CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!!!!!!1 I read Jane Eyre for the first time in 8th grade, and they taught it as kind of a moral romance. Jane suffers, settles into a happy life, makes a hard decision, suffers some more, and in the end is rewarded for it. Religion and romance. The end.
Later, I realized that there is very little romantic about this book, it is about MONEY and position. Oh sure, there is love, but romance? CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!!!!! Jane is the poor and plain (it was very important for Bronte to make Jane plain, she said she was proud of creating the first plain heroine in literature) and unwanted. She is told that repeatedly by the aunt who took her in (shades of Harry Potter!), and dumped at the first opportunity.
Becoming a governess, she hears the rich women at the house party mock governesses, a theme in other works by both Anne and Charlotte Bronte.
What I liked most about this version SPOILER, SPOILER, SPOILER! is they show Jane becoming wealthy, something that up until then, had always been left out of the story, because they wanted Jane to come back to Rochester out of romantic love, and not as an equal.
In fact, my favorite line from the book (actually only adapted, and not quoted here) is when she offers the coachman "twice his regular fee" to get her to Rochester quickly. Think of it. Has a woman ever said that before? I don't think so.
Yes, I like the relationship between J + R, but the important thing is that Jane is no wimp, even her morality is her own, sincere, morality, not the hypocrisy of Lowood.
A fine, fine, feminist work and a near perfect adaptation.
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