did you leave because of my attic wife

I reread Jane Eyre some time last week, as it used to be one of my favorite books when I was in high school. I hadn’t reread it in a while, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the movie (starring Mia Wasikowska as Jane), which I somehow have not seen yet even though it’s been out for a couple of years, because I suddenly realized how sexy Michael Fassbender is.

The book was how I remembered. I really appreciated the feminist themes (Jane always tries to stress her role as an equal to Rochester, and while she tries to remain within the bounds of propriety as dictated by employer-employee relations, she does go against convention in many ways), as well as Charlotte Brönte’s choice to include main characters who weren’t conventionally beautiful. Jane Eyre is pleasingly practical and blunt, and I really like her sarcasm. See right. I also like her emphasis on Jane’s choice to act, like leaving when Rochester goes too far.

Other things I didn’t remember was really how douchey and kind of threatening/controlling Rochester was at times. He’s not a hero I dislike, but a hero who is frustrating and who can be stubbornly dramatic. While Jane may be plain and blunt and sarcastic, he is darkly threatening, brooding, etc. He’s also commanding and demanding especially when it comes to things he really wants, to the point of insensitivity. After the whole mad wife incident, he kind of shuts himself in the house and snarls at everyone and lets himself fall to pieces while she tries to make something of herself and becomes strong and independent. I thought that was interesting.

Today, I saw an article titled “Texts From Jane Eyre” on thehairpin.com. It’s hilarious, and was written by Mallory Ortberg, who has a book out soon.

Samples. Can you guess which one is Rochester, and which one is Jane? I think the language is really hilarious and really true to what Rochester might text.

AH YES MY CAGED SPRITE
COMMUNE WITH NATURE AND UPON YOUR RETURN
RELATE TO ME THE VAGRANT GLORIES OF THE  RUINED WOODS
do you really want me to describe my walk to you
MORE THAN ANYTHING YOU POCKET WITCH
it is fairly cloudy out
looks like rain soon
AHHH TO THINK THAT MY LITTLE STARLING JANE
SHOULD RETURN
TO PERCH ON MY BROKEN MALFORMED SHOULDER
SINGING A SONG OF THE GREY AND WRACKING SKIES
MAKES MY HEART SWELL TO BURST
all right

I think it also points out an important difference of tone compared to Jane’s, both in the book and in here. Also: Pocket Witch.

I KNEW IT
DID YOU LEAVE BECAUSE OF MY ATTIC WIFE
IS THAT WHAT THIS IS ABOUT
yes
absolutely

So funny. I’m off to find a copy of Jane Eyre.

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