.
i suppose that is exactly why i love jane eyre so much, because when i read the book and watch the movie (literally again and again) and i see her and her character, i get the feeling that i remotely see me.