She is NOT trying to die

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…
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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.

 

Heart Break is Also Romantic

I hate mysteries and concealments.

A rather hypocritical statement from someone who has kept her life a secret from the very person she scolds.
Hypocrite or not, Helen Graham (Huntingdon) is now a favorite character of mine.

I’ve just finished reading:

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it is a matter-of-fact that I feel deeply connected to the Brontë sisters.

My obsession with Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre has been long and unwavering.  On the other hand,  Wuthering Heights (written by Emily) did not much resonate with me at all – though I was reading as a high-schooler and that girl is alien to me now. Then there’s Anne. Admittedly, I have overlooked Anne until now (why does that always happen to her? Poor girl).

From my understanding, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is not the Anne Brontë novel with which readers tend to be most familiar.
Apparently, they read Agnes Grey and hate it.

And that is tragic.

Because, Wildfell Hall has easily become one of my favorite novels.

Gilbert Markham narrates the tale through his letters and through the diary entries of “the tenant” herself, Helen Graham (Huntingdon).

Helen arrives with her young son at the formerly uninhabited and run-down Wildfell Hall. She is beyond aloof, hoping to remain unacquainted with all of her new neighbors. Of course, this is completely scandalous, and becomes the main source of fantasy and gossip. Eventually we find that she is hiding from her emotionally abusive, adulterous, self-centered, and reckless husband.

But I am jumping ahead.

Mr. Markham falls in love with Helen almost immediately after their introduction. Her mysterious and stubborn habits draw his affections as inevitably as  you might assume. Her polite yet cold interactions, along with rumors of her attachment to her landlord (Mr. Lawrence) only help to spur on Markham’s feelings.

No sooner does he proclaim his passionate fervor for Helen, then he happens upon her strolling the garden with Mr. Lawrence himself, as they talk of the necessity of leaving the town and its annoying residents.

My heart was splitting with hatred

Markham says.
I love Anne’s descriptions.  The words are simple, yet they are so perfectly and eloquently written.

When will Helen’s story be demystified?

Worry not.
The center two-fourths of the book are Helen’s detailed diary entries which she has given to Markham in order to explain her subdued affections and other misunderstandings (particularly in her connection to Mr. Lawrence).

Helen fell in love with the wrong man. (Don’t we all?)
Despite warnings and protestations, she marries Arthur Huntingdon. Arthur is a flirt and an alcoholic. Helen is so much in love with him that she foolishly thinks she can help Arthur. Not long into their marriage she finds she has made a colossal mistake. BUT she has made her choice in Arthur and promises to endure and overcome all of the heartache and difficulties.

“Where do you want to go Arthur?” said I.
“To London,” replied he, gravely.
“What for?” I asked.
“Because I cannot be happy here.”
“Why not?”
“Because my wife doesn’t love me.”
“She would love you with all her heart, if you deserved it”
“What must I do to deserve it?”
This seemed humble and earnest enough; and I was so much affected, between sorrow and joy, that I was obligated to pause a few seconds before I could steady my voice to reply.
“If she gives you her heart,” said I, “you must take it thankfully, and use it well, and not pull it in pieces, and laugh in her face, because she cannot snatch it away.”

I don’t want to give too much of the book away, so I am keeping my summarization very minimal.
As much as I love Jane Austen, my heart is bound to the dark romances of the Brontë sisters.  The strength and integrity of their amazing female characters influences me in so many ways.  I definitely think I have read this particular novel at an opportune time and it has great significance to me personally.
Perhaps it might for you.

Now I am on to Shirley…. along with the other five books I’m reading.