In my AP Literature class, we are responsible for choosing an independent reading book to be tested on at the end of each quarter. At first, I had no idea what book to choose. I didn’t want to be stuck with a book I didn’t like, so I looked through the list of books my teacher recommended we choose from. Eventually, I decided on the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I ultimately chose this novel because I found the story to be interesting and unlike anything I had read before. But I did not intend to find a book that I would love; I just wanted to choose a book that I would earn a good grade for.
This coming of age novel follows the protagonist Jane Eyre from a young girl to an independent and spirited woman. It begins with her treacherous life as an orphaned girl living with her aunt and horrible cousins, The Reeds, at Gateshead Hall. After her aunt thinks of Jane to be a nuisance, she is forced to attend the Lowood School, a place where she stays as a student until sixteen, and teaches until the age of eighteen. Afterwards, she decides to leave the school and finds work as a governess at Thornfield Hall, where she tutors a young girl named Adele in her studies. During her time at Thornfield Hall, Jane meets her sardonic employer, Mr. Rochester, and soon develops feelings for him. After a scandalous secret of Mr. Rochester is exposed, Jane is forced to make a choice that ultimately changes her life. Jane Eyre is a story that leaves readers turning the next page and opens your eyes to how much Jane endures throughout her life, and how she is able to work through it to achieve her goals.
This novel is one with emotional power and shock factors that accurately depicts a woman’s search of equality and freedom on her own terms rather than at the expense of others. When I first chose this book, I had no idea that I would like it as much as I did. Although it is a long read, I would highly recommend this book and see it as a classic that should be read for many years to come. Charlotte Bronte’s novel voiced Jane Eyre’s passion, lower caste aspiration, and female rage in a way that seemed relevant in a period of seismic political and social turbulence, as well as the modern era of today.