Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Jane (wherein I wander)

I (am/thought I was) a Wuthering Heights girl. Give me the storm, give me the spontaneous fainting, give me the souls torn one from another in delicious anguish. And sure it was over-the-top, but wasn't that the point?

I read Jane Eyre for the first time just after reading Ayn Rand. Jane seemed prim and Rochester oppressive and I was deeply insulted that Rochester had to be broken and chastened before Jane could deserve him.


I've been re-reading Jane Eyre for my Victorian seminar and there's something else going on here. Or I'm more attuned to the pressures Jane was feeling. Or.

Jane's a lovely character. Just snarky enough to take the edge off of her perfection (disciplined and practical and wise!), it might help that she's not blond and fair. She gets bored and impatient and angry and is just kind of sympathetic and great. And I'm still not sure about this Rochester fellow. I'm listening to the chapter right now where he describes how he wooed Jane and it's pretty creepy. Lots of watching and weird manipulations...

And there's something I want to think about: men telling women about themselves. There's been a paper in the back of my mind about those songs that extol the virtues/idiosyncrasies of the beloved, like "Meet Virginia" (She doesn't own a dress, her hair's always a mess...), "She's so high" (She's blood, flesh and bone. No tucks or silicone.) and there's one really recently released that I can't ever remember when I mean to. There's something about men defining ideal womanhood and I wonder what this does/means/how it works. Rochester does this in Jane Eyre, talking about Jane being elvish and sensible, etc. And there's something to this, I mean, there's something to love about being seen in a way that feels true by someone who knows...any thoughts from you kids?

Anyway. The point of all this is that I love the fall. Listening to the Brontes, walking through cloudy rainy campus. I was reading about climate recently somewhere something about how people are calmer in the fall, about curling up with a book being good both for the soul and for civilization? This last week of Indian Summer has been very hard for me. Granted I've been stressed by school, but I suspect, too, that the weird transitional weather has played its role in my frantic.

Anyway again. I feel much calmer when it's raining. Victorian novels notwithstanding.


  1. so so so so so so many thoughts. oh my goodness so many thoughts. too much for anything but a face to face discussion.

  2. I adore the rain as well. Last Thursday, we were supposed to be getting five inches of it due to a no-longer-hurricane which had graciously consented to come our way from Florida, and as far as I could tell the weather did oblige. Almost no one came in to be tutored at my job, and we had a lovely, quiet day. I'm not sure why those interspersed Indian-Summer days feel like such a betrayal, but I agree with you that they do.