It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a film adaptation, too far strayed from the novel, will be heavily scrutinized by the story’s fanatics.
Jane Austen fanatics seem to feel this way about their beloved classics (and I would count myself among them) but it is classic gothic literature that really sends me into a fandom tizzy.
Jane Eyre is my favorite novel. I have read it 3 times and have all of my favorite parts underlined. I have also seen most of the english-speaking film adaptations of the story and enjoy…. many of them -not all.
So, I have some amount of critical authority, right?
Or perhaps evidence of my mangled copy of the novel will help in convincing…
I love Jane because she is an exceptional role model. Though her motives are often founded on religion, I don’t think the reader necessarily derives religious sensibilities only, but instead, those of independence and free will. I also love that this novel was pseudo-feminist before feminism was even a categorical idea.
Of course I love Rochester too. He’s a Byronic Hero, so, indeed, he has many issues and is an incredibly flawed being. These characters are so emotional and passionate, and I cling to the Brontë sisters’ writing because they describe the internal universe like no other collection of words.
Jane is a character with so much conviction and strength and this is why I need to vent about one of my greatest frustrations….
WHY do film versions always make Jane seem suicidal!?
EVERY. VERSION. has a montage of her running away (maybe a bit of a carriage ride) and then just simply pathetically roaming the Moors waiting for death.
NO! (NOOOOOOOO, NOOOOOOO!)
Obviously Jane is indeed tremendously heartbroken. She makes the difficult decision of leaving the person she is passionately in love with in order to live what she believes is a good and virtuous life.
It just seems as though the film-makers are trying to portray her as so forlorn over her lost love that she is starving and wandering the wilderness to her death. They write these versions as if to show that Jane HOPES to die. Those who love the story as I do, must also detest those portions of the films because here, in chapter 28, a completely different set of events occurs. Seriously! Read it again! (or read it for the first time!)
Jane had to leave before dawn, cautiously and quietly in order to lessen the pain of the parting for both herself and Mr. Rochester. She of course stumbles, despairs, and thinks of turning back, but resists. When she meets with a carriage, its journey costs more money than she has in her possession (though her smaller offering is accepted). SO… her money is completely gone AND THEN she remarks about how she has mistakenly left her belongings on the carriage and it is now a mile away.
Review: No money. No possessions.
She then looks for any type of work (with out references) that she can find in the town (ish, type place) she has been dropped. No real shocker…they don’t want to help a stranger who seems like a beggar woman – this scenario wouldn’t be much different for any woman today either, if you think about it.
Later still – now basically starved and drained from walking- Jane seeks help at a house asking to work as a servant.
WHY IS THIS PORTION NEVER INCLUDED IN THE FILM VERSIONS??
I’m using capitals, you know I must be genuinely frustrated and confused.
I feel that this section of the novel is pointedly showing the reader the truth in her proclamations of ‘any honest work’ as well as her strong will in general. She truly wants to make a new life – even while despairing with a broken heart- she just simply did not have time nor the resources to plan her re-routing with the dignity she had hoped.
Poor planning, certainly, but not pathetic suicidal despair as the film-makers would have us believe.