Last night, upon return to my hometown for a slight sojourn, I opened up the copy of Jane Eyre mainstayed on my night table ( one needs a copy everywhere one goes.... multiple copies at that ). Flipping through my favourite bits, I tried to reconcile myself with my past in an attempt to recall my first impressions of JE. Grade ten: Mrs. Amos' class ( one of my least favourite teachers ever: degraded To Kill a Mockingbird by patronizingly drawling: "It's a charming little story") waiting for the bell to ring and first period to start, sneaking the paperback Penguin my aunt had loaned me under the desk and guiltily reading of Jane's arrival at St.John Rivers' house. Keeping it well tucked as I stood for O Canada, and then, thankful I was near the back, still reading while Mrs. A ( the most unoriginal person and not the most colourful swab of a rainbow), played us a scratchy recording of Romeo and Juliet. Thinking what it must be like to be stranded, cold and hungry on the unfeeling moors.
Last night, reading again, I justified my means for this long imaginative obsession. It's a story about physicality in handsome and plain forms, in mutilated hands and black eyes and hair one only imagines cuts straight and severely down the middle, of head's that are large and animalistic holding the Victorian conception of a massive brain beneath: Jane is ( forgive the tendency to rhyme ad nauseum) "plain", Rochester "hideous, you always were sir", Thornfield a treacherous dark maze, Bertha a wild-haired "other" misplaced and coiled in a dark room that only peeks to the country side. And amidst this physicality rages something far more organic: the need to pair up, to set out, to adventure and love then return to where you started. There's comfort in the cyclical.