2013 Wrap Up Post: Most Interesting Search Engine Terms

Greetings from Florida! This post is coming from the good ‘ol Sunshine State, where I will be until tomorrow. Our trip to the States has been wonderful thus far, and I am quite sad that we will be headed back to la France in a week, but it will be nice to see our puppy again after so long.

This post is also coming from our brand new iPad that my parents surprised us with for Christmas! It is convenient writing from here :)

iPad

I was genuinely shocked!

Check back later next week for my “Visit to the States Bucket List” (yes I made one before flying over here–I know all you expats can relate), but for now enjoy this fun little piece all about the most interesting search terms that have brought readers to my blog. I can’t take credit for this idea, but hopefully it will bring you some smiles all the same :)

  • work is not very hard – I don’t know anyone who can agree with this one, especially not any of the teachers I work with!
  • interesting facts about parcheesi – umm…what?
  • what is the best portrayal of mr rochester in a jane eyre movie – ahh! I like this question, and I think I answered it in this post, but out of the four adaptations I watched, I would have to say Toby Stephens in the 2006 BBC adaptation was my favorite portrayal. BBC always does well :)
  • maleficent stained glass disneyland paris – don’t mind if I do:

    Maleficent

    Inside Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland Paris

  • an american in france novel – maybe one day I’ll get around to writing one…but today is not that day.
  • jimmy durante song in who’s got mail – those songs are awesome, right?? Here are the links to As Time Goes By and Make Someone Happy
  • 5 month australian shepherd – well, if you insist :)
This is how he still likes to wake us up each morning :)

This is how he still likes to wake us up each morning :)

And there you have it! Maybe next year will turn up some funnier searches :) Hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season! I myself hope to get back into blogging more often in the new year; right now I’m too engrossed in library books!

Advertisements

Jane Eyre Chapters XXX-End

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Published Oct 1847 by Smith, Elder, and Company
Classic/Romance
Format: e-book; 332 pages
Also From This Author: Villette
Goodreads | Amazon
My Rating: 5/5

It’s hard to believe that this is the last day of September, and with it comes my last Septemb-Eyre post! It has been so wonderful spending these past few weeks discussing Jane Eyre with a great group of different bloggers. I have generally felt as if I was a part of a digital book club! Not only have I found a “new” book that I adore, but I have also made some new friendships along the way. So, without further ado, here are my remaining opinions of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre →Spoiler alerts for anyone who has not read Jane Eyre in its entirety←

Let me start this post by stating that this is one of the happiest endings I have ever read in a novel before! Even though both Jane and Mr. Rochester have suffered immense tragedies and heartbreaks in their lifetimes, by the time Chapter 38 rolls around, our tortured lovers are finally, and forever, happy :) I believe a lot of that has to do with the way Jane finds happiness. She doesn’t chase after it, but rather, she lets her morals and her conscience guide her, and eventually happiness finds her, and it is better than if she had sought it out herself.

To further elaborate my point, I give to you my unofficial “Jane Eyre Spectrum of Human Intention”:

  • On the far left we have Mr. Rochester: bold and extravagant “bachelor” who appears to be guided nearly exclusively by his feelings and emotions. He tosses conventionalities and morals aside after his wife inevitably succumbs to her madness. In his lifetime he has had several mistresses and at lasts falls in love with his “equal and likeness” (I just loved those lines), Jane. Tragically, this love affair is doomed from the beginning, and when Mr. Rochester’s attempt to commit polygamy is revealed, Jane flees despite Mr. Rochester’s tempting propositions of turning her into his mistress.
  • On the far right we have St. John Rivers: religious fanatic who is guided completely by “reason, and not feeling” (Chapter 32). He denies himself a marriage of love in exchange for one solely based on duty and practicality, and he even tries to blackmail Jane into submitting to his beliefs as well. During the third act of the novel, St. John does behave in Christian-like ways (by taking Jane in, getting her back on her feet, and employing her), however, he also treats her with coldness and authoritativeness as opposed to brotherly love, all in a desire to mold her into the perfect missionary wife.
  • Finally, smack dab in the middle we find Jane Eyre herself, who morally does what is right but who also never sacrifices her heart. (Now, I know that Jane confesses to us readers that she has never known what it is to be moderate, but I believe in the case between strictly following reason vs. strictly following feelings, she falls in the middle.) Throughout the novel, Jane fluctuates between emotional outbursts and fleeing from fleshly temptations, however, she lives by this motto: We need to always choose the path of the morally right, no matter how difficult. She looks to God and not to man regarding matters of conscience, and thus she is abundantly blessed because of all that she has overcome.

Jane overcomes more obstacles, tragedies, sufferings than any other character in this novel. She is unwavering in her principles and morals, she is unwavering in her faith in God, and she is unwavering in her philosophy that all persons on earth are equals, despite differences in class, wealth, education, and other ranking systems. One of the themes that stuck out the most to me while reading Jane Eyre was actually quoted in a line by St. John: “He that overcometh shall inherit all things” (Chapter 35). I just love how beautifully this theme is woven throughout all of the occurrences in Jane’s life. Never once did she face something that was too difficult to overcome; never once was she beaten by temptation, failure, or injustice, and why was that? Because she was guided by moral purity, selflessness, forgiveness: Christian principles that Brontë comments on regularly throughout her novel.

Another religious idea that Brontë discusses in this book is foreign missions. Jane and St. John’s characters are very similar in the idea that they both have a desire to serve others. However, they differ greatly in their opinions of how best to serve others. St. John essentially tells Jane that by not marrying him, she cannot become a foreign missionary, and thus she is denying God the ability to work through her. In his eyes, Jane was disobeying God. However, Jane has skills that she had already been using to help those even less fortunate than herself, and by the end of the novel we see how she will be able to serve another soul in need. I believe that Brontë implies that foreign missions are not a bad thing, they are simply not for everyone, and also, by not becoming a foreign missionary, it does not mean that one is “unusable” by God. Every country has a need, and every person can serve others, whether they stay in their home country or they go to another country.

Back to Jane and the subject of equality: before leaving Thornfield, Jane was Mr. Rochester’s equal, though not in class, wealth, or even physical capability. When she returns to Mr. Rochester, she is an independent woman, with respectable family ties (family that actually claims Jane as their own), and she has the ability to serve as Mr. Rochester’s physical helper–this is something that can be viewed as Jane wanting some type of power over her husband, but I absolutely loved what Jane says during the concluding chapter:

“I hold myself supremely blest–blest beyond what language can express; because I am my husband’s life as fully as he is mine. No woman was ever nearer to her mate than I am: ever more absolutely bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. I know no weariness of my Edward’s society: he knows none of mine, any more than we each do of the pulsation of the heart that beats in our separate bosoms; consequently, we are ever together. To be together is for us to be at once as free as in solitude, as gay as in company. We talk, I believe, all day long: to talk to each other is but a more animated and an audible thinking. All my confidence is bestowed on him, all his confidence is devoted to me; we are precisely suited in character–perfect concord is the result” (Chapter 38).

I have to admit that while reading the final two chapters I had a permanent grin stretched wide across my face and tears shining in my eyes. So many emotions were going on! This book had me in tears when Mr. Rochester was doubting Jane’s realness, as if he was only imagining that she had returned to him. And one of my favorite parts about this reunion scene is when we discover how worried Mr. Rochester was for Jane’s life after she fled. This is another redeemable quality we find in our tortured hero that is discovered late in the novel because of Brontë’s use of first-person narration. (side note: I feel like I have talked about POV so much with this novel, but honestly, I really do think first-person narration is my favorite. It creates mystery, suspense, and tension…novels are incredibly interesting when we are only privy to one character’s thoughts, feelings, and desires!)

I should not have left him thus, he said, without any means of making my way: I should have told him my intention. I should have confided in him: he would never have forced me to be his mistress. Violent as he had seemed in his despair, he, in truth, loved me far too well and too tenderly to constitute himself my tyrant: he would have given me half his fortune, without demanding so much as a kiss in return, rather than I should have flung myself friendless on the wide world (Chapter 37).

I absolutely loved so many parts of this last section, and in between the tears I was literally laughing out loud when Jane and Mr. Rochester returned to their old teasing ways. I’m sure I’m not alone in cracking up because of Mr. Rochester’s jealousy over St. John? I would quote the entire exchange between Jane and Mr. Rochester, when he is trying to uncover information about Jane’s cousin, only it is too long…but I was laughing to myself during that entire passage.

And then, it touched my heart when Mr. Rochester stopped to thank God for reuniting him and Jane:

“I thank my Maker, that, in the midst of judgment, he has remembered mercy. I humbly entreat my Redeemer to give me strength to lead henceforth a purer life than I have done hitherto!”

Like I said in the beginning of this post: Jane Eyre has one of the happiest endings in any book I have ever read! And finally, one thing I really loved most about this novel was how everything came together: every single incident in this novel needed to happen for all the ones succeeding it to happen, and I thought Charlotte Brontë did a wonderful job as an author to make that seem effortless.

Well, I actually finished reading this novel during the first week of our Septemb-Eyre read along, but I have still been doing Jane Eyre themed things this month, including watching 4 different adaptations! I will briefly sum up my opinion about each one, beginning in the order I watched them, which also happens to be reverse chronological order: →Spoilers for Jane Eyre movie adaptations for those who have not yet seen them←

Jane Eyre (2011)

JaneEyre2011

I had heard only negative things about this film before I actually watched it, but fortunately I finished the novel beforehand, and I think that really aided me in liking this film. I was able to fill in gaps because there were a lot of things missing, especially regarding characters’ qualities.

Pros: The acting was superb; the cinematography was beautiful; I loved the music; the script was well-written; I loved the way this film was edited–one of my favorite parts was when the Rivers ask Jane for her name and we hear John Reed creepily call out, “Jane Eyyrreee…” before it flashes back to Jane’s childhood.
Cons: Mr. Rochester seems controlling and possessive, his sarcasm is more dark than it is witty; Bertha is practically cut out of the story; they leave out the best parts about the ending! It feels like a happy ending, but not entirely.

JaneEyre2006

Jane Eyre BBC Miniseries (2006)

This was probably my favorite adaptation, mainly because Mr. Rochester was just like Mr. Rochester in the book. This miniseries was very true to the novel, and only a few things were cut out or changed, some better than others.

Pros: Rochester is wonderfully portrayed–he’s sarcastic and witty to the point I was laughing out loud several times during his scenes, especially when Jane makes him jealous at the end! (the scene pictured here); the costumes were BEAUTIFUL; I loved the way they adapted the gypsy scene.

Cons: They gave Jane amnesia after fleeing Thornfield?; the whole post-wedding scene was weird in general–Jane wasn’t as adamant about leaving. In that scene, she didn’t seem as strong as novel-Jane. And parts of that scene were cheesy…

JaneEyre1996Jane Eyre (1996)

This was probably my least favorite adaptation out of the four that I watched. I don’t even remember much about it, to be honest, and I think that is because nothing really stood out, although there were some good parts.

Pros: I liked the actress playing Jane–she wasn’t an amazing actress or anything, but I did like her; I also liked the actress playing Mrs. Fairfax.

Cons: I did not like the portrayal of Mr. Rochester–although he was still proud and sarcastic, he seemed too nice at the same time; the ending was changed from the novel a little bit to my disliking.

Side-note: Amanda Root plays Miss Temple in this version, and she also plays Anne Elliot in my favorite adaptation of Persuasion; Sally Hawkins, who played Anne Elliot in the 2007 version of  Persuasion, portrays Mrs. Reed in the 2011 adaptation of Jane Eyre. Pretty cool :)

JaneEyre1983

Jane Eyre BBC Miniseries (1983)

I loved this version, and it might have something to do with the fact that I have had a crush on Timothy Dalton since I was a little girl (I know…he’s like 70 years old now, but he was in an older version of Antony and Cleopatra that I watched at my grandma’s house one summer growing up and yeah…he’s pretty handsome).

Pros: Timothy Dalton is a fantastic actor–he’s does a wonderful job at portraying Mr. Rochester’s changeable behavior; this adaptation follows the novel very well, they even do the gypsy scene with Timothy Dalton dressed as an old lady! Finally!

Cons: like I said before, Timothy Dalton is handsome–too handsome to be Mr. Rochester; Jane’s character is missing some “Janeness” (she’s not as firm; also, some general film problems: the lighting is not good (lots of shadows), and the sound is off at times. Also, at Lowood they ring the bell for way too long, I was wanting to mute the volume!

Jane Eyre Chapters XXII-XXIX

Jane-Eyre-2006-miniseries-jane-eyre-1618969-1024-576

This is how I felt after reading chapter 27…

This was one of the most heartbreaking sections of a novel I have ever read. Maybe it was hormones, maybe it was stress, or maybe it was simply the fact that Charlotte Brontë was an incredible writer…but I was a wreck while reading parts of this week’s chapters, and it has taken me many days and revisions to write this post due to the whirlwind of emotions involved. So, let’s go and relive it all, shall we? [Spoilers ahead for chapters 22-29 of Jane Eyre]

This section jumped into the deep stuff right away, beginning with one excessively emotional proposal, which I loved, even though Mr. Rochester appeared rather cryptic. I really appreciated Jane’s outburst at Mr. Rochester as I feel it resembled her previous outburst towards Mrs. Reed [“You think I have no feelings, and that I can do without one bit of love or kindness; but I cannot live so” (Chapter 4) // “Do you think I am an automaton?–a machine without feelings…?” (Chapter 23)]. However, Mr. Rochester, unlike Mrs. Reed, recognizes Jane as an equal, and I loved when he said, “And your will shall decide your destiny,” (Chapter 23): This is one of his redeemable qualities, the fact that he has constantly viewed Jane as an equal. In this proposal scene, he puts all of the power and the decision in her hands. Since their first “fireside chat” he has encouraged her to speak her mind freely, and in Chapter 23 he asks her to share her heart freely as well, without the constraints of class or convention.

Last week I touched on a similarity in themes between Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre (first impressions; not everything is as it appears to be). I couldn’t elaborate at that time, in order to avoid spoilers, but now I can safely finish discussing my thoughts. In Jane Austen’s novel, the story is told from a third person point of view. While we mainly see things from Elizabeth’s perspective, there are quite a few instances where we get to hear Mr. Darcy’s thoughts, and this is why we are not completely shocked and confused by his romantic confessions to Elizabeth. We understand everything that is going on between both characters. In Jane Eyre, however, the story is narrated from the future by Miss Jane herself, and therefore we find ourselves confused by Mr. Rochester in more than one way. Also, there are several exchanges between Jane and Mr. Rochester that are only dialogue; no description of the characters’ tones, deliveries, or appearances are given, which makes it harder for readers to tell when they are being serious or playful.

This is the type of novel that I believe only improves upon rereads (so I am looking forward to rereading it someday!), because it is upon rereads when we are able to fill in the gaps and understand why Mr. Rochester speaks and behaves the way he does. To the first-time reader, Mr. Rochester seems cruel, cold, and even manipulative (Jane herself questions why Mr. Rochester flaunted fake affections towards Miss Ingram when they both knew he didn’t love her–side note: I love how Jane selflessly feels sympathy for Blanche’s feelings! Jane, why are you so good-hearted?). After all, Mr. Rochester did attempt to take a wife while secretly hiding his current, mentally ill wife in his attic; that does not make him appear less manipulative. However, I feel that after we read his confession, his strange demeanor and speeches start to make sense. I believe that Mr. Rochester is not bad, but tortured, because he has spent a great many years of his life in an internal battle between what is right and what is not: more specifically, what is right by conventional standards versus moralistic standards and sometimes versus Godly standards. Convention says he should marry Blanche Ingram; his morals view Jane Eyre as his equal, despite their differences in class and wealth; God says that bigotry is a sin. Mr. Rochester has spent the past fifteen years of his life battling all of these issues, trying to find a balance that brings him peace and pleasure. However, the doomed outcome to this philosophy was foreshadowed back in Chapter 14, when Jane warns Mr. Rochester that seeking pleasure out of life will cause him to “degenerate still more.” Yes, this is definitely a reread type of novel.

Going off that reflection, one of my favorite parts about this particular section was how firm and unwavering Jane was in her moral convictions:

“Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigor; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be” (Chapter 27).”

This is why Jane is such a wonderful role model for young girls and women! I know I am not alone in wishing I had read this novel back in high school…

So, to conclude: do I think Mr. Rochester is justified in his deceitful actions? No, absolutely not. But I can understand what Jane means when she says this:

“Reader, I forgave him at the moment and on the spot. There was such deep remorse in his eye, such true pity in his tone, such manly energy in his manner; and besides, there was such unchanged love in his whole look and mien–I forgave him all” (Chapter 27).

Jane does know Mr. Rochester better than anyone else, better even than us readers. And since I have already finished the book (don’t worry–no spoilers!), I can attest to the fact that there is still more for us to discover about both Jane and her tortured lover.

Hopefully I can explain my opinions more clearly in my next (and last!!) Jane Eyre post. This post was unusually difficult for me to write coherently, so I apologize for my scattered thoughts. Feel free to leave a comment below with any questions, clarifications, or your own commentary on understanding Mr. Rochester!

Jane Eyre Chapters XII-XXI

Here is my post for Part II of the Jane Eyre read-along I’m participating in. Prepare yourselves for a longer than usual post, because I have many Jane Eyr-ie things to discuss today (and also, my husband loves to purposefully call the novel Jane Eyrie and play it off with the “I’m French” card)! I’ve actually had to write this post early (it is currently Thursday) since I can’t seem to put this book down, and I want only to talk about chapters 12-21 without interference from future plot happenings (especially because things are really starting to get good!). →So, from this point on, take caution if you have not read up until Chapter 21 of Jane Eyre. I would hate to have anything spoiled for you!←

As you can tell, I am loving Jane Eyre. I did not think it possible at first, so I would like to make an addendum to the old saying and propose instead to say: “Never judge a book by its beginning chapters.” Okay, that can’t quite be applied to every novel, but I will apply it to my first impressions of Jane Eyre, and I think it is rather fitting, since I have heard of the novel being compared to Pride and Prejudice, which was almost titled First Impressions. The shared theme runs deeper than that, but I will elaborate further on that next week.

Last week (I smile at that, knowing I will most likely already be finished with the novel by the time I publish this post) we left our beloved Jane–yes, I have come to adore our intriguing heroine!–in unusually hopeful circumstances. Dun, dun, dun! Obviously this is foreshadowing. Jane herself says that “happiness is irrevocably denied” to her (chapter 14). BUT I am in simultaneous hope and fear as I continue reading. This is why I love Gothic lit, you’re always kept on the edge!

I love how this novel is narrated by Jane herself. It gives us appreciative insight into the workings of her mind. One of my favorite instances of this is actually two separate yet intertwined passages. When Jane first confesses that she is developing feelings towards Mr. Rochester, she attempts to subdue them by focusing on her employer’s romantic opportunities. Jane then uses a portrait she sketched of Blanche Ingram in order to point out her own shortcomings, essentially to remind herself of her place and her own meager opportunities. In this chapter Jane views herself inferior and beneath Blanche and Mr. Rochester (whom she also feels unworthy of). However, and I loved this part, two chapters later, once Jane has met and observed the accomplished Miss Ingram, her attitude towards her has changed drastically.

“There was nothing to cool or banish love in these circumstances, though much to create despair. Much too, you will think, reader, to engender jealousy: if a woman, in my position, could presume to be jealous of a woman in Miss Ingram’s. But I was not jealous: or very rarely;–the nature of the pain I suffered could not be explained by that word. Miss Ingram was a mark beneath jealousy: she was too inferior to excite the feeling. Pardon the seeming paradox; I mean what I say.”

BAM! And this is when I came to really admire Jane. She sees people solely for their inward qualities, their actions, their treatment of others. Appearances no longer matter to her, and conventionalities are beginning to lose their influence as well. And yes, we could also state that Jane, although she denies it, does exhibit feelings of jealousy. After all, they do desire the same man’s affections, right? But no, Jane is not jealous (or as she says, “very rarely”); if anything she is disturbed by the idea of Mr. Rochester marrying anyone undeserving of his affections. How beautiful a reaction is that! It doesn’t ring of jealousy; it displays a mark of true love.

And what of the compelling Mr. Rochester? I have come to like him a great deal, as well, yet there is something I’ve been having a difficult time understanding: can anyone please explain to me why Rochester did not reveal to Jane who he was during their meeting on the road? I believe it ties in with the gypsy scene; clearly he has a thing for disguises and secrets, but I could not help but think how awkward I would have felt in Jane’s place, yet she doesn’t even question his beguilement…why? Does he act this way simply because of his standoffish persona, or is it because of his troubled history, which Mrs. Fairfax briefly explains to us?

I had also wanted to discuss Jane’s visit to Gateshead, but I would be more interested in reading YOUR thoughts instead. How did you react to that chapter? What observations did you make about Jane’s aunt and cousins, or even about Jane herself? Tell me in the comments or in your own post!

Last week I left you readers with some crossover memes. This week I will be signing off with a humorous little ghost story that happened to me the other night. Like the typical bookworm that I am, I was awake until nearly two in the morning reading Jane Eyre. It happened to be the chapter when Mr. Rochester’s room is arsoned, so already I was in a heightened state. I should mention here that the weather in my corner of France has been beautifully autumnescent (I do not believe that is a real word, but feel free to add it to your vocabulary nonetheless) as of late, which goes hand in hand with a story like Charlotte Brontë’s:

1234759_10151819673348886_422485767_n

Ahh…I wish half the year was spent in fallen leaves and the other half in fields of wildflowers.

So, while reading late at night with the window ajar and the fresh air flowing my bedroom, I was just passing the part when Jane has to wait alone in Mr. Rochester’s smoke-filled, water-drenched chamber when I started to faintly hear the eery soundtrack of an old black-and-white film being played somewhere in our apartment building. Now, in most cases, classic film music is lively, joyful, and nostalgic. For me, it was certainly recalling old memories…but memories of watching “The Twilight Zone” or passing through scare zones and haunted houses at Halloween Horror Nights. Needless to say I quickly shut the window, finished my chapter, and buried myself in the comforts of my covers before any chainsaw wielding maniac could seek me out. Nothing like a gothic ghost story to send you off to dreamland… (I also just realized how fittingly this story coincides with Anne Shirley’s Haunted Wood mishap in Anne of Green Gables: I’m letting my overactive imagination run away with me!).

Happy Reading everyone!