I‘ve read Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre three times in the past five years. I get so involved with Jane that I physically hurt for her. This beautiful love story contains strong themes of duty and personal sacrifice.
The passages of dialogue between Jane and Mr. Rochester zing with the wit and intelligence of two vibrant characters unsatisfied with face value, peeling back surface layers to discover what hides beneath. When I first read it I was in the middle of a Jane Austen marathon, and I expected a similar sort of story.
Boy, was I wrong.
Jane Eyre is gritty and raw. Here are some favorite quotes:
“Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you — and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal — as we are!”
“I will keep the law given by God; sanctioned by man. I will hold to the principles received by me when I was sane, and not mad—as I am now. 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 rigour; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be. If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth?”
“I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you—especially when you are near me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous Channel, and two hundred miles or so of land come broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapt; and then I’ve a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly.”
Have you read Jane Eyre? Download the free Kindle edition.
Nester hosts a link up of 31 Days posts each October. Hundreds of bloggers write on a topic of their choice for an entire month. Find them here.
All 31 Days of Killer Quotes posts can be found in this post.