Monday, September 09, 2013

SeptembEyre, Check-In 1

Read other posts from Check-in #1.

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A brief discussion of chapters 1-11. No major spoilers, but if you don't wanna know plot points, skip it!

And off we go...

Oh woa woa, Jaaaane! I am stinkin' loving this book so far. I think the first time I sorta-read it, I was in my early 20s, so that's been on 'round 10 years ago. And I've slept a lot since then, and I've endured a good deal of brain drain since then, and I've forgotten most of the things about this book.

As it opens, the young Jane lives with her dastardly (ok, maybe just bitchy) aunt and her bratty cousins and she is mucho unhappy. I was actually relieved to see Jane packed off to Lowood, even if Mr. Brockelhurst was a bit of an ass, what with starving the children and all. For the first time, Jane was allowed to be on an equal playing field with her peers. I was certainly rooting for her to prove herself and do good things both at Lowood and beyond. I did another little happy dance when she gained her employment at Thornfield.

I thought Bronte did a great job establishing Jane's character right from the beginning of the book. She's fiery and not terribly afraid of sticking up for herself which makes me love her. However, she still has enough self-control to listen to reason. She fits in nicely at Lowood once she realizes that no one is judging her harshly as she expects they will based on the besmirching of her character by ole Brockelfart. Urrr, Brockelhurst.

Someone asked me on Facebook or Twitter if Jane Eyre is considered a gothic novel, and while I wouldn't say it's a straightforward gothic novel, it certainly possess elements. The red room, for instance. She is locked away for a long while by herself and falls into a swoon. Has an episode. Whatever you want to call it. She's basically scared out of her wits because it's the room where her uncle passed away. While there's no evidence that Jane actually saw a ghost, the implication is one of great atmosphere and gothic flavor.

So yeah, beyond those early pages I pretty much remember nothing about this book from my first reading, so it's like reading it for the first time all over again. Nothin' wrong with that.

How's it coming for you?

21 comments:

  1. So good! And yes to all of the gothic elements. That's why I added to my RIP VIII list. It's always felt like a very spooky story to me.

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    1. Yes! Yes yes! Loving it so far, and I just love the overall atmosphere. Creepy and oppressive and awesome.

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  2. I was so relieved for Jane to go to Lowood too, until the child starving started. And HELEN! Oh Helen. Sigh.

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    1. RIGHT??? And OMG, I'd forgotten all about Helen. Broke my little pea-pickin' heart.

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    2. Poor Helen. Poor, poor Helen.

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  3. I just finished reading four Jane Austen novels before starting this novel (and when I finished Emma last night I immediately picked up Jane Eyre), so it took me a few chapters to get into the Gothic atmosphere, but now I'm thoroughly enjoying it. And I should mention that this is my first time reading Jane Eyre, but I'm excited to continue it! - Maggie @ An American in France

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  4. One of my all-time favorite books. The Gothic elements come in at the end of the novel, so just wait. It gets so good!

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  5. "Brocklefart." HA!

    Also, I forgot by the time I wrote my post how creepy the red room scene was. And it clearly scars poor little Jane, because it is Mrs. Reed's refusal to hear her pleas to be let out that really pushes her over the edge with the Reeds.

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    1. Couldn't help myself. He just....was. lol I was so glad she got away from the Reeds. What a bunch of asshats. This book brings out the curses in me, apparently.

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    2. As well it should. Those villains are villainous, indeed.

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  6. "Brocklefart." - classic! LOL!

    I'm loving the Gothic elements (happy to hear there's more!), and I like how the weather and seasons help to set tone and mood as well. I'm really loving this book!

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    1. Had to do it. It just came out. lol

      Same here re: weather and seasons. It's such a nice subtlety (sp? brain fart) and so effective. :)

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  7. I've been smiling at your SeptembEyre posts/tweets, just because I think "SeptembEyre" is such a fun, clever name. :D

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  8. 1) I LOVE THAT COVER! 2) This is totally why I wish I was participating, I haven't read this in so long either and I think I might have similar reactions.

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    1. Andi has the best covers on all the classics these days. It brings out the jealousface in me.

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  9. LOL Brocklefart! Totally wish there was a scene where Jane called him that to his face! Maybe right before she left for Thornfield! I agree too that this is a Gothic novel more because of the atmosphere and the implied supernatural elements. There's a logical explanation for everything, but Charlotte incorporated Gothic conventions to create the story.

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    1. Me too! I don't think Jane would've sunk to that level, but I'm not above it. lol

      Great summary of the gothicness of this one. Agreed on all counts. :)

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  10. Brocklefart is much nicer than the names I give him when I read this book. I love that Jane is so resilient. I can't imagine having to go through all that she did, and spend every (re) reading cheering her on. You worry when she heads to Lowood, knowing the Brockel&%$^#@$ and that bitch of an aunt are working to guarantee that she'll escape, but they'll make sure she doesn't succeed. And then, she gets to let her peers and superiors get to know her and care for her and respect her on her own merits before the creep makes it to the school. How I always wished that Dickens could have done the same, earlier in Oliver Twist.

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    1. LOL, yeah, I called him a few more colorful names myself. Dickens was so much meaner to his characters. Gah!

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  11. Hallo Andi,

    I am so enthralled with reading Jane Eyre, that all of my thoughts and revelations as I read are spilt into my post!! I even uncovered a unique way to give a 'visual' accounting of the first chapters of the read-a-long and as I was setting it up, I noticed that it added a new layer of appreciation for me, as it truly bespoke of what I was feeling and thinking about as I read the opening chapters of her life!

    I am not as well versed in reading Victorian Gothic Lit as you are or even the other Septemb-Eyres; mindful of that, I would have to say, that I love the subtlety of this style of Gothic, as it etches the aching and hauntingly other worldly aspects in a way that is easy to absorb and readily able to alert you to 'what is not yet revealed'!!

    I simply cannot wait to sink into the next chapters!!!

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