Friday, August 17, 2012

Wherein The Girl Weighs In On Jane Eyre...And Knowing When To Get Out

My Girl has always been a reader, but I have never really been able to interest her in the classics that I loved so well as a young person, except for the children's classics that I read to her when she was little.  I worried for a time (it's what I do) that she did not have the necessary stamina and attention span for denser text, but have been reassured by the fact that she happily reads many very dense scientific and cultural texts, for pleasure as well as for school.

She just really isn't impressed with classic literature.  Especially the people in the stories.  The women.  The men.

As I mentioned before, the Girl had to read and annotate Jane Eyre this summer for school.  When I was young, I really enjoyed Jane Eyre, but she has not enjoyed it at all.  She says it is like Twilight, and she does not mean that as a compliment.  I quote: 

"So for school we have to read a book about a teenage girl who moves to a new town and meets guy who is way too old for her. He keeps very big secrets from her and is completely abusive (but only because he loves her so much, which makes it okay) but in the end, she marries him anyways. Wait, hold on, I think I've read this book before...."

Some friends of mine have entered into a lively online discussion about her opinion on this, but she has not been swayed.  I tell her that Stephanie Meyer is a hack, and that's an important difference, but she doesn't think the language in Jane Eyre is beautiful - just old.   I talk about the context of Jane's century, but the Girl will brook no excuses - she says Jane was decent, and perhaps stronger than Bella (not saying much), but dumb, and should never have fallen for someone like Rochester, who is much worse than the sufficiently terrible Edward.

My Girl is harsh.  

I sometimes worry (what I do) about her rather complete lack of romanticism of any kind,'s certainly better than the opposite.  I am glad she has a good head on her shoulders and no intention of putting up with any nonsense.  She has watched plenty of girls fall to boys who were not worthy of them and has no intention of ending up that way.  Happy mediums don't come easily to adolescents (or to many people of any age, I guess).

In what I thought was her most insightful comment, the Girl says that the moment that Jane should have left Rochester was when he told her he was only pretending he was going to marry the mean, rich lady (unbeknownst to the mean, rich lady) to make Jane jealous.  That was when Jane had all the information she needed to know that he was not a decent man.  The Girl says it's like when Anakin Skywalker, after killing the tribe of Tusken Raiders that killed his mother,  told Padme: "I killed them.  Not just the men, but the women and the children, too."  

Yup.  Time to go.

So many problems in the world would be solved, I think, if more girls could recognize those moments when they have all the information they need to know that the men they are falling for are not decent...and could act on that knowledge.

Of course, it's easier said than done.

1 comment:

Andrea said...

Wow, shrewd girl. Don't let her read Pride and Prejudice, K? I don't want the scales to fall from my eyes where Mr. Darcy is concerned. She is right, though, those Bronte ladies had a thing for creepy dudes (Heathcliff? Yikes!!).